Pittsburgh Penguins admit to photoshopping masks onto fans in doctored pic
The Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night welcomed back fans into PPG Paints Arena for the first time since March 8, 2020 for a matchup with the in-state rival Philadelphia Flyers. Unfortunately, the Penguins generated some bad press for something that did not even take place on the rink during the team’s 5-2 win.
The Penguins shared a photo on the team’s official Twitter feed showcasing fans in the stands during Tuesday’s game. It showed everyone in attendance masked up and following protocols.
We just had to say this again…— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 4, 2021
Thanks for the continued support, Penguins fans.
We can't wait to see you tomorrow night. pic.twitter.com/f3KGjhHWR0
“We just had to say this again … thanks for the continued support, Penguins fans,” the tweet posted Wednesday read. “We can’t wait to see you tomorrow night.”
Some keen internet sleuths, however, noticed something not quite right about the photo. It turns out the image differs from the original Getty Images photograph.
A Penguins social media department staffer apparently photoshopped fans — one who wasn’t wearing a mask and two others who were not wearing theirs properly — to make it appear they were complying with the COVID-19 mandate, procedures and protocols.
Pittsburgh Penguins under fire for photoshopping masks onto fans https://t.co/JpJDOwc9KO pic.twitter.com/yKfJeluWH9— New York Post (@nypost) March 4, 2021
In a statement shared Thursday with the New York Post, the Penguins acknowledged the photoshop snafu.
“We are excited to have our fans back to PPG Paints Arena, and following the advice of medical professionals, we are taking all precautions to enforce the use of masks to keep our fans safe,” the statement read. “We have adopted a zero-tolerance policy, and our arena staff having roving teams to enforce during home games.”
The statement added the “perhaps well-intended” employee who altered the image has been reprimanded.
“Our social media team should never send out altered photos to our fan base,” the statement continued. “This is a violation of our social media and safety policy, and this staffer has been disciplined.”