An image of controversial transgender swimmer Lia Thomas that aired on The Today Show was manipulated to make her appear more feminine, experts said.
“The edited image has definitely undergone some sort of softening and smoothing effect,” Jonathan Gallegos, a former White House director of digital content for President Trump, told The Post. “It’s clear this job was not done by a professional. This level of skin smoothing is a hallmark sign of an amateur job.”
“Wow. That’s really bad,” said a photographer who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals from trans activists.
Thomas — a biological male — made headlines last week after blowing fellow female competitors out of the water to win the 500-yard NCAA title.
The allegedly doctored image of Thomas ran on The Today Show and posted to Twitter on March 17. The touched-up photo removed facial lines, skin discolorations, notable red impressions on her face caused by goggles, and blurred the adam’s apple. The show later ran the original photo — warts and all — in a clip posted to Twitter on March 18.
The apparent effort to make Thomas look more like a biological female was first picked up by The Post Millennial website after making the rounds on Twitter.
Reps for NBC and “The Today Show” did not respond to multiple request for comment.
Media critics blasted NBC, saying the move had been disingenuous and unethical.
“In this day and age, news organizations should know better,” said Curtis Houck of the Media Research Center. “My first reaction to this was it harkened back to CBS altering Katie Couric’s appearance so she appeared slimmed down or perhaps the most infamous and egregious example of Time magazine altering O.J. Simpson’s skin color.”
Abigail Shrier, an author who has written critically on trans issues, accused the network of trying to “pull the wool over the eyes of the public” by pushing the misleading image.
“NBC is protecting a cheater by cheating. Doctoring photographs is a violation of everything journalism stands for,” she said.
Thomas — who swam as a male under the name William Thomas for three years before transitioning — has stoked controversy with critics, including her own teammates, who say she has an “unfair advantage” over biological females because of her strength and size.
“Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female,” Thomas’ fellow UPenn swimmers wrote in a letter last month to university officials urging them to bar her from competition.