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Behaviour Interactive Removes Leatherface 'Smartface' Skin Over Reports of Racial Harassment

A new developer update from Behaviour Interactive has finally responded to players facing targeted racial harassment using an in-game cosmetic.
A new developer update from Behaviour Interactive has finally responded to players facing targeted racial harassment using an in-game cosmetic. / Behaviour Interactive

A new developer update from Behaviour Interactive has finally responded to players facing targeted racial harassment using an in-game cosmetic.

For those unaware, "The Cannibal"—also known as "Bubba," who is meant to be a reference to the main antagonist of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, "Leatherface"—has a collection of skin options in which he wears the faces of the original four survivors. One of these individuals, Claudette Morel, is black. Bubba is quite literally wearing a black face which has led to upset from some fans accusing the cosmetic of being an instance of "blackface" discrimination.

Now, Behaviour has spoken up about the issue.

Dead by Daylight 'The Cannibal' Skin Removed Due to Blackface

In a developer update posted on Tuesday, Jan. 4, Behaviour acknowledged that there has been an issue in the player community over this specific skin. The developers condemned any targeted harassment using the skin, calling the incidents "disheartening" to hear about. Therefore, they have decided to remove the skin from the game.

"We are not comfortable having these masks in the game when they are used as a tool to spread hate," the update reads, "We will not tolerate hateful activity and will continue to take every step necessary to protect the community."

Those who previously owned the skin or have come to own it by the Mid-Chapter update will receive 6,000 Iridescent Shards as compensation for its removal.

According to player reports, this has been a significant problem in the community for over a year—with some posts, such as one on the official Dead by Daylight forums, dating back as early as January 2021. Stories of "blackface Bubbas" appear to be common within the Dead by Daylight community with allegations of targeted harassment and racist sentiment expressed by those who wear the skin are easy to come by.

MVickPlayz, a black Twitch streamer, took to his Twitter profile to recount such an experience in a thread published in early June 2021. In his experience, "people who use it have been nothing but toxic, harmful, and often they tend to say something racist in end chat." He ended up disconnecting from the match shortly afterward—as many do.

Another user on the Dead by Daylight forums, jacobmjudge, posted about their experience with players wearing the Smartface skin, explaining, that players wear the skin and pair it with "racist display names" and "overall unsportsmanlike behavior" as a way to irritate others.

"It's gotten to the point where (in my personal experience) 1/5 Bubba matches have gone poorly due to racist behavior," they wrote.

Others have maintained that the issue isn't with the cosmetic but with a specific section of the player base. Leatherface wearing the faces of the survivors is part of his character, they claim, with user PeopleArePeopleTA on Reddit asking, "Wearing faces is Leatherface's thing. He has all the other OG survivor faces, why should Claudette be excluded?"