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Vanity Fair France has apologised after it was found to have photoshopped an image of actor Guy Pearce, removing a pin of the Palestinian flag that he wore at the Cannes Film Festival.  

The ‘Time Machine’ and ‘Prometheus’ star posed for a photo shoot wearing a badge displaying the Palestinian flag on his jacket. The item was reportedly visible in the French magazine edition of Vanity Fair, but absent from images shared by the publication's website and Instagram account. 

The edit was first reported by journalist Ahmed Hathout over the weekend. “So Guy Pearce showed solidarity with Palestine at Cannes by wearing a pin and Vanity Fair decided to photoshop it out,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter), noting that the Australian actor also wore a bracelet in the colors of the Palestinians flag. 

The magazine was lambasted online, with commenters accusing it of censorship. Many pointed out that Pearce is a vocal supporter of the Palestinians and has labeled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu “a vengeful tyrant” for the IDF’s conduct in Gaza.

“Palestinians are being murdered as we speak. Displaced, traumatized, ruined,” the actor wrote on social media on Tuesday. “This MUST stop. SHAME on you Netanyahu.”

Vanity Fair France responded to the backlash on Monday. “We have mistakenly published a modified version of this photo on the website. The original version was published on Instagram the same day,” the publication wrote on X. “We have rectified our mistake and we apologize.”

Hathout retweeted the magazine’s statement, adding: “it’s unclear why there was a modified version in the first place.”

Pearce was not the only celebrity expressing solidarity with Palestine in Cannes. Palestinian-American fashion model Bella Hadid wore a dress inspired by the keffiyeh scarf, while Australian actress Cate Blanchett appeared on the red carpet in a dress that incorporated the colors of the Palestinian flag.

Fearing pro-Palestinian demonstrations, local authorities had banned protests along the iconic Croisette boulevard and its surroundings for the duration of the festival, held on May 14-25. 

Israel declared war on Hamas after the militants carried out a surprise raid into southern Israeli settlements on October 7, killing some 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostage. At least 36,000 Palestinian have been killed since the fighting erupted.