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Filmmaker spearheads Ralph Lauren boycott in wake of Photoshop controversy

Filed by Lucire staff/December 11, 2009/8.26

Darryl RobertsDocumentary filmmaker Darryl Roberts (director of America the Beautiful, pictured at left) is spearheading a boycott against Polo Ralph Lauren, hitting Chicago, New York and San Francisco. On December 15, Roberts, along with 100 supporters, will boycott Lauren’s Downtown Chicago store (750 N. Michigan Avenue) at 4 p.m.
   Roberts says that the YWCA of America, IAEDP (International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals) and ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders) are supporting the boycott.
   The boycotts follow the Filippa Hamilton controversy, where an Ralph Lauren Blue Label advertisement featuring Hamilton was obviously retouched to make the model look artificially thin.
   Roberts has set up a Facebook group to promote his cause.
   Hamilton herself believes that the retouching was extreme and gave an inaccurate depiction of her.
   Ralph Lauren initially tried to accuse the websites which first showed the image, including Boing Boing and Photoshop Disasters, of copyright infringement. The former responded by citing the fair use defence.
   Ralph Lauren issued an apology soon after, saying, in part, ‘… we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body.
   ‘We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the calibre of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.’
   However, Roberts says he was notified of two additional advertisements, both featuring extremely thin looking models. He says the second and third images should have been pulled.
   ‘The reason that we’re boycotting is that we want him to commit to never putting out another ad that’s egregious and offensive to young women and girls again,’ he says.

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