On Tuesday, January 12, a statement from Vogue’s editor-in-chief was read by Kara Swisher on her podcast “Sway” ahead of an interview with Wintour that was recorded before the controversy.
“Obviously we have heard and understood the reaction to the print cover and I just want to reiterate that it was absolutely not our intention to, in any way, diminish the importance of the vice president-elect’s incredible victory,” the statement read.
For a little background, on Saturday, January 9, the magazine dropped its February 2021 print cover featuring the Vice President-elect. Quickly, people took to social media to criticize the quality of the image in a flurry of tweets and comments.
“People, I’ll shoot shots of VP Kamala Harris for free using my Samsung and I’m 100% confident it’ll turn out better than this Vogue cover,” one person tweeted. “We can shoot it in my yard using natural sunlight and it’ll still be better.”
“First, this is a weak shot. A lot of people have complained about the backdrop, but it could absolutely work if used correctly,” another photographer wrote. “The pose is unflattering, Harris looks uncomfortable, the angle of the photograph is unsophisticated, and the lighting is poorly done.”
However, the digital cover, which is a tighter shot of Harris with her arms crossed in a pale blue suit, was reportedly supposed to be the print cover.
“Kamala’s team was informed by Vogue that the blue suit photo would be featured on the cover,” a source familiar with the shoot told Us Weekly. “So they were surprised to see that the more informal portrait had ultimately been chosen instead.”
Wintour continued to explain in her statement on Tuesday that there was “no formal agreement” over which cover would be used.
“When the two images arrived at Vogue, all of us felt very, very strongly that the less formal portrait of the Vice President-elect really reflected the moment that we were living in,” Wintour said. “We are in the midst…of the most appalling pandemic that is taking lives by the minute, and we felt to reflect this tragic moment in global history, a much less formal picture, something that was very, very accessible, and approachable, and really reflected the hallmark of the Biden-Harris campaign.”
Former Vogue editor-at-large André Leon Talley took to Instagram to voice his support for the cover. “Not everyone evolves wishing to be a screen star, or a music vixen, or a Kardashian beauty empress. There are girls who will see in this cover, something wonderful,” he writes in an Instagram caption while sharing the cover on Monday. “Take me down. Clapback at me on social media. All I can say is Anna Wintour is not abdicating. And I wish I were there, at Vogue, to celebrate w/ the team.”
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