Vogue Brazil Under Fire for Faking Amputations

In a misguided attempt to advertise for the Rio 2016 Paralympic games, Vogue Brazil has taken Brazilian actors and used the magic of photoshop to make them look like amputees. The publication has come under heavy criticism for not using the actual athletes to promote the Paralympic Games, starting on September 7.

The able-bodied Brazilian models, Cleo Pires and Paulo Vilhena, were meant to be the faces of Vogue Brazil's "We are all Paralympians" campaign. It's an unapologetic picture, with straight faces and make believe disabilities. Except that Pires' amputated arm and Vilhena's leg prosthetic are modeled after genuine Paralympic athletes.

The main issue that's getting to people is that if Vogue wanted glam, there are disabled models, or if they wanted realism, Paralympians could have been used. Criticism for the campaign has zeroed in on the callousness of the title, "No, we are not all Paralympians. We still do not understand the reality of people with disabilities."

Natália Belizario of feminist website Lado M has been particularly vocal about this, "We can all be supporters of the Paralympic movement, but it is always good to remember that the role, more than ever, is not ours."

Once Vogue Brazil realised their mistake, table tennis player Bruninha Alexandre and volleyball player Renato Leite were called up to pose for a joint pictureaccording to the New York Post. Alexandre has even said that she's proud to be a part of the campaign, saying "Our Paralympics ambassadors, Cleo Pires and Paulo Vilhena, helped to intensify and spread the campaign aiming to increase awareness of the Paralympic Movement." Not only did Alexandre support Vogue Brazil, she confirmed that both she and Leite were present during the photo shoot.

A photo posted by Bruninha Alexandre (@bruninha_alexandre) on

PR agency Africa was responsible for the campaign, though the idea stemmed from model Pires herself, states art director Clayton Carneiro. In response to the anger spewing from Twitter, Pires responds, "We lent our image to generate visibility. And that's what we're doing. My God."

A video posted by Cleo Pires. Atriz/Actress (@cleopires_oficial) on

A second article accompanied the inclusive photo (above), saying that just 20% of tickets have sold thus far, even with prices as low as $3 per ticket. This means that out of the 2.5 million available tickets, a mere 500,000 have been purchased. Let's not forget that the games start September 7.

Additionally, sponsorship is sorely lacking resulting in spending cuts and budget shortfalls, according to CNN. If the budget for the Paralympic Games is insufficient, the Brazilian government has promised the equivalent of $79 million and the mayor of Rio de Janeiro has pledged the equivalent of $47 million. However, a judge has prevented these public funds from going to a private institution that hasn't been open about their spending. Travel grants for overseas Paralympians are now three weeks late.

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