The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are starting soon, and Vogue Brazil had an odd way of promoting the event. Instead of featuring photos of the actual athletes, they used photos of two soap opera stars—and photoshopped them to make them look like amputees.
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#SomosTodosParalímpicos: para atrair visibilidade aos Jogos Paralímpicos e ressaltar a relevância dos paratletas brasileiros no panorama do esporte nacional, @cleopires_oficial e Paulo Vilhena (@vilhenap) aceitaram o convite para serem embaixadores do Comitê Paralímpico Brasileiro e estrelam a campanha Somos Todos Paralímpicos. Concebido pelos atores com o apoio do @ocpboficial e dos atletas, com direção criativa de @ccarneiro, fotografia de @andrepassos e beleza de @carolalmeidaprada, o anúncio traz Cleo na pele de @bruninha_alexandre, paratleta do tênis de mesa, e Paulo, de @renatoleite10, da categoria vôlei sentado. Os ingressos estão à venda em ingressos.rio2016.com. Vogue mostra os bastidores do shooting com o quarteto no link da bio. #voguenasparalimpiadas
In a post on Instagram, the magazine writes that the campaign, titled “We are all Paralympians,” was “to attract visibility to the Special Olympics and highlight the relevance of Brazilian disabled athletes in the panorama of the national sport.” Actors Cleo Pires and Paulo Vilhena serve as ambassadors of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, and the campaign was supposedly made with the support of the committee.
However, many are pointing out that, at best, this is a lost opportunity to feature actual Paralympians and amputees, and at worst, it’s outright offensive.
— Beth Elderkin (@BethElderkin) August 24, 2016
This is NOT cool: "Paralympic athletes replaced with able-bodied models in Vogue's promotional campaign": https://t.co/egXM4mvdIW
— Level Playing Field (@Level_PFAgency) August 24, 2016
— Marie L Belanger (@MarieBLibrarian) August 24, 2016
Ei Vogue, Cleo Pires? Ser deficiente só no photoshop é muito fácil né…FAIL. #Paralympics
— Luiza Augusto (@LuizaAugusto) August 24, 2016
— Junior O Impopular (@juniorsagaz) August 24, 2016
Pires wrote more about the campaign on Instagram. In one gram, she posts a photo of Bruna Alexandre, a table tennis champion and member of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee who inspired the photo. “I feel honored to represent Bruna in this campaign endorsed by the Paralympic Committee and the Brazilian Paralympic athletes,” writes Pires (via Google Translate).
In another, she posts a video of her speaking directly to the camera, and captions the video with, “For those who REALLY are interested in UNDERSTANDING, do not distill the poison of envy and repression, and go there in a snap.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Vogue Brazil about the campaign, but has not heard back as of publishing.