The before and after shots of the photo of students at the Emile-Cohl drawing school in Lyon (see below) is like a bizarre game of Spot the Difference.
Some of the white students in the original have been digitally manipulated to appear black in the photo and images of black people have also been added to the photo which was destined to be used as promotional material for the school which hopes to open a branch in Los Angeles.
Once the news was broken by Lyon news site Rue89, a spokesman for the art school denied “any intention to manipulate reality”.
It also rejected accusations of “blackwashing” made by many on social media and apologized to those students whose faces had been made to appear black.
According to the spokesman, these “coarse” touch-ups were made by a communications agency responsible for producing the promotional website for the new US branch of the Lyon art school which is set to open “within two years”.
The advert for the school was part of a bid to find funding for the school from animation studios run the US.
Since the revelations, the school has suspended access to its US website and broken its contract with its US publicity agency.
The publicity agency has not offered any explanation as to why the photo was changed.