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Photographer Says NBC Intentionally Airbrushed And "Softened" Her Photos Of Lia Thomas To Make Him Appear More Womanly

By Gina Florio··  2 min read
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lia thomas airbrushed
Getty/NBC

462nd ranked male swimmer William Thomas decided to grow his hair out and take hormone blockers in order to pretend like he's a girl and swim on UPenn's women team.

Since then Thomas has been wrecking women's records and stealing medals from hard-working female athletes. His latest scam is swimming in the NCAA women's swimming and diving championship, where he took home first place in the 500-yard freestyle race. Emma Weyant won second place but many people online, including Caitlyn Jenner, are praising Weyant as the "rightful winner" of the race.

There has been extensive coverage in the national news of Thomas' participation in the NCAA championship, and one particular photographer discovered that her photos of Thomas were doctored before they were aired on NBC.

Photographer Says NBC "Softened" Her Photos of Lia Thomas

Erica Denhoff is a photographer and a graduate of UPenn, where she was a track and field athlete. She photographed Lia Thomas at the NCAA championship and those photos were used by NBC's Today Show, but when she saw her photos on the news channel she noticed that they looked a little different. They seemed airbrushed and doctored. And she wasn't the only one who noticed.

People couldn't help but wonder why on earth there were multiple photos of Thomas on NBC that made him look much softer. Here are some other screenshots from NBC's reporting on Thomas.

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"When I first noticed the airbrushing on the segment referenced, I thought something was honestly wrong with the video. But then, I watched it again and thought, 'Wait a minute, this appears to be intentional. Lia's features are softened,'" Denhoff told the Washington Examiner.

"I then went to my original photo, on the sites that they could access to license the photo, and compared it and immediately saw a difference," she said. "My photo that they licensed was an authentic photo. I'm surprised and disappointed that Today altered my image of Lia for this particular news segment."

This is not surprising considering that NBC has been positively gushing over Lia Thomas' participation in the NCAA championship, calling him a "standout swimmer" and a "superstar" who deserves praise and recognition. What we're seeing is a coordinated effort by the mainstream media to paint Thomas in a positive light and encourage viewers to feel bad for him and treat him as if he's some kind of hero. It's incredibly disrespectful and demeaning to all the young women who are having their titles and records stripped away from them by a young man who is obviously performing the greatest troll in modern history.

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