Newsnight denies photoshopping Jeremy Corbyn image to make him look Russian

Sean Morrison

Newsnight has denied claims it photoshopped an image of Jeremy Corbyn "to make him look Russian”.

The photo sparked a social media storm after it appeared on the programme on Thursday evening.

Supporters of the Labour leader, including prominent left-wing writer Owen Jones, attacked the BBC Two show for using the image they claim had been altered.

Mr Jones appeared on the programme to discuss Labour's response to the Salisbury nerve agent attack and claimed Mr Corbyn had been made to look like a "Soviet stooge".

He said: "Yesterday the background of your programme you had Jeremy Corbyn dressed up against the Kremlin skyline, dressed up as a Soviet stooge. You even photoshopped his hat to look more Russian.

"People should complain to the BBC about that kind of thing."

Newsnight: The programme's bosses have denied photoshopping the image of Jeremy Corbyn to make him 'look Russian' (BBC/Newsnight)

Mr Corbyn was pictured wearing a hat, which some claim was photoshopped, against a backdrop of Moscow's Red Square.

Newsnight acting editor Jess Brammar denied the hat had been altered. She tweeted: "Newsnight didn't photoshop a hat.”

Ms Brammar added: "Our (excellent,hardworking) graphics team explained the image has had the contrast increased & been colour treated, usual treatment for screen graphics as they need more contrast to work through the screens.

"If you look you can see it's same hat in silhouette.

"Apparently (forgive me for passing on tech details I don't understand firsthand) some detail might also have been lost with it going through the screen and then being filmed back through a camera, again the standard effect on images on that big back panel.

"And finally, the Russia background was a rehash of one Newsnight used a few weeks ago, for a story about Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary."

Mr Jones responded to the tweets saying the programme had picked an image of Mr Corbyn that was as "Leninesque as possible".

"The photo of Williamson is in a suit and his photo remains clear," he said.

"There is no shortage of photos of Corbyn in a suit. A photo was selected which was as Leninesque as possible in combination with a red Kremlin background."

Additional reporting by the Press Association.