After an Australian news station used an edited image of a female member of Parliament — specifically increasing her breast size and exposing her midriff — the network tried to pass the blame onto Photoshop. But Adobe says the facts don’t line up.
Nine News in Melbourne showed an image of Georgie Purcell, a Victorian upper house MP, in a story involving her work in government to ban duck hunting. However, Purcell realized the photo of her was altered, making her breasts appear larger and turning her outfit into a two-piece that let her midriff peak out.
Jacinta Allan, the Victorian premier, was also featured in the image, though she appears unedited. Purcell quickly addressed the situation on X, formerly Twitter:
“I endured a lot yesterday [referring to the rejection of the ban on duck hunting]. But having my body and outfit photoshopped by a media outlet was not on my bingo card.” She further noted she “can’t imagine this happening to a male MP.” Allan also expressed concern over the incident.
I endured a lot yesterday.
But having my body and outfit photoshopped by a media outlet was not on my bingo card.
Note the enlarged boobs and outfit to be made more revealing.
Can’t imagine this happening to a male MP.
What gives? pic.twitter.com/NhnkDRMidc
— Georgie Purcell (@georgievpurcell) January 29, 2024
Nine News‘ response? It was Photoshop’s fault, The Guardian reports.
“Our graphics department sourced an online image of Georgie to use in our story on duck hunting. As is common practice, the image was resized to fit our specs,” the program’s news director says.
“During that process, the automation by Photoshop created an image that was not consistent with the original. This did not meet the high editorial standards we have and for that we apologize to Ms. Purcell unreservedly.”
However, Adobe, which makes Photoshop, says that can’t be right, emphasizing in a statement that such use would require a person using the editing software to give the final approval even if the artificial intelligence rendered such a result. As photographers and image editors would also agree, that isn’t how Photoshop works.
Australian Photoshop tutor David Ewing told The Guardian as much.
“The [statement] has an underlying tone that Photoshop has done this with a mind of its own, but that mind needs to be told what to do, so that means selecting the top and telling it to make it shorter and then that process is automated,” Ewing told The Guardian.
The Animal Justice Party Victory was forceful in its critique of the incident and in its rejection of the theory that Photoshop was to blame.
It's clear what happened: during resizing, Georgie's appearance was subtly but deliberately altered in a way that objectified her—a young female MP. This isn't just a 'graphic error', it's a disgraceful and sexist act that reduces a woman's worth to her physical appearance.
— Animal Justice Party Victoria (@AJP_Victoria) January 30, 2024
“We’re not buying the technical glitch excuse,” the party said on X. “The Animal Justice Party demands real accountability and immediate action to prevent such demeaning representations. We stand in solidarity with Georgie and all women who face this type of unacceptable treatment.”
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.