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The Effed-Up Thing Vogue Brazil Did to Promote the Paralympic Games


Despite what may have started off as a good-intentioned decision, Vogue Brazil has come under major scrutiny after creating images that make able-bodied actors look like they have amputations in their new campaign, "We Are All Special Olympics," which are being used to promote the upcoming Paralympic Games in Rio.

The man and woman shown in the striking photo are actually Brazilian actors (and paralympic ambassadors) Paulo Vilhena and Cleo Pires, whose bodies were digitally altered to look like table tennis player Bruninha Alexandre, who had her right arm amputated when she was a baby, and sitting volleyball player Renato Leite, who has a prosthetic leg.

Vogue Paralympics Campaign

While all parties involved seem pretty happy in the behind-the-scenes photo above, the decision to use actors, rather than the actual Paralympic athletes themselves, has left many scratching their heads.

As one Brazilian writer put it, "There's no shortage of disabled people to take the place of spokesperson in these adverts and show society that yes, they exist and they deserve as much space in the media as us," The Telegraph reports. "No, we are not all Paralympians. We still do not understand the reality of people with disabilities. 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."

Vogue Brazil's art director, Clayton Carneiro, fired back against all of the criticism, explaining to The Telegraph that, "We knew it would be a punch in the gut, but we were there for a good cause. After all, almost no one bought tickets to see the Paralympic Games." Pires, who Carneiro says was the mind behind the idea, has responded to the backlash with a video posted on her Instagram account in which she said, "We lent our image to generate visibility. And that's what we're doing. My God."

Let's hope all this buzz this really does translate to more tickets sold for the Paralympic Games, so we can admire the actual bodies of the athletes competing.


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