Nine News uses AI to 'sexualise' image of politician 

Occurred: January 2024

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Australian TV broadcaster Nine News has been accused of using AI to make a photograph of Australian politician Georgie Purcell appear more 'sexual', resulting in accusations of manipulation and sexism. 

Animal Justice Party MP Georgie Purcell posted to X an edited image of herself originally shared by Nine News Melbourne reading '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.' Purcell had been wearing a dress; the manipulated image showed her with larger breasts and sporting a midriff-exposing tank top.

Nine News blamed the 'graphic error' on automation: 'During that process, the automation by Photoshop created an image that was not consistent with the original,' he said. Adobe Photoshop’s new generative AI tools allow users to fill or expand existing images using AI. However, a spokesperson for Photoshop maker Adobe told the BBC that 'human intervention and approval' would have been required for 'any changes to this image.'

The incident prompted concerns about the ethics and legality of the manipulation of images by media organisations, perceived ingrained sexism of Nine News and other broadcasters, and poor transparency.


Operator: Nine News
Developer: Adobe
Country: Australia
Sector: Politics
Purpose: Manipulate image
Technology: Machine learning
Issue: Ethics/values; Sexualisation
Transparency: Governance; Marketing