Edited image of Georgie Purcell would have required 'human intervention'

Adobe confirms edited image of Georgie Purcell would have required ‘human intervention’

Leading photo editing software organisation Adobe has debunked Nine News’ apology to Georgie Purcell, after a sexist edited image of her was used in the nightly news bulletin.

On Tuesday, the Victorian MP from the Animal Justice Party called out the Australian media outlet for editing an image that enlarged her breasts and made her outfit more revealing.

Nine News director Hugh Nailon claimed there was no staff member involved in editing the image and it was artificial intelligence (AI) that altered the picture whilst they were re-sizing the photo.

However, as reported by Guardian Australia, Adobe, creator of Photoshop, has confirmed the incident could not have occurred without “human intervention”.

“Any changes to this image would have required human intervention and approval,” the statement read.

AI-edited images and deepfakes

AI-edited media content, such as images and videos, disproportionately targets and affects women, particularly high-profile women. This week alone, Georgie Purcell is not the first woman to have an image of herself altered in a sexist way.

Over the weekend, sexually explicit deepfake images of Taylor Swift were circulated on the social media platform X. Formerly known as Twitter, X Corp. responded to the incident on Sunday night by removing the images and the account that first published the deepfakes, as well as temporarily blocking users’ ability to search “Taylor Swift” on the platform.

According to a report from The New York Times, one of the several images that were in circulation was viewed 47 million times before the deepfake, along with the account that published it, was removed from X.

On Wednesday morning, Georgie Purcell spoke on ABC’s RN Breakfast about the rise in AI technologies targeting women and girls.

“This has happened to me this week, it also actually happened to Taylor Swift this week with deep fake [images] using AI, happening to her all over Twitter on a much larger scale,” Purcell said.

“I think we need to seriously consider that our laws are probably not keeping pace with emerging technologies like AI and the risks they pose not just women in public life, but everyday women as well.

“I’ve heard stories from young women who have had just enough photos on their Instagram profiles for them to be taken and altered to appear naked without their consent. and it’s deeply deeply concerning.”

Earlier this month, the government released its interim response to the Safe and Responsible AI in Australia consultation, outlining its short-term action plan for the growing technology.

Although the interim response paper mentions general “bias and discriminatory outputs” that currently exist in AI, there is no specific mention of women or considering AI with a gender lens.

‘No way to represent a woman.’

On Tuesday, Premier Jacinta Allan told reporters there’s still “a long way to go” in the representation of women in the media, including in social media, after Purcell called out Nine News’ distorted image.

“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,” Allan told reporters.

“It’s another reminder that everyone who has the opportunity to be part of the public debate to consider how men and women, but in this instance particularly women, are represented.”

In 2022, Raise Our Voice Australia released a report on the impact of the media on young women and gender diverse people’s aspirations to enter politics.

In that report, 87 per cent of respondents felt that representation of women in politics by the media was mostly negative.

Nearly half (47 per cent) were less likely to pursue a career in politics given the events of the last 12 months, which at the time of the report’s release, included the allegations of Bruce Lehrmann raping Brittany Higgins in parliament house, the allegations against former Attorney-General Christian Porter, the ABC’s program Ms Represented and much more.

The Victorian Premier said the incident involving Georgie Purcell sends another discouraging message to young women wanting to enter politics, something that needs urgent attention.

“We know it can, 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,” Allan said.

“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.”


Stay Smart! Get Savvy!

Get Women’s Agenda in your inbox