News outlet blames Photoshop for making Australian MP's photo more attractive
A legislator in the Australian state of Victoria sat down to watch the nightly news on Monday, hoping to portray herself as a leading opponent of duck hunting.
But Victoria's Member of Parliament, Georgie Purcell, noticed that in a photo used on 9News, the tattoos on her midriff were missing.
“I saw the image on the screen and I thought, 'This is really weird,' because I'm heavily tattooed on my stomach,” Ms Purcell said on Wednesday.
She compared the image to the original photo, taken by a local newspaper the previous year, and realized that not only had her tattoos been removed, but her attire had also been changed to a crop top and skirt. “They gave me a sculpted tummy and a boob job,” she said. “I felt really uncomfortable about it.”
After Ms Purcell pointed out the amendments on the social media site X, female MPs and journalists slammed the edits as sexist and offensive.
The news outlet, 9News, apologized to Ms Purcell. In a statement, it called the changes a “graphics error” and blamed Photoshop automation tools.
The outlet's graphics department used an online photo of Ms. Purcell for a story, it said statement From Hugh Neylon, the outlet's news director in Melbourne, Victoria. In resizing the photo to fit the specifications of the news package, “automation by Photoshop created an image that did not correspond to the original,” the statement said.
Ms Purcell questioned the suggestion that there was no humanitarian element to the situation. A representative from Adobe, which owns Photoshop, said editing the image would “require human intervention and approval.”
Nine, the company that owns 9News, did not respond to emailed requests for clarification. The Sydney Morning Herald, also owned by Nine, informed of The company said it had “confirmed that there was human intervention in the decision to use the image.”
Some commentators familiar with working with Photoshop have suggested that if the artificial intelligence is at fault, corrections can be made using Photoshop tools that replace spaces above or below the image with automatically generated continuity of the image. Fills. Others, such as Professor Rob Nicholls of the University of Technology Sydney, said the changes could have been made with an automatic enhancement function, similar to selfie filters that modify someone's facial features.
The broadcast of the image, seemingly without anyone checking that it was an accurate depiction of Ms Purcell, shows that “using AI without strong editorial controls risks making very significant errors,” he said. .
He said the incident shows that AI can replicate existing biases. “I don't think it's a coincidence that these issues are gendered.”
Ms Purcell said she believed similar edits made to images of other female MPs would not have been allowed to be broadcast, but that in her case it was because of her background. “I'm young, I'm white, I'm covered in tattoos, I have a past in sex work,” she said. “At the very least it has started a very important conversation about the mistreatment of women in public life.”