Vogue Brazil criticised for photoshopping able-bodied actors to look like they have disabilities

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Vogue Brazil has been criticised for featuring a Paralympic Games campaign photo that used able-bodied actors with digitally altered limbs to look like they had physical disabilities.

The fashion magazine shared an image on its Instagram account featuring actors Cleo Pires and Paulo Vilhena - who are ambassadors for the Brazilian Paralympic Committee.

In the caption alongside the image, the magazine wrote: "To attract visibility to the Special Olympics and highlight the relevance of Brazilian disabled athletes in the panorama of the national sport, @cleopires_oficial and Paulo Vilhena (@vilhenap) accepted the invitation to be ambassadors of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee and star in the campaign We Are All Special Olympics."

It added that the campaign was "designed by the actors" with support from the Paralympic Committee as well as athletes.

Vogue paralympian photoshoot.
(Vogue Brazil/Instagram screenshot)

The photoshoot is believed to be based on two Paralympians - Bruna Alexandre and Renato Leite - who haven't been featured in the image in question.

Pires was photoshopped to be missing her right arm, resembling table tennis player Alexandre, while Vilhena was given a prosthetic right leg like Leite, a sitting volleyball player - in a move that has been slammed by social media users:

Commenting on the backlash, Vogue Brazil told Buzzfeed Brazil that although it featured the photoshoot, it didn't create it, claiming that the campaign was created by Pires and Vilhena along with publicity agency Agencia Africa.

"This is not a Vogue magazine campaign. It was conceived by the actors Cleo Pires, Paulo Vilhena (games of ambassadors) and the Agency Africa.

"Vogue along with Editions Globo Conde Nast only supports the initiative as well as supports any initiative that encourages attendance at games.

"Vogue respects the opinions of readers who disagreed with the campaign format, but reiterates its commitment to promote the importance of Paralimpiada.

"We will continue to support all of the Paralympic Committee initiatives that encourage attendance at games."

Following the criticism, Pires took to Instagram to defend the campaign, saying in a video: "I feel honoured to represent Bruna in this campaign endorsed by the Paralympic Committee and the Brazilian Paralympic athletes.

"We lent our image to generate visibility. And that's what we're doing. My God."

Meanwhile, Alexandre has been supportive of the campaign, posting a photo of herself with fellow athlete Leite and the actors saying: "Personally, I have been clear that I am so proud to be part of this campaign that the magazine #Vogue began to publish the first pictures of this beautiful work.

"Our Ambassadors Paralympics Cleo Pires and Paulo Vilhena helped to intensify and spread the campaign aiming to increase visibility to the Paralympic Movement and convene the Brazilian fans to be present at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

"I would like to emphasise that #SomosTodosIguais so Cleo Pires is me. In the coming days, you will have full access campaign."