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

Vogue Brazil's magazine cover highlighting the Rio Paralympic Games left a sour note across social media as they photoshopped models to look disabled

FP Sports August 27, 2016 13:31:06 IST
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.

 

 

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.

 

 
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.

 

 
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.

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