Kerry Washington is InStyle‘s March cover star, but fans aren’t rushing to praise the magazine for putting the “Scandal” star on its cover. It’s not the curiously wrinkle-free complexion that has fans talking, rather it’s the fact that Washington’s skin color appears to have been digitally lightened.
After sharing a preview of the cover to her one million Instagram followers earlier this week, fans have been expressing their outrage by commenting on the post and tweeting the magazine and Washington directly.
One of Washington’s Instagram followers commented: “I’m glad that you made the cover, but you should speak out about them lightening your skin. Not cool. Tired of the media doing this type of stuff. We are ALL beautiful. Leave everyone natural please.” Others point to overuse of Photoshop straight away: “Wow! That’s some photoshopping gone bad. I’m sorry, but @kerrywashington is a beautiful lady & this pic just doesn’t do her justice.”
InStyle posted a response to the heavy backlash online yesterday, pointing to on-set lighting rather than digital enhancement as the cause of Washington’s weirdly changed skin tone:
“We are super fans of Kerry Washington here at InStyle. To feature her on the cover of our March spring fashion issue is both an honor and a delight. We have heard from those who have spoken out about our newsstand cover photograph, concerned that Kerry’s skin tone was lightened. While we did not digitally lighten Kerry’s skin tone, our cover lighting has likely contributed to this concern. We understand that this has resulted in disappointment and hurt. We are listening, and the feedback has been valuable. We are committed to ensuring that this experience has a positive influence on the ways in which we present all women going forward.”
Washington also acknowledged the controversy by tweeting Instyle‘s statement yesterday and thanking the publication for “opening this convo.”
This isn’t the first time a cover photo of Kerry Washington has sparked outrage. Back in December 2013 she appeared on the cover of Lucky, and critics immediately called the photo “unrecognizable” and “lightened and brightened too much.”