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Photoshop fail? Magazine gives healthy models digital amputations for Paralympics feature

Photoshop fails are often laughable, but a recent edit is making people cringe instead: Instead of using athletes who were competing in the Paralympics, Vogue Brazil photoshopped amputations onto healthy models to use in connection with a feature on the event.

Last week, the magazine shared the photo with the caption: “We are all Paralympians.” Many viewers are outraged by Vouge Brazil’s use of digitally handicapped models instead of actual participants.

Related: Can you spot a faked photo? Here’s how National Geographic does it

While digital alterations sometimes are used when the real thing isn’t available, it appears that actual athletes were indeed on scene for the shoot. Viewers noticed the extreme edit after a real Paralympian, Bruninha Alexandre, shared a photo of herself and another athlete with the two non-disabled models featured in the images.

The two digitally altered models, Cleo Pires and Paulo Vilhena, are both Brazilian Paralympic committee ambassadors and soap opera actors. Pires said in a social media post that they were simply trying to generate visibility for the event, which has been seeing slow ticket sales.

“The Paralympics is a time to challenge negative attitudes to disability,”  Richard Lane, a representative of the non-profit group Scope, told the Huffington Post UK. “There are one billion disabled people in the world. Let’s see disabled people’s lives properly reflected, not imitated.”

Vogue Brazil said that it didn’t design the campaign — the publicity company Agência África did. Vogue Brazil did say that it was committed to promoting the importance of the games, asserting that, “We will continue to support all of the Paralympic committee initiatives that can increase the number of attendees at the Paralymics games.”

Viewers of the image, meanwhile, were left reeling over the Photoshop fail and wondering why the campaign organizers didn’t just use actual athletes (or even disabled models) with social media users sharing their thoughts on the altered image.