Xeni on Rachel Maddow Show: Ralph Lauren's Photoshop of Horrors

maddow.jpgRachel Maddow did a segment on her always-superb show tonight about Ralph Lauren's recent bogus legal threats against various blogs -- including this one. Those DMCAs sent by lawyers for Lauren demanded the removal of a badly photoshopped ad which morphed a model into a lollipop-headed stick figure. The Rachel Maddow Show segment is embedded above, and is also here: Photoshop of Horrors.

P.S.: And here's Rob on ABC's Nightline. No embed, unfortunately!


  1. Very awesome. Thanks for playing up the whole dmca vs free speech aspect, that’s really the main point here.

  2. Hell Yeah!!! I was so happy to watch Rachel’s podcast tonight and hearing about Boing Boing just made it even better :)

  3. Okay, Xeni I had to register and finally comment on Boing Boing and say this is my official favorite blog. Good job on those morons at RL. I don’t always agree your post are interesting, but your percentages are great! Keep it up!

  4. My inclination is not to be part of a greater echo chamber on this specific issue, but I do appreciate bringing the absurdities of the DMCA to a larger audience, so for that, thank you.

  5. It’s cool seeing bOING bOING and Xeni getting national exposure!

    Although, tt’s pretty obvious that the show has been raiding BB for weird news ideas for quite some time.

  6. @elisd
    Attorneys rarely have vested interests in who they defend, unless they are working for nonprofits or pro bono. Especially in this case, expensive (copyright) lawyers work for who pays them. On the page you linked to, RIAA/MPAA.

    These folks are not an evil group of corporate lawyers out to get the little guy. They just want to make money and the big companies have all the money. Apparently BB has a little money too, or the company is defending first amendment rights pro bono.

    Reminder: The RIAA/MPAA are the enemy in this case, not their lawyers. This is not “The Firm” or any other Grisham novel. People are WAYYY to quick to blame the attorneys before considering the attorney is an EMPLOYEE.

    Obviously the MS&K firm is also working to defend our first amendment rights.

    1. Didn’t work last night to go to msnbc. No embed either last night or today, until I revisited msnbc using the link in the comment above – then I got the video there. And upon returning to bb saw the embed for the first time here, as well. Firefox 3.5.3

  7. Xeni gets a +1 for giving a reasonable nod to photoshop disasters. They’re definitely the only who brought this to light, got knocked around and should get a bit of recognition. Glad you threw them a nice little acknowledgment.

  8. There are so many things I could say about how beautiful, true to yourself and informative you were… As a reader of your posts for some time now I know how daring you are. I know that you can push it, even to the detriment of your public image sometimes, to give voice to something you believe in, the important stuff as well as the most frivolous. :D

    I am proud of myself to have stuck with you through the thickest and thinnest posts sometimes to finally get to the core of them where a good human being stands tall.

    Best regards madame X.

  9. So was it ever established that the ad in question originated with RL and was uploaded to Photoshop Disasters unaltered? I saw that question raised in the previous thread, but no answers or sourcing to a photo of the image in a magazine or billboard.

  10. @JACKBIRD, Ralph Lauren’s reps took responsibility for the content of the ad, and stated this in such a way that any reasonable person would interpret as “the jpeg we blogged wasn’t further distorted in photoshop by someone on the internet who wanted to make Ralph Lauren’s ad look bad.” It simply *was* bad. One of our commenters also found another copy of the image which looked about the same on a Korean shopping website. So, no, as horrible as it is, it looks like it wasn’t an aftermarket tweak job.

    Everyone else, thank you for being so kind. You’re embarrassing me.

    Watch Rob’s segment on Nightline! I’m sorry ABC News doesn’t provide embeds.

  11. Great job Xeni,
    It is a damned shame in order to insure a level of freedom of speech one has to host their blog outside of the US. That seems like a huge indicator that something is wrong.

  12. Suuweeet! Time to put Photoshop back where it belongs, taking care of minor flaws, not completely distorting people into unnatural freaks.

    My interest in this? Anorexia is not a healthy portrayal of the human body. My friend Patty died of anorexia. I learned in my teenage years how psychological problems can kill you from that experience. We don’t need the corporate greed-wagon promoting it.

  13. Was that in Tokyo? Unfortunately I think the photo targets well Japanese women and generally the idea of bewuty in Japan nowadays. Just look at so called Japanese idols (men and women) over skinny, and enphasis on face and hairstyle … for instance Kimura Takuya (man) or Yuri Ebihara (women)

  14. Wow! Two of the most intelligent, beautiful, and funny women in the known universe together on the teevee machine. I’ll need a while to recover…

  15. Three things…

    1. Boingboing is Rachel Maddow’s favorite blog? AWESOME!

    2. Instead of threatening legal action, Ralph Lauren could’ve easily claimed that, yes, this was retouched and it was an artistic representation of a photograph. Then they could claim it was art. But no, they went the legal route and now look like even bigger idiots, not only on the Internet, but on national television.

    3. Seeing this segment made me wonder how much traffic it would take to “boing” Boingboing?

  16. When you guys do the side-by-side conversation, it becomes apparent that you guys would make an awesome stupidity-fighting superheroine team.

  17. Damn good interview. Really fine. The zinger for me was the ‘offshore’ remark.

    Offshore. It’s a shame, but it’s true.

  18. people at boing boing, I hope you read my comment…

    You know, I am currently a 19 year old student in graphic design (and a huge boingboing follower, going on 3 years, wooo!) but the further I step into the world, out of the sheltered belief that laws are for intelligent reasons and don’t need to be fought, the more I find myself to be an enraged fighter against copyright laws and the injustice they bring! Like I said, I am a graphic designer, which explains my interest in the controversy. Copyright laws are stunting the creative progress and innovation of human kind. My distaste for the laws first came when I did a report on the Napster lawsuits back in 9th grade but recently I saw a film titled “Rip! a re-mixers manifesto” featured on Hulu.The film explains the entire controversy perfectly, so, If anyone at BoingBoing is interested in the cause, I would absolutely love to see a report on this controversy featured on BoingBoing and would encourage anyone who reads this comment to watch the movie RIP! and join the fight against copyright laws! thanks for reading this comment and keep up the good work, BoingBoing employees!

  19. Really glad you gave props to Photoshop disasters. Way to stand up for free speech and for hungry models. You guys rock.


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