Only two women were present at the summit
A photo of a gathering of tech executives is facing backlash online after it was revealed the only two female attendees pictured were reportedly Photoshopped in.
The photo, posted to Instagram by Italian fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli and taken at his home in Solomeo, Italy, shows a group of entrepreneurs including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, and Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston.
Also pictured are female executives, Peek CEO Ruzwana Bashir and Sunrun co-CEO Lynn Jurich, however, as pointed out by BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Mac, they were not actually present for the picture - but rather added in after.
According to GQ, which published a story about the meet-up, Cucinelli invited the group, which included Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, to his home in Italy for a “symposium on the soul and economy”.
The goal, according to the designer, was to discuss topics such as harmony with nature, what the entrepreneurs could do to benefit future generations, and “what can we donate to humanity whenever we make a profit”.
Following Mac’s confirmation that the female executives were Photoshopped into the photo, GQ removed the picture for not meeting “GQ’s editorial standards”.
In response to the Photoshop error, people on social media are criticising the lacklustre effort to portray diversity.
“Also kind of amazing that they thought: ‘Two women, fifteen men. Yeah, that’ll check the diversity box!’” one person wrote.
Another said: “Apparently people have caught onto the fact that you can’t have all-male panels or meetings without backlash - but they’d still rather photoshop women in than invite them.”
“Sounds about right for the tech industry,” someone else tweeted. “A bunch of high-level men have a retreat, poorly Photoshop women in to make it seem less sexist.”
However, in a statement to Business Insider, a spokesperson for Cucinelli said the female executives were in attendance at the retreat, but had been added to the photo “when we realised we didn’t have a shot where all attendees were represented”.
“The photos were shared and approved with all the participants including the two women, Lynn Jurich and Ruzwana Bashir, before posting them on Instagram and they also shared the group photo on their own instagram handles. We meant no harm or had any malicious intent in doing this and we are sorry”.
The Independent has contacted Cucinelli for comment.