The Schmooze

Lena Dunham Recants Scathing Criticism Over Supposedly Retouched Magazine Cover

“Girls” star Lena Dunham has apologized for accusing Spanish magazine “Tentaciones” of heavily photoshopping a photo of her that it featured on their cover after the publication responded with proof that the photo was real.

“Tentaciones,” a monthly Spanish magazine published by Madrid’s “El País” newspaper, featured the photo of Dunham on the cover of their March issue. The licensed photo was acquired from a photoshoot done by Ruven Afanador for Entertainment weekly in 2013.

On February 29, Dunham posted a photo of the cover on her Instagram account with a scathing rebuke of the magazine’s supposed photoshopping blunder. Dunham’s post received 44,100 likes.


Yesterday, El País released an open letter on their website to address Dunham’s complaint, explaining that they received the licensed image from Corbis Agency and that the only edit made to the image was a crop to reformat the photo to fit their cover. They informed Dunham that the image was not only approved by photographer Ruven Afanador but even by Dunham’s own publicist. They also attached the uncropped version of the image, showing Dunham that they did not retouch her photo.

“Of course, we are aware that any media outlet needs to be responsible for what it publishes, but this photo was previously approved by the agency, the photographer and your publicist,” El País wrote in their public letter to Dunham, adding “Those who are familiar with and follow our magazine will know that we do not use Photoshop nor other digital tools to change the physical appearance of our cover stars, nor in the features to be found inside. On this occasion, the only thing we did was to crop the image to adapt it to the format of our front page.”

Dunham responded to El País’ letter on Instagram shortly after, reposting the uncropped image that they published in their letter. She thanked them for responding to her concern, apologized for her initial accusation, and continued to explain her general disapproval of photoshopping.

Hey Tentaciones- thank you for sending the uncropped image (note to the confused: not unretouched, uncropped!) and for being so good natured about my request for accuracy. I understand that a whole bunch of people approved this photo before it got to you- and why wouldn’t they? I look great. But it’s a weird feeling to see a photo and not know if it’s your own body anymore (and I’m pretty sure that will never be my thigh width but I honestly can’t tell what’s been slimmed and what hasn’t.) I’m not blaming anyone (y’know, except society at large.) I have a long and complicated history with retouching. I wanna live in this wild world and play the game and get my work seen, and I also want to be honest about who I am and what I stand for. Maybe it’s turning 30. Maybe it’s seeing my candidate of choice get bashed as much for having a normal woman’s body as she is for her policies. Maybe it’s getting sick and realizing ALL that matters is that this body work, not that it be milky white and slim. But I want something different now. Thanks for helping me figure that out and sorry to make you the problem, you cool Spanish magazine you. Time to get to the bottom of this in a bigger way. Time to walk the talk. With endless love, Lena PS I’d love the Tentaciones subscription I was offered!

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

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Lena Dunham Recants Scathing Criticism Over Supposedly Retouched Magazine Cover

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