On more than one occasion, the models were asked to wear makeup that was supposed to make them look like a different ethnicity.
In Cycle 4, which aired in 2005, multiple white contestants posed as Black women while wearing makeup that was significantly darker than their own skin tones. Since then, many have said that this was an obvious example of blackface and highly offensive.
While one of the contestants was getting her makeup done, she said she looked like “a Black woman with a nose job.”
In Cycle 13, which premiered in 2009, the models were asked to pose in a “biracial” photo shoot in which they wore makeup and costumes that were supposed to indicate two different ethnicities. Multiple contestants wore thick makeup that darkened their skin tone.
The incidents have since come under fire for being racially insensitive.
“how the hell did tyra banks get away with some of the s — in antm like the LITERAL ‘changing of the models race’ which just meant putting some of them in blackface,” one Twitter user wrote in May 2020.
The photo shoot’s creative director Jay Manuel also addressed the backlash, saying it made him uncomfortable at the time.
“Many times when you’re working in an environment like that, you have to listen to your executive producers, and ultimately the two voices at the top were Ken [Mok] and Tyra [Banks]”Manual told Variety in May 2020. “I was so, so, so uncomfortable with this. […] I was basically told that I had to execute the creative, and it made me very uncomfortable. “
In a now-deleted tweet addressing the controversy in May 2020, Banks said, “Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you. Looking back, those were some really off choices. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs. “
The show’s co-creator, Ken Mok, also apologized to viewers in May 2020, tweeting, “I look at some of those moments and cringe. Just a FYI – the entire creative team made the choices on those shows – not just Tyra.”
Manuel disputed this in his interview with Variety, saying Mok and Banks made the final decisions.
Insider reached out to CBS, the studio that produced “ANTM,” for comment, but did not receive a response.