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Former Jones Day lawyer claims the firm ‘doctored’ photo to make her look white

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US outfit denies ‘sensationalized allegation’

A black lawyer says that her former firm, Jones Day, doctored her staff photo to make her look white. The US outfit denies this.

The eye-catching allegation comes as part of a sex discrimination case against the Ohio-based outfit, which counts Donald Trump among its clients, by former Jones Day litigator Julia Sheketoff.

Court documents filed by Sheketoff and her husband allege that “after her photograph was taken for Jones Day’s website, Julia, who is biracial, noticed that Jones Day had doctored the photograph. The photograph was edited to lighten Julia’s skin and narrow her nose”.

The original (left) and allegedly doctored photograph (right), from court documents

The couple claim that “the apparent purpose of the alterations was to make Julia appear more Caucasian and (in the opinion of the editor) more attractive”.

Citing “information and belief”, the lawsuit also says that at least two of Sheketoff’s friends at the firm had their photos edited, whereas pictures of men never are.

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The allegation forms part of a wider complaint about sexism and discrimination at the US firm. Sheketoff says that a male partner gave her a negative performance review for being “insufficiently deferential to him”, meaning that her raise that year was a mere $15,000 (£12,000).

Sheketoff was earning $525,000 (£420,000) a year when she left Jones Day to become a public defender. Her lawsuit says that the firm “prohibits associates from discussing their salaries with one another or with anyone else”.

Jones Day hit back with a statement attacking the “frivolousness” of Sheketoff’s claims. The firm specifically denies the “sensationalized allegation” that it altered her profile pic, saying that “Jones Day never altered any photographs of Ms. Sheketoff, and in fact, Ms. Sheketoff personally selected the precise photo that was used on the firm’s website”.

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64 Comments

Charles

Jones Day gets a bad rap but I did a vac scheme there and though the banter was top. It was like being back in the sixth form.

Anonymous

How’s Osborne Clarke treating you these days Chaz?

Anonymous

From Jones Day to Osborne Clarke? Ouch…

Anonymous

I’m at Travers Smith now. If you want a firm with an excellent reputation, great banter and nice young ladies, I can’t recommend it enough.

Nice Young Lady

Can confirm, I am lovely.

JDP

I second that. Lovely and very obliging.

Anonymous

In the pungent cesspools of the LC comment boards, this inane chatter about firms and pay, an exercise analogous to comparing dicks, is the scum at the bottom.

THICC PEPE

U OK HUN

7.6"

Touched a nerve, have we?

Anonymous

Fuck you Charles.

Charles

Tell me where, tell me when

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Anonymous

Mental as. Shows the world has gone mad with people seeing discrimination everywhere.

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

JONES DAY

Anonymous

there does seem to be some editing.. The noticeable bit being her left (her right) nostril and the har on the right (her left) as it comes to the nape of the neck.

Ramo

As if the partners edit the photos. She should sue the photographer …

Anonymous

Classic turd on a plate. Whatever else she has to complain about, she loses credibility with this nonsense argument, it makes her look oversensitive and seeing problems where none exist.

Anonymous

if you are not black and have not experienced something like this, you do not have the right to comment about it. That’s like a white male in a company board highlighting the need for more white straight male representation in all boards because its getting a bit diverse

Anonymous

So if she thinks the photos are racist white people cannot say “that is bollocks” because they are white? FFS. Take a hike buddy. You cannot silence 87% of the population so you can pander to oversensitivity in a self-generated echo chamber. Here is my view, and I will exercise my right to comment about it. “This is bollocks”.

Anonymous

I mean, I never witnessed the holocaust but I still know it was pretty bad? Am I allowed to have that view?

Anonymous

The difference between the photos is much more apparent on ATL.

TommyBoy

Can anyone see any difference??

Anonymous

Slightly better lighting effects were added in artificially. That’s it. Look at the stripes on the jacket. The other changes people see are just the consequences of upping the lighting.

Anonymous

(her) right nostril appears to have been narrowed and the skin was lightened down past the face down to the neck.

Anonymous

yes

Anonymous

LOL

Iz it coz I iz white?

#ArchbishopofBanterbury

Anonymous

I don’t think she’s crazy. The one in the right does look more Caucasian. And apart from anything else it’s very bad practice not to give the person in the photo final say on the image that is used – this has happened at every firm I’ve been at.

Anonymous

Just different lighting tone was used. Look at the stripe on the jacket. There was probably too much shadow on the original. Everything else is a lighting consequence, no more, no less.

Ramo

I’ve worked at two MC firms and neither give you final say, the photographer picks the best out of say 5 and edits it. Nothing to do with staff

Anonymous

This is like that blue dress people saw differently. Some people can see no difference. Snowflake race warriors can see a huge difference. Shows the crap they call discrimination these days.

1/512th Cheyenne.

She isn’t black but biracial, which is in itself racist, apparently it is all “dual heritage” now.

Anonymous

“Bi-racial” was in for about six months. How long will “dual heritage” last until it too becomes racist?

