An Australian news channel has been criticised for broadcasting a doctored image of a Victoria MP with enlarged breasts and an exposed midriff.
The doctored image of Victorian upper house MP Georgie Purcell appeared on a Nine News bulletin on Monday night after she criticised the government’s decision to reject a ban on duck hunting.
Ms Purcell, the youngest woman in Victoria’s parliament, posted the original and the doctored image on social media X to call out the news channel.
“I endured a lot yesterday,” the Animal Justice Party member wrote, adding: “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,” she said.
Nine News apologised following the outrage, blaming AI for “automation by Photoshop”.
“Our graphics department sourced an online image of Georgie to use in our story on duck hunting,” Nine Melbourne news director Hugh Nailon said in a statement.
“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,” he said.
“This did not meet the high editorial standards we have and for that we apologise to Ms Purcell unreservedly,” Mr Nailon said.
Ms Purcell said the incident was an example of the discrimination and hindrances that women face in politics. “Let’s be clear: this is not something that happens to my male colleagues,” she told Guardian Australia.
“Unfortunately, the difference for women is that they also have to deal with the constant sexualisation and objectification that comes with having images leaked, distorted and AI-generated.
“The message this sends to young women and girls across Victoria is that even at the top of your field, your body is always up for grabs.”
Victorian premier Jacinta Allan, who was also a part of the graphic, said she was concerned about the misrepresentation.
“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 told reporters.
“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.”