Australian lawmaker Georgie Purcell, 31, hit out at Nine News after the Melbourne-based network used an AI-edited image that made her breasts look bigger and outfitted her to expose a toned waistline.
Nine News broadcast the picture during a bulletin on the night of Monday, Jan. 29, and later blamed “automation by Photoshop,” basically accusing the AI-driven software of having done this with a mind of its own.
But in a statement on Tuesday, Jan. 30, a spokesperson for Adobe, the creator of Photoshop, denied that the software would make any such changes to pictures without human agency.
A ‘boob job’
Posting on X, Purcell said she had “endured a lot” after Nine News aired the AI-doctored image. The politician shared the picture from the news bulletin alongside the original, which was taken last year.
“I endured a lot yesterday. But having my body and outfit photoshopped by a media outlet was not on my bingo card,” Purcell, a Member of Parliament for the Animal Justice Party in the Victorian upper house, wrote.
“Note the enlarged boobs and outfit to be made more revealing. Can’t imagine this happening to a male MP. What gives?” She said the network’s image couldn’t have shown a true picture of her stomach because she had her midriff tattooed in 2020.
Purcell later told the Guardian Australia that it is not “abnormal for politicians to have a catastrophic day at work.”
“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,” she said.
“Let’s be clear: this is not something that happens to my male colleagues. For now, at least I know what I’d look like with a boob job and chiselled abs,” the politician added.
I endured a lot yesterday.
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.
What gives? pic.twitter.com/NhnkDRMidc
— Georgie Purcell (@georgievpurcell) January 29, 2024
Purcell was featured in the Nine News bulletin after her criticism of a decision by Jacinta Allan, Premier of the state of Victoria in southeast Australia, not to ban duck shooting in the state.
Blame it on the AI
The program’s news director, Hugh Nailon, apologized to the MP on Jan. 30 for the “graphic error” and blamed “automation by Photoshop,” the Daily Mail reported.
“Our graphics department sourced an online image of Georgie to use in our story on duck hunting. As is common practice, the image was resized to fit our specs,” he said.
“During that process, the automation by Photoshop created an image that was not consistent with the original. This did not meet the high editorial standards we have, and for that, we apologise to Ms. Purcell unreservedly.”
However, in a statement on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Adobe said that use of its generative AI features would have required a human to make the changes that gave Purcell bigger boobs and bared her stomach.
“Any changes to this image would have required human intervention and approval,” the person said.
Adobe integrated artificial intelligence into Photoshop last year in May, allowing users to generate images from simple text. The AI tool, known as Generative Fill, can also automatically match the perspective, lighting, and styles of images.
Users can further add, extend, or remove newly generated content in generative layers, allowing for rapid iteration. Purcell’s ‘boob job’ comes as AI is increasingly being used by bad people to create deepfake pornographic material targeting celebrities like Taylor Swift.