Definition of not as black as one is painted in US English:

not as black as one is painted

phrase

informal
  • Not as bad as one is said to be.

    • ‘Probably the real Bertran was not as black as he is painted by Dante.’
    • ‘But in an overall rating and in the face of adversities - natural and manmade - her government is not as black as it is painted to be.’