School Forced To Apologize After 'Blackwashing' Student Photo to Promote Diversity


The French art school Emile Cohl was looking to make a splash in the United States while preparing to open a new campus in California, but a group photo of its students that was apparently manipulated for an advertising campaign to make the school look more diverse is getting it a poor grade from the get-go.

Some students’ complexions were darkened while others were simply cut out and replaced with pictures of darker-skinned people.

According to CNN, the picture was posted on Sept. 5 as part of the school’s new American version of its website, which has been in production ahead of a branch of the Lyon, France-based school opening in Los Angeles in the next few years.

It was students from the school who first noticed that their classmates had been given new looks. Students notified school officials and the picture was immediately removed.

A student posted a comparison of the school’s now-removed photoshopped image (right) with a picture that shows the actual students (left).

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(According to a Google translation, the first tweet states that the user is passing on the picture on behalf of a friend who wanted to remain anonymous. The second reads: “The basic photo can be found on their twitter plus, my god”)

Along with the edits to the students’ skin color, some pictures of black people were just digitally added to the crowd.

Emmanuel Perrier, the school’s assistant director, told CNN that the school had no knowledge of the editing. He claimed that an ad agency hired to promote the school in the U.S was responsible for the change and that the agency had taken the initiative to “diversify” the picture on its own.

Are you surprised someone thought this was a good idea?

Part of the plan for the school’s U.S promotion was to bid for funding from American-located animation studios.

One wonders who exactly thought this was a good idea and ethical idea. For example, on what grounds did they justify and choose which students should be altered?

This is an especially insane take on multicultural inclusiveness. It speaks to the state of political correctness that an ad agency would even consider this offensive idea of forced and faked diversity to be a selling point for the school.

“When the website was made public, we didn’t notice anything. The students from our school were the first ones to notice it,” Perrier told CNN.

“The communication company decided on its own to darken the skin of some students to add diversity,” he said.

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School officials wrote in a statement on its French website that they absolutely disapprove of the doctored image.

“To the Cohliens, their families, alumni, partners who know the school and its practices, we reaffirm that we do not need to manipulate images to demonstrate our openness to the world as it is,” the statement says, as translated by the New York Post.

According to the Post, a school official stated that the unidentified publicity agency has since been fired.  The American website for the school has also been taken down.

The responsible ad agency has not offered any insight into why the photo was altered.

Evidently, something was lost in translation.

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Karista Baldwin studied constitutional law, politics and criminal justice.
Karista Baldwin has studied constitutional law, politics and criminal justice. Before college, she was a lifelong homeschooler in the "Catholic eclectic" style.
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