A Buzzfeed investigation has found that a photo featuring fifteen Silicon Valley men and two women, had actually been doctored and the women were nothing more than a figment of imagination.
The picture taken in Italy, was published in GQ Magazine last week and featured execs like Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman. The reason for the sojourn? To visit Brunello Cucinelli, a luxury designer famous for his $1,000 sweatpants.
Two women did (surprisingly) attend the trip, but were absent in many of the photos– including this now infamous one.
On close inspection, their efforts to dupe were actually pretty amateur. The woman in the back row, identified as SunRun CEO Lynn Jurich, has a visibly pixelated face. The lighting is different from the rest of the image and her head is misaligned with her leg.
Another woman, conveniently placed to the left hand side of the photo, is Peek CEO Ruzwana Bashir. Her body has no contact with any other members of the group and the lighting on her upper body is not the same as the rest of the photo.
When Buzzfeed located the real un-photoshopped image on one of the party’s LinkedIn profiles they confronted GQ and Cucinelli’s brand respresentative. The response from Cucinelli was this:
“When we realized we didn’t have a shot where all attendees were represented, we added in photos of two female CEOs taken during the weekend. The photos were shared and approved with all the participants including the two women, Lynn Jurich and Ruzwana Bashir, before posting them on Instagram and they also shared the group photo on their own Instagram handles.”
“We meant no harm or had any malicious intent in doing this and we are sorry.”
But here’s the thing: If you acknowledge a problem exists with your photo and that an image of 15 blokes and exactly zero women may incite ire, maybe take a more rigorous approach than simply photoshopping the change you want to see.