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Beyond Shocked': Model in Photoshopped NY Health Department Ad Depicting Amputation Speaks Out

"‘Oh my gosh, they even gave me crutches. Come on, people.’ ”

NEW YORK (The Blaze/AP) -- An overweight man who unwittingly became an amputee in advertisements that New York City is posting to warn against diabetes says he's worried the ads might hurt his acting career.

Earlier this month, we reported about the controversial New York Health and Mental Hygiene's campaign raising awareness about increased portion sizes being associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Soon thereafter, it came to light that the image for one of the campaign ads depicting a man who had a leg amputation was photoshopped -- the real man from the picture actually had both legs.

Cleo Berry, 27, of Los Angeles says he was "beyond shocked" upon discovering that a photograph he posed for several years ago in Manhattan had turned up on the Internet -- but showing him without one leg. The photo was digitally altered to make it look like Berry's right leg is missing.

Watch this local news report on the issue:

Berry tells The New York Times that while he supports the city's efforts to educate people about the dangers of diabetes, he disagrees with the use of a manipulated image of an able-bodied person, instead of an image of a real victim:

“I was beyond shocked,” Mr. Berry said, recounting his reaction to seeing himself portrayed as ailing and crippled. “I cried at my computer screen for, like, a minute.”

Then, after studying the ad more closely, “I said: ‘Oh my gosh, they even gave me crutches. Come on, people.’ ”

The Times reports that Berry, a struggling actor at the time, was paid $500 to pose for the shots a few years ago.

City officials have defended the practice as common in advertising.

One last thing…
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