Web Stories Tuesday, March 5

An Australian news channel has apologized after broadcasting an edited picture of a female lawmaker that enlarged her breasts and exposed her midriff.

The digitally altered photograph of Victoria state lawmaker Georgie Purcell appeared in a 9News evening bulletin Monday after she criticized the local government for rejecting a ban on duck hunting.

“I endured a lot yesterday. But having my body and outfit photoshopped by a media outlet was not on my bingo card,” Purcell posted on X Tuesday, alongside the original and altered photos.

“Note the enlarged boobs and outfit to be made more revealing,” she added. “Can’t imagine this happening to a male MP.”

Posting on Instagram, Purcell said: “When you’ve struggled with negative body image your entire life, it’s confronting seeing yourself edited on tv after the worst day at work you’ve ever had.”

She continued: “This isn’t just about me, it’s about how we treat women more broadly. And it’s not on.”

“The difference for women is that they also have to deal with the constant sexualisation and objectification that comes with having images leaked, distorted and AI-generated,” said the lawmaker, who is a member of the Animal Justice Party.

Hugh Nailon, director of 9News Melbourne, apologized Tuesday, blaming the “automation by Photoshop” for creating an image not consistent with the original, after it was resized.

“I would like to sincerely apologise to Georgie Purcell for a graphic error that occurred in last night’s bulletin,” Nailon’s 9News statement read.

“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. 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 apologise to Ms Purcell unreservedly.”

Although not convinced by the reasoning, Purcell said she accepted the apology, adding that this “sexist editing” was something to learn from.

“The last thing I want is to deter women and girls from achieving their dreams and contributing to public life after witnessing what I endure,” she said.

She concluded by saying the incident shouldn’t overshadow her important work.

“There are ducks to save,” she said.

CNN has reached out to Adobe, the firm that produces Photoshop, for comment.

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