Overweight Man Speaks Out Against Photoshopped Image; Mayor Defends It

NEW YORK (AP / CBSNewYork) – An overweight man who unwittingly became an amputee in advertisements that New York City is posting to warn against diabetes says he’s worried the ads might hurt his acting career.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb On The Story

27-year-old Cleo Berry of Los Angeles says he was “beyond shocked” upon discovering that a photograph he posed for several years ago in Manhattan had turned up on the Internet – but showing him without one leg. The photo was digitally altered to make it look like Berry’s right leg is missing. It appears on an ad warning that growing portion sizes can lead to diabetes and amputations.

Berry tells The New York Times that while he supports the city’s efforts to educate people about the dangers of diabetes, he disagrees with the use of a manipulated image of an able-bodied person, instead of an image of a real victim.

City officials have defended the practice as common in advertising.

“I mean, just a common practice is to use when actors… It’s the message and whether you Photoshop out a leg or you have somebody that says ‘I always do something’ when they don’t,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday, adding that he didn’t see anything wrong with it.

Do you think the city health department was right or wrong? Sound off in the comments section below!

  • Carbolic Prunejuice

    Bloomberg finally found a use for the morbidly obese Gov. Chris Christie: Poster Boy for fat related maladies!!!

  • nrichard

    When you are photographed as a model and paid for your time, you do not have ownership of the photograph and the company can use it any way they want to. He would have had to sign a release that stated this so maybe he should have read it before and understood they could have air brushed his head out if they chose to. Quit complaining – you got paid!

  • Slufoot NYC

    That’s Meddlesome Avenue and the City for you!

  • Fraud

    It’s fraud. Plain and simple.

  • Lah La

    This fatguy sold his picture to a stock photo house and agreed
    to have it used anywhere ,the Mayor as much as I dislike him is
    not to blame the city used this mans face for a legitimate reason
    if it is a legal permission granted by this man ,cool that now the message
    against carb poisoning which is what fat is has more publicity.

  • Richard

    I don’t see what the fuss is about. Everything in culture is a lie anyway; some lies lead to truth, like Picasso (& other artists have said) and some are just terminal lies. No one says a film teaser is a lie when the film flops. No one says a painting is a lie; a photoshoot in Vogue magazine is a lie. Recently it was shown that a picture of Madonna photoshopped the veins in her arms. No one says a politician’s platform is a lie when it contradicts everything he’s said and done before. All advertising is a lie. All modeling is a lie. Movies are lies well-packaged to entertain. What’s the problem? As for ruining a person’s acting career, acting itself is a lie that (at its best) leads to a higher truth. But I’m not sure how it can ruin an actor’s career anyway. How many casting directors are going to notice that man in the picture, moreover link that man’s name and face, moreover assume it’s the same person, etc. etc. etc.

  • ilana

    Talk about false advertising!! All Bloomberg has done is proven that everything we look at and are being told by our officials is a lie. I can’t believe the media is allowed to distort body image to further their agenda without any permission at all from the person whos picture it is. Sad to say though…. Although I am disapointed, definietly not surprised.

  • Fay Git

    It’s okay; lying, treachery, and deceit are now accepted practices in business, downright blatant in government. So who cares if a somewhat chubby, but otherwise healthy young African-American male is portrayed as a handicapped person? Beats being portrayed as a cigar-smoking nazi who hates cigarettes.

  • s.f. peaches

    Some people are still in denial about the dangers of obesity. A photoshopped picture isn’t going to help those people. They’ll just identify it as “one more lie,” so in the end it may be counterproductive.

  • gjk

    Hey, let’s do the same with pictures of Bloomy. Let’s picture him in a wheelchair sucking on a cigarette and drinking rotgut with an ugly tumor growing out of his neck and both legs cut off from the waist.

    See if he likes “common practice.”

  • Dr.Yes Siree

    If he signed a legal model release it says that the photographer or their
    assignees & heirs ,etc. have the right to alter,manipulate or distort their likeness.
    If he was paid even one dollar and signed a release ,it’s the end of the story.

    Of course he is now getting a lot of publicity free which also is worth something.

    Better he should shed those pounds and not end up a diabetic himself ,then campaign for more jobs in acting for the differently abled.

    Now if he did not sign a release ,he is in pardon the pun a $$$$ “Fat city”

  • susan

    i do not agree with using photos such as the one described and altering them..i believe the man has a legitimate complaint,unless he signed off all rights to the shots to the person who took them..this happens a lot to actors and actresses, but usually its nude pictures they are concerned about..thy health department was wrong to do this…

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