The Shondaland star wrote that she was "thrilled" to appear on the magazine’s March cover when she posted the image to Instagram, but the pics were soon met with backlash. Critics were upset that Washington’s image appeared to be over-altered in the photographs and that, most offensively, her skin had been lightened in an attempt to "white wash" the actress.
The magazine quickly responded to the controversy, saying that having the actress on their latest cover was "both an honor and a delight."
"While we did not digitally lighten Kerry’s skin tone, our cover lighting has likely contributed to this concern," InStyle said in a statement. "We understand that this has resulted in disappointment and hurt. We are listening, and the feedback has been valuable. We are committed to ensuring that this experience has a positive influence on the ways in which we present all women going forward."
Washington didn’t respond directly to the controversy, but she did tweet a link to InStyle’s "beautiful" response, adding that the conversation is "an important one that needs to be had."