This month, the Bloomberg mayoralty took a stumble on a massive morality blunder with the release of an absolutely incredible public health campaign aimed at the heart of healthy people; and it was perpetuated in a fake amputation of a man’s leg in order to make some sort of warped point in print advertising about the perils if Type 2 Diabetes:

Here’s the stock image of the “Diabetes Amputee” model before the NYC Health Department fired up Photoshop:

Here’s the New York Times take on this asinine idea:

A blunt new poster from the Bloomberg administration shows an overweight man on a stool, his right leg missing below the knee. A pair of crutches leans against a wall beside him. The advertisement, being placed throughout the subway system, warns that ever-growing portions of fast food and sodas could cause diabetes, which could lead to amputations.

But it turns out that the person shown in the advertisement did not need crutches because his legs were intact. The health department confirmed on Tuesday that its advertising agency had removed the lower half of the man’s leg from the picture to make its point: the headline over the image reads “Portions have grown. So has Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to amputations.”

The stupidity of this false campaign for better health is shocking and revolting.  Do we really have to fake Diabetes amputees because NYC can’t find a stock photo of a truly disabled person?  Are we trying to save time here or save lives?  One wonders if Paula Deen is somehow involved in this crazy campaign.

We minimize an important health campaign and we insult disabled people — all in one swoop of a Photoshop clone tool.  It’s all so unimaginative and degenerate and cruel, one can easily believe the NYC Health Department is actually mocking Diabetics instead of trying to save healthy people from the deadly consequences of that disease.

Let’s hope the Bloomberg administration comes to its senses and removes this ugly campaign from view and that they then apologize for their lousy taste and complete tastelessness in broaching the topic of an important public health epidemic.

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.


  1. Did you find the ad with the woman who had her fingers amputated (because she was a smoker) to be similarly wrong or not so much because it was a real picture, not photoshopped ?

    I wonder why they didn’t find an actual amputee for this ad.



    1. I love the amputated fingers ad — it’s real and effective — much more so than Photoshopping a stock image to “amputate” a “diabetic’s” “leg.”



      1. So if it had been a genuine amputee it would have been better, yes?



        1. Yes. It’s the fakery that’s unforgivable.



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