Nine’s bizarre excuse for MP Georgie Purcell’s ‘enlarged boobs’ fail

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What’s worse than photoshopping a politician to make her breasts bigger?

It’s got to be the lame excuse that Channel 9 came up with, brushing it off as a “graphic error”.

Georgie Purcell is an MP for Northern Victoria, qualified lawyer and animal rights advocate. She’s also a young woman, which, as anyone who’s ever been a young woman will know, comes with some inevitable bullshit. But this week Nine surpassed themselves.

On Monday, Purcell was on 9News talking about the controversial decision to allow duck hunting to continue in Victoria. The segment was accompanied by a graphic that clearly shows Purcell wearing a white crop top with her midriff showing.

The problem is, the image broadcast by Nine had been altered – in the original Purcell is wearing a dress not a crop top, and her breasts also appeared to have been enlarged.

As Purcell quite rightly said: “Can’t imagine this happening to a male MP.”

Purcell further added that her stomach is covered in tattoos so there was no way the image was accurate.

In response to the photo fail, Nine came up with the bizarre response from 9News Melbourne’s director, Hugh Nailon, who said he would like to “sincerely apologise” to Ms Purcell for the “graphic error”.

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

“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.”

I’m sorry but on what planet does a newsroom accidentally alter a photo to make a dress into a crop top and enlarge a women’s breasts? I’m not that adept in Photoshop but I know enough to understand it doesn’t have a “crop top” setting that can be accidentally executed with the push of a button.

This is just a classic example of a woman’s body being sexualised in a situation that isn’t sexual – unless duck hunting really turns you on, of course – and then gaslighting the woman with a half-baked apology.

A mistake has clearly been made. Why not own up to it, and explain what really happened, instead of trying to minimise what is an embarrassing screw up?

What’s clear from this is that not only are women still fighting an ongoing battle with sexism and being trivialised as lesser, they’re also being gaslit by #sorrynotsorry excuses that involve more convoluted explanations than actual apologies.

As Georgie Purcell said: “What gives?”

Riah Matthews is commissioning editor at news.com.au

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