- Three British women said their photos were used for a body positivity ad without their knowledge.
- The artist of the poster, commissioned by Spain’s Ministry of Equality, has apologized publicly.
- Two of the women said parts of their bodies, including a prosthetic leg, were edited in the poster.
The artist behind a poster for a high-profile body positivity campaign in Spain has apologized for using the photos of three British women — including a cancer survivor and a model who’s also an amputee — without their permission.
Arte Mapache, the creator of the campaign’s poster, tweeted a public apology on Friday to the women “for having been inspired by their photographs for the ‘Summer is ours too’ campaign.”
“I hope to be able to solve all this as soon as possible, I accept my mistakes and that is why I am now trying to repair the damage caused,” the artist wrote.
The poster features illustrations of five women of different body types on a beach, with the caption: “Summer is ours too.” It was commissioned by Spain’s Women’s Institute, a branch of the country’s Ministry of Equality, and was widely reported on by media outlets.
“All bodies are beach bodies,” Spanish Social Services Minister Ione Belarra tweeted after the campaign launched on Wednesday.
—Ione Belarra (@ionebelarra) July 27, 2022
However, the campaign has since come under fire after three British women said the poster was made using photos of them without their knowledge or consent.
The first woman to raise the issue, model Nyome Nicholas-Williams from London, said a photo of her in a bikini from her Instagram feed was used in the poster and that she had found out about it from her followers.
The BBC reported that Nicholas-Williams had received a private apology from the artist, who said that her photo was used because they were “running low on time.” She added that the artist had also promised to compensate her.
Nicholas-Williams told Insider that, as of Sunday evening, she had not heard from the Ministry of Equality.
“Given that all of this could have been avoided if they had simply asked us to use the images is what is blowing my mind,” she wrote in a message to Insider.
“I just think this whole situation brings up the conversation surrounding consent once again and women not being able to have a say over how our bodies are used,” she added. “It’s abhorrent that the powers that be think they can just take and that there will be no repercussions.”
Another model from the UK, Sian Green-Lord, said in an Instagram story that the Spanish advert had used a photo of her posing while reclining but edited out her prosthetic leg.
“I am literally shaking, I am so angry. I don’t even know where to begin to explain this and how it has actually made me feel,” she said in the story, according to Sky News. Per the BBC, Green-Lord’s leg was amputated in 2013 after she was struck by a taxi in New York.
Green-Lord did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
—Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) July 31, 2022
Meanwhile, Juliet Fitzpatrick, a breast cancer survivor from southern England, said her face “may have been used and superimposed” on the illustration of a woman with one breast.
“Can you tell me what images were used to make this woman?” she tweeted in response to the poster, adding that she would be “furious if the image has been used without consent.”
Fitzpatrick told the BBC that the body of the woman in the poster could not have been hers, as she had undergone a double mastectomy — a procedure to remove both breasts.
She also told Insider that while she has not heard from Arte Mapache since coming forward with her complaint, Spain’s Women’s Institute had reached out to her on Sunday to apologize.
A portrait of Fitzpatrick had been taken by photographer Amy Barwell, who tweeted that the campaign poster involved a copyrighted photo “stolen” by the advert.
—Amyak Urartu (@AmyakUrartu) July 31, 2022
Arte Mapache tweeted that they had been paid around $4,600 and would be privately contacting the three women to compensate them for the use of their images.
Spain’s Women’s Institute praised the artist’s apology.
“Thank you for your anti-fatphobia activism, for recognizing the error regarding illustration and being open to listening to the women involved in the fight against fatphobia and racism,” it tweeted on Friday.
“We continue to build alliances so that aesthetic violence is recognized,” the organization added.
As of Sunday evening, the organization has continued to display the poster on its website.
In response to queries from Insider, The Women’s Institute said: “The Instituto de las Mujeres wants to clarify that at no time was it aware that the women who appeared in the images were real people.”
“The work contracted was the elaboration of an illustration, without the use of models,” it added. “The Instituto de las Mujeres, as an injured party, have contacted the models to clarify the situation, and are waiting for the illustrator and the models to reach an agreement.”