The photographer who edited out parts of Lupita Nyong’o’s hair in a Grazia magazine cover has apologised for his ‘monumental mistake.’
In a statement released to The Telegraph, New York-based photographer An Le admitted his part in the decision to alter the image, which appeared on a November issue of the magazine.
Last week, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens actress took to Instagram to air her disappointment at the magazine, who apologised but said it was not responsible for altering the image.
Vietnamese-born photographer Le has now said: “I’ve had some time to reflect on my part in the incident involving Grazia and Ms. Nyong’o.
“I realise now what an incredibly monumental mistake I have made and I would like to take this time to apologise to Ms Nyong’o and everyone else that I did offend.
“Though it was not my intention to hurt anyone, I can see now that altering the image of her hair was an unbelievably damaging and hurtful act.”
“As an immigrant myself, it is my duty to be an advocate for the representation of diversity of beauty in this industry. I will demonstrate this in my work even more going forward,” Le continued.
View this post on Instagram
As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too. Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are. I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like. Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women's complexion, hair style and texture. #dtmh
A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on
In the original post on Instagram, Nyong’o said: “I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like.”
She added that she felt the edited image represented an ‘omission of what is my native heritage.’
Grazia UK said in another post on Instagram that it ‘apologises unreservedly to Lupita Nyong’o.’
However, the statement continued: “Grazia magazine would like to make it clear that at no point did they make any editorial request to the photographer for Lupita Nyong’o’s hair to be altered on this week’s cover, nor did we alter it ourselves.”