No women were around for this group photo of Silicon Valley execs, so they Photoshopped some in

Jun 18, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

No women were around for this group photo of Silicon Valley execs, so they Photoshopped some in

Jun 18, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Earlier this month, GQ magazine published an article about a group of tech titans who visited Brunello Cucinelli’s Italian village. The photo following the article showed fifteen men and two women from Silicon Valley. But something about the photo looked off. And indeed, it was – there were actually no women in it, they were Photoshopped in before the photo was published.

The photo first appeared on Brunello Cucinelli’s Instagram, and it was later used as the lead image for GQ’s article. Honestly, it’s not difficult to notice that something looks strange, so it’s no wonder that people quickly started to dig deeper, trying to discover whether the image had been doctored.

BuzzFeed’s tech reporter Ryan Mac did some research, along with a couple of Twitter users. After running some checks, it turned out that both women were added digitally to the photo that originally depicted fifteen men. The woman on the far left is Peek CEO Ruzwana Bashir, and the woman in the middle is SunRun CEO, Lynn Jurich.

Not long after the image was busted for being (poorly) Photoshopped, a Cucinelli representative sent a statement to BuzzFeed:

“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.”

One of the attendees at the event was Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos. Seeing as he wasn’t in the group photo either, BuzzFeed asked why he wasn’t photoshopped in along with Jurich and Bashir. According to the spokesperson, he declined to be included in the photo, so this is why he was left out.

As you might expect, this story has caused a significant public backlash. According to Recode, women typically make up about a fifth to a quarter of tech and leadership roles in tech companies. While the battle for diversity in the industry is ongoing, Recode notes that not much has changed. “This is a culture problem that’s keeping women out of tech — it’s sexism, racism, harassment, discrimination, bias. And this Photoshop story is the perfect illustration,” said Deborah Singer, chief marketing officer at Girls Who Code. “What’s so deeply ironic about this Photoshop scandal is that in the time it took them to Photoshop Lynn and Ruzwana into the photo, we could have recommended 100 women for them to actually invite and include,” she added.

Women’s Foundation tweeted a cheeky reaction to the incident: “Pro-tip for Silicon Valley boys club: hire more women into tech and you won’t have to photoshop them in.”

On 12 June, the GQ article has been updated and the image was removed. The update reads: “An image provided by a Brunello Cucinelli representative that did not meet GQ’s editorial standards was removed from this story.” The photo remained on Brunello Cucinelli’s Instagram for a while, but it was later removed from there as well.

I am honestly surprised by this move and I have so many questions. First of all, why hadn’t they invited women to the event in the first place? And if they hadn’t invited them, why would they Photoshop them in? To appear diverse and prevent any possible backlash? And then, since they decided to Photoshop women into the scene – why did they only add two of them? My opinion on the last point is best articulated in a tweet by Elizabeth Spiers. In her response to Mac’s tweets, she wrote: “Also kind of amazing that they thought, ‘two women, fifteen men. Yeah, that’ll check the diversity box!’” All in all, I think that this is just wrong on so many levels.

[via BuzzFeed; lead image via Women’s Foundation (screenshot, modified)]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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8 responses to “No women were around for this group photo of Silicon Valley execs, so they Photoshopped some in”

  1. Kevin Barré Avatar
    Kevin Barré

    Um, you do mean SILICON valley, not SILICONE. Silicone Valley = augmented cleavage.

  2. Ralph Horne Avatar
    Ralph Horne

    Silicone Valley? Surely you jest!

  3. Tunes Firwood Avatar
    Tunes Firwood

    TL;DR: the headline is bullshit.

  4. Marko Avatar
    Marko

    Regarding the headline, well, no, not really. The two women just happened to be away when they took the photo. When you take a large group of people that each has many things to do on their itinerary, you take it when possible and the female who traveled with this group just were not there. We photoshop family members in events all the time, it happens.

    Your article and others made it look like they felt bad that there were no women and decided to be “politically Correct”. The problem with those kind of articles is that they fall for this kind of PC nonsense (and yeah, PC is basically nonsense).

    We really ought to worry about real issues instead of pretending to “catch” people that “look like” they are trying to be PC.

  5. JOhn C Avatar
    JOhn C

    You wonder why they didn’t invite any women, but in your article it says they didn’t include all the attendees and added photos of two female attendees taken during the weekend. So, they were at the event, just not in the picture, might want to review your own article before asking questions like that.

    1. Jo Wilkens Avatar
      Jo Wilkens

      Yep. Just what I was going to comment. As a woman I find the approach of this article on the issue disingenuous and the entire incident incredibly overblown.

  6. Ignasi Jacob Avatar
    Ignasi Jacob

    In the spanish dubbing of James Bond’s “License to kill” the actors says “valle de la silicona” instead of “valle del silicio”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-R04G3BlXc

  7. Albert Klassen Avatar
    Albert Klassen

    How is this racism