Anonymous

Stunning photo.

Linda the photoshop expert

Do males have their male employees at Jones Day have their noses slimmed or their hair retouched to look fuller? I doubt it. The skin lightening is also concerning. This sort of treatment is odd, unless one works in the modelling industry or has consented to such retouching.

Anonymous

Yes.

But thanks for sharing your casual sexism.

Hamilton

I have to say, It is unheard of women having photographs edited, pocketing 500,000 USD a year and then once having left the firm filing a suit against said firm for edited photos…

Lets have the cake and eat it ladies!

Anon trainee

Let’s be honest the majority of partners and associates at these firms need as much help as possible .. ugly af, and it’s common practice for everyone’s photos to be retouched. Ever looked at a firms page to see if they had at least one hot team member? Yeah non existent .. ugly af

M

I’m sorry but I literally don’t see a difference

Anonymous

Asides from the skin and nose slimming, her left eye has been enlarged and her jawline also refined. The differences are subtle but kind of weird considering the lady never asked for retouching, nor is she working in the modelling industry where photoshopping is the norm.

I’d be pretty annoyed if my employer edited my flaws without my consent.

Anonymous

None of these have been altered. Brightness and tone have been upped from the original.

Anonymous

You must be blind. It’s not simply the lighting. Her nose has clearly been pinched in, among other things.

Anonymous

Subtle? You mad? She literally looks like a different and less black person

The Answer

While I do not see what the fuss is about, because she still does not look white, there is a difference.

That difference, though, is just a slightly higher contrast and a shinier forehead/face. it’s more noticeable in the background where, instead of dull and flat, there are a richer contrast of colour. The photo overall looks a lot better for the additional contrasting features.

One suspects that they just wanted the photo to look less flat, upped the contrast, and either forgot, couldn’t or just didn’t bother to adjust her contrast back.

Anonymous

Second photo also has fuller hair, slimmer nose, slimmer jaw and left eye is enlarged to match the right. Very subtle differences but much more than a simple upping of contrast.

Anonymous

No, it is just the lighting was enhanced. That’s it.

Anonymous

Really. Look at her right hand, on the left side of the photo, in the misleading Twitter contrast. See that movement? Not an editing effect. It is because the pictures used in the link are different sizes and different shapes – the edges are at a different angle. The manipulated difference in the photos is contrast, and that it is it.

The Answer

Someone super imposed both pictures over the other on the Twitter page link below. I will admit it is slightly more than just the contrast when you see it flick back and forth.

Anonymous

It is not. See the comment at 9.23 above.

Anonymous

Pictures look identical.

Anonymous

They are. Minor brightness recalibration. But those looking for racism at every corner will see it differently.

Anonymous

Contrast upped. All that was done. Look at the jacket especially the check in it. Those seeing large scale tweaking to the face are mistaken. Changing contrast is cheap and easy, tweaking the features would take time and money. Occam’s Razor people, Occam’s Razor.

Anonymous

You really can’t see the slimmer nose? Get to Specsavers mate.

Uhmmm

To those who are saying that the only difference is the contrast, please look here: https://twitter.com/noamscheiber/status/1161684484267421701/photo/1. I’m not sure why LC has uploaded a potato quality version of the photos. You can really see how they’ve slimmed her nostrils, enlarged her eyes and made her chin smaller. Quite demeaning unless she explciity asked for this to be done.

Anonymous

Look at her right hand, on the left side of the photo. See that movement. Not an effect. It is because the pictures used in the link are different sizes and different shapes – the edges are at a different angle. The manipulated difference in the photos is contrast, and that it is it.

Kirkland NQ

I can confirm, my persona is all fake. I am actually from Hartlepool and work as a community leader.

Anonymous

Would explain your crude low quality attempts at humour, one trick pony.

Fragile White People Strike Again

People in these comments doing some kind of mental gymnastics of conscience to actually say this is much ado about nothing. You all are bunch of racists doing classic racist erasure. They literally lightened her skin, slimmed her nose and elongated her eyes. I.e. changed her face to match eurocentric ideas of attractiveness. This is objective, definitive white supremacism .

And to those of you saying the onus is with the photographer not the firm, why is it that the buck stops with the partnership in all instances except the grievance of this woman? What is it about this complaint that precludes her from that procedural standard? Surely nothing to do with the fact that this complaint is racial in nature and she is a woman of colour, because we’ve never seen that kind of double standard before…

Website content is approved by the partnership and senior marketing staff. Approving and publishing someone else’s racism is… also racism.

There are so few women of colour practising law and those who do, this is how you treat them.

Fragile whiteness never ceases to amaze me. Give this woman the support she deserves.

Anonymous

Sucks doesn’t it? Bye, bye.

Ramo

Your comment was more racist than anything. I would’ve said it was the photographer even if it was a white person complaining because having worked in two MC firms I know that it is. And I’m a black woman working in a city firm so to me your argument about having recourse seems futile unless she has been subjected to a course of discrimination in the same workplace – not simply over a photo. Litigation happy culture we live in today

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