Vogue Brazil sparks outrage for photoshopping able-bodied models for Rio Paralympics cover

The differently-abled community across the world is not a small one. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of the world's population lives with some form of disability. The Paralympic Games that will take place in Rio de Janeiro is no small feat either, with athletes across 176 countries participating in 528 events. So when fashion magazine Vogue Brazil decided to commemorate the Paralypic Games by portraying able-bodied models as the differently-able, they faced the wrath of social media.


#SomosTodosParalímpicos: para atrair visibilidade aos Jogos Paralímpicos e ressaltar a relevância dos paratletas brasileiros no panorama do esporte nacional, @cleopires_oficial e Paulo Vilhena (@vilhenap) aceitaram o convite para serem embaixadores do Comitê Paralímpico Brasileiro e estrelam a campanha Somos Todos Paralímpicos. Concebido pelos atores com o apoio do @ocpboficial e dos atletas, com direção criativa de @ccarneiro, fotografia de @andrepassos e beleza de @carolalmeidaprada, o anúncio traz Cleo na pele de @bruninha_alexandre, paratleta do tênis de mesa, e Paulo, de @renatoleite10, da categoria vôlei sentado. Os ingressos estão à venda em ingressos.rio2016.com. Vogue mostra os bastidores do shooting com o quarteto no link da bio. #voguenasparalimpiadas

A photo posted by Vogue Brasil (@voguebrasil) on


The magazine was criticised for it insensitivity when they photoshopped models to the likeness of two real Paralympic athletes. The Paralympians in question were Brazilian Paralympic sitting volleyball player Renato Leite and table tennis player Bruninha Alexandre. They were edited onto the physiques of Brazilian actors Paulo Vilhena and Cleo Pires, who are the ambassadors of the games.


Pessoal, Venho esclarecer que estou super orgulhosa de fazer parte desta campanha que a revista #Vogue começou a divulgar as primeiras imagens desse lindo trabalho. Nossos Embaixadores Paralímpicos Cleo Pires e Paulo Vilhena, nos ajudaram a intensificar e a propagar a campanha com intuito de gerar visibilidade ao Movimento Paralímpico e convocar a torcida brasileira para marcar presença nos Jogos Paralímpicos Rio 2016. Gostaria, de enfatizar que #SomosTodosIguais e por isso a Cleo Pires me representa. Nos próximos dias, vocês terão acesso completo da campanha. #VemComAGenteBrasil e espero contar com toda a torcida brasileira nas arenas é assim torcendo, vibrando, cantando e comemorando conosco! #CarregoNoPeito o #CoraçãoParalímpico. @cleopires_oficial @vilhenap @ocpboficial

A photo posted by Bruninha Alexandre (@bruninha_alexandre) on

According to the magazine, they didn’t do any wrong in promoting the quadrennial event. Their focus was merely on the Paralympics, which will be taking place on 7 September. In a statement to BuzzFeed Brazil the magazine said that, “Vogue respects the opinion of the readers that don’t agree with the format of the campaign, but reiterates its compromise in highlighting the importance of the Paralympics. We will continue to support all the initiatives of the Paralympic committee what stimulate going to the games.”

The campaign "We Are All Paralympians" intends to bolster ticket sales and bring more attention to the Games, but it backfired. People took to Twitter to point out how the campaing is against the idea of diversity and representation of the disabled community.

The above tweet reads, "4,350 athletes in the Paralympics and the Vogue go and puts TWO ACTORS/models with no disabilities and especially: need."

Clayton Carneiro, art director of Vogue Brazil, still believes it was a step in the right direction, considering the dearth of attention given to the Paralympics. “We knew it would be a punch in the stomach, but it was for a good cause, after all, almost no one bought tickets to see the Paralympic Games,”

Bruninha Alexandre vocally supported the campaign, insisting that it would motivate fans to be present at the Games. She posted on Instagram that, “Personally, I have been clear that I am so proud to be part of this campaign that the magazine #Vogue began to publish the first pictures of this beautiful work. Our Ambassadors Paralympics Cleo Pires and Paulo Vilhena, helped to intensify and spread the campaign aiming to increase visibility to the Paralympic Movement and convene the Brazilian fans to be present at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.” She also put out a photo on set to put the spotlight on the 279 athletes competing from Brazil in the Paralympics.


Essa é a foto na qual nos inspiramos pra foto da campanha #somostodosparalímpicos. Essa é a Bruna Alexandre. Como embaixadora do comitê paralímpico brasileiro me sinto honrada em representar a Bruninha nessa campanha endossada pelo comitê paralímpico e pelos atletas paralímpicos brasileiros. Apenas uma dentre nossos 279 atletas Paralímpicos. E ela tem "umas 400" medalhas como ela mesma diz Arianinha danada começou a competir com atletas que tinham os dois braços guerreira, ainda compete, não se acomoda. Fera demais. Nóix, pequena Para compra de ingressos acesse rio2016.com link na bio @voguebrasil @africaoficial @vilhenap @bruninha_alexandre @renatoleite10 @ocpboficial @pinymontoro @nizanng @andrepassos @danielafalcao1

A photo posted by Cleo Pires. Atriz/Actress (@cleopires_oficial) on

As 80 percent of the tickets remain unsold for the sporting event, and reports of the event getting downsized due to budget shortfalls and other issues, many believe that the issue at hand is just a fragment amidst a slew of issues that haunt the Games this year.

Updated Date: Aug 27, 2016 13:34 PM

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