News and Commentary

French Art School Ad Darkens Skin Of Students To Promote Diversity

Emile-Cohl drawing school in Lyon, France, is getting blasted on Twitter for “blackwashing” a photo to promote “diversity,” but the school says it’s not their fault.

According to The Local France and The Inqusitir, the school worked with a U.S. ad agency to create the promo photo to advertise here in the states for a new Los Angeles branch.

As the before and after shots below show, several white students in the photo appear to have had their skin darkened. Critics say it was a cheap ploy to promote diversity:

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A closeup provides further clarification:

The Lyon news site Rue89 initially broke the story, which prompted a spokesman from the school to say they had no “intention to manipulate reality” and denied all accusations of “blackwashing” to promote diversity.

“According to the spokesman, these ‘coarse’ touch-ups were made by a communications agency responsible for producing the promotional website for the new US branch of the Lyon art school which is set to open ‘within two years,'” reports The Local France. “The advert for the school was part of a bid to find funding for the school from animation studios run [in] the US.”

The school has now broken its contract with the U.S. publicity agency.

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