Kerry Washington's 'InStyle' cover draws controversy over lighter skin tone

By LEANNE ITALIE
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Handle it, InStyle.

Kerry Washington took to social media late Wednesday to gush about her March cover for the magazine, but her skin tone in an image she posted on Instagram and Twitter appeared significantly lighter than in real life.

The difference wasn't lost on dozens of commenters, while others were as "THRILLED" as the "Scandal" star.

Wrote one sad fan: "Glad you made the cover kerry, but this isn't right. I'm sorry. It's not. Don't let them do that to you." Another chimed in: "Why is she white in this picture."

Some negative comments were later removed.

The magazine said in a statement Thursday that it, too, fielded complaints from people concerned that Washington's skin was deliberately lightened.

"While we did not digitally lighten Kerry's skin tone, our cover lighting has likely contributed to this concern. We understand that this has resulted in disappointment and hurt. We are listening, and the feedback has been valuable. We are committed to ensuring that this experience has a positive influence on the ways in which we present all women going forward," the magazine said.

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The InStyle cover has Washington brightly lit in a white, shoulder-baring dress, hands on hips and hair wind-swept.

Washington later tweeted the magazine's explanation in full, adding: "Beautiful statement. Thank u 4 opening this convo. It's an important 1 that needs to be had."

The Olivia Pope actress isn't a newcomer to cover controversy. Lucky magazine took some Photoshop heat for a Kerry cover also declared unrecognizable by some in 2013.

Additionally, the cosmetics giant L'Oreal was accused of "whitening" Beyonce's skin tone in a several magazine ads dating to 2008.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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