Apple and Adobe Slammed for ‘Sexist’ Photoshop Fix Demo That Made a Woman Smile


Apple and Adobe sparked some unintended controversy yesterday after unveiling and demonstrating the new iPad Pro. Adobe mobile design director, Eric Snowden, took to the stage and showed off a new app called Adobe Fix, which offers powerful face detection features for mobile photo retouching. This is the mobile Photoshop app that was previously referred to as Project Rigel.

As an example of the app’s powers, Snowden showed how the app can easily turn a woman’s neutral expression into a smile. The demo drew some chuckles from the audience, but journalists and commentators immediately turned to social media to condemn the demo as sexist.


“I’m not quite happy with the model’s smile,” Snowden said, after opening up the portrait in a page mockup. “I wish she had just a little bit more of a smile. I think it’d warm up the design quite a bit.”

Snowden then loads the photo into Photoshop Fix, selects the lips, and drags a slider to instantly give the woman a smile. You can see the demo at about 38.5 minutes in the Apple event replay. Here’s a short clip of the exact moment:

“The move is being called ‘tone-deaf’ and unfortunate, given the tech industry has been in the firing line lately for its lack of diversity,” writes the New York Times. Mashable adds: “Apple, let’s not force women to smile at your Keynote event.”

Here’s a sampling of reactions on Twitter from journalists and others:

Adobe VP Scott Belsky, the founder of Behance, took to Twitter to assure people that Apple meant no offense by the demo:

After this hoopla, we’re guessing Adobe won’t be proudly showing off this smile-creation feature when it unveils its new mobile Photoshop app in October at Photoshop MAX.