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Nine slammed for AI-sexualised image of female MP

Channel Nine has responded to criticism after it was called out for using an AI-altered image of Victorian Animal Justice Party MP Georgie Purcell that changed her appearance to be slightly more sexual.

user icon Daniel Croft
Tue, 30 Jan 2024
Nine slammed for AI-sexualised image of female MP
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The original image depicts Purcell in a white dress, while the altered image has magnified her chest area and changed the outfit into a two piece to show her middle section.

The altered image was then broadcast on television by Channel Nine during coverage of the Victorian government’s rejection of a duck hunting ban.

The alteration was called out by Purcell herself, who took to X (formerly Twitter) to share her outrage at the incident.

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“I endured a lot yesterday,” said Purcell.

“But having my body and outfit photoshopped by a media outlet was not on my bingo card.

“Note the enlarged boobs and outfit to be made more revealing.

“Can’t imagine this happening to a male MP. What gives?”

Responding to her own post, Purcell taunted the TV network.

“Hot tip 9 I’ve got my whole stomach tattooed,” she added.

Speaking with ABC Radio Melbourne, Purcell pointed out that the issue is one that male politicians have no risk of facing and is just another example of the ways women in government are treated.

“I think male MPs get to endure catastrophic days without having their bodies photoshopped when they’re on the nightly news,” she said.

“I wanted to point out the more insidious ways females continue to be treated.”

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan agreed that the incident was inappropriate, particularly as Purcell is a politician and represents the state and country.

“I would be really concerned to hear that that has happened because that’s no way to represent any woman, let alone a woman who holds a position in public office, represents a community and is in the public discourse every single day,” she said.

“Let’s think about the image that sends particularly to young women.”

Allan added that incidents like this can discourage young girls from seeking a political career, resulting in a government that may not represent all Australians.

“We know it can because young women tell us that themselves and that’s why, again, it’s important to both call it out, which I think is what’s happening here this morning.

“It’s important to call it out, to identify, to do better and to understand that we have come a long way, but we’ve still got a way to go.”

Following being called out, Channel Nine has issued a public apology, saying that during the standard process of sourcing and resizing images for stories, Photoshop’s AI editing tool modified the image.

“I would like to sincerely apologise to Georgie Purcell for a graphic error that occurred in last night’s bulletin,” said Hugh Nailon, director of 9News Melbourne.

“Our graphics department sourced an online image of Georgie to use in our story on duck hunting.

“As is common practice, the image was resized to fit our specs. During that process, the automation by Photoshop created an image that was not consistent with the original.

“This did not meet the high editorial standards we have, and for that, we apologise to Ms Purcell unreservedly.”

Photoshop has inbuilt AI photo editing tools that allow for generative fill and alteration. Nine has attributed the incident to this and not a member of staff.

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