Elle has already defended itself against accusations that Gabourey Sidibe's skin was lightened for her October cover. The magazine's editor, Robbie Myers, elaborates:
"It's not a controversy. What's so sad about it is that people have not looked at anything else but this. There's an incredible portfolio inside that Joe [Zee] and Carter [Smith] shot . They haven't looked at it. People want to make something out of nothing. It's sad the legitimate news media picks up on this. It sort of boils down to this. At a photo shoot, in a studio, that is a fashion shoot, that's glamorous, the lighting is different. The photography is different than a red carpet shot from a paparazzi.
"We absolutely did not lighten her skin. Retouching is when we take a piece of hair and move it out of her eye, so you can't compare a picture on a press line from what you do in a studio, where your job is to make them look beautiful. This is their controversy. We've seen these things before. I am sad that no one has cracked the magazine and looked at it. We gave her a cover, and she loved it."
Of course Sidibe could easily just have been blown out due to lighting and flashbulbs.