Photojournalist Erica Denhoff alleged NBC’s “Today” show photoshopped her work to make transgender swimmer Lia Thomas look more feminine.
Denhoff told the Washington Examiner Wednesday that she was “surprised and disappointed” by the March 17 segment’s revisions, to which she said the outlet softened Thomas’ features. She initially thought something was wrong with the video when her photos aired, but then realized the changes were intentional.
“I pride myself on providing authentic images as a photojournalist,” Denhoff said. “It’s really important as photojournalists that we transmit authentic photos that have not been altered.”
Denhoff said she immediately compared her original photograph of Thomas and easily noticed the difference, the Examiner reported. The changes quickly went viral on social media after seemingly noticing the airbrushing of Thomas in comparison to Denhoff’s original photograph.
im crying why did NBC Today airbrush the FUCK out of this picture lmaooooo pic.twitter.com/YDwuVU3Cj3
— Perfect Sweetie Pagliacci (Devilish!) (@NeoPagliacci) March 19, 2022
“To me, it definitely seems like something was going on with the airbrushing/noise reduction of all of Lia’s photos in this segment,” she continued. “My photo that they licensed was an authentic photo. … I’m surprised and disappointed that ‘Today’ altered my image of Lia for this particular news segment.” (RELATED: Gov. DeSantis Recognizes Female Swimmer As Real Winner In Race Won By Trans Athlete Lia Thomas)
Thomas, a biological male, sparked controversy after winning the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA Women’s Championships on March 17. The swimmer joined the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s team after competing on the men’s swim team for three years. Thomas was ranked 462nd nationally in men’s swimming, and is currently ranked number one in women’s.
Virginia Tech swimmer Reka Gyorgy — who missed qualifying to compete in the 500-freestyle by one place — criticized the NCAA for not adopting the USA Swimming’s policy that requires transgender women to prove their testosterone levels are below 5 nano moles per liter for 36 consecutive months.
“Every event that transgender athletes competed in was one spot taken away from biological females throughout the meet,” Gyrogy wrote in letter Monday.