Illustration by Max Fleishman

‘Vogue Brazil’ campaign features able-bodied actors photoshopped as amputees

The magazine says it's to raise awareness for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, but others are calling it offensive.


Jaya Saxena


Posted on Aug 24, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 4:40 am CDT

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 Vogue mostra os bastidores do shooting com o quarteto no link da bio. #voguenasparalimpiadas

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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.

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.

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*First Published: Aug 24, 2016, 9:36 pm CDT