Vogue Brazil has come under fire for photoshopping able-bodied models to look like Paralympians for a campaign for the upcoming Paralympic Games in Rio. The headline reads “We Are All Paralympians” featuring Brazilian actors Cleo Pires and Paulo Vilhena.
Although the magazine said it was trying to bolster interest and ticket sales for the upcoming Paralympics, the magazine chose not to feature the actual Olympians that inspired the editing choice: table tennis player Bruna Alexandre, whose arm was amputated at an early age, and sitting volleyball player Renato Leite, who has a prosthetic leg.
Vogue Brazil said the idea came from Pires, who is an ambassador for the Paralympics. The Paralympics have only sold about 20% of their total tickets even when the cost is only $3, according to the magazine.
“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,” Clayton Carneiro, art director of Vogue Brazil, said in the statement.
Even though the campaign has received overwhelming criticism, Alexandre said she was still “proud to be part of the campaign.”
Add this one to the tally of controversies to come out of Rio this year. Ryan Lochte faced backlash for misreporting a robbery and Gabby Douglas came under fire for not placing her hand over her heart during the national anthem.
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