Censorship Protesters Strip Naked And Bare Nipples Outside Facebook HQ

On Sunday morning, roughly 100 people stripped naked in front of Facebook’s New York headquarters as part of a protest on censorship. The protest, called #WeTheNipple, was organised by American artist Spencer Tunick and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) to combat Facebook and Instagram’s policies around artistic nudity.

Source: Getty Images

The stunt featured the anti-censorship activists lying on the ground, naked, with their genitalia covered with stickers of male nipples to highlight “the rigid – and anachronistic – gender inequality in existing nudity policies,” the NCAC said.

Facebook and Instagram have become paramount platforms that allow artists to showcase their work on a global scale and because of this, they have a responsibility to all artists, even those who work with the human body. But they are letting these particular artists down.

Spencer Tunick, one of the protest’s organisers and one of the world’s most famous artists working with nudity, is still being censored. Even having staged over 75 large-scale installations with hundreds or even thousands of nude participants in both urban and natural settings to create incredible pieces, he still has to use that blur feature.

Source: Spencer Tunick
Source: Spencer Tunick

For the world to see his art on Instagram, he is forced to meticulously censor his work by individually blurring each and every nipple himself! Even once all this work has been done, his posts are often removed because of the nudity guidelines and thus his ability to use these platforms to reach his audiences is ultimately ruined.

Not only this but Tunick himself exclaims that the work he creates and the work he shows his audience are fundamentally different because of the censorship. “To me, every pixelated nipple only succeeds in sexualising the censored work. As a 21st century artist, I rely on Instagram. It’s the world’s magazine and to be censored on it breaks my spirits.”

In any argument there is always going to be two sides to the story and it’s often big companies like Facebook who are given the impossible task of trying to please all of their users. However, the NCAC urges Facebook to adopt a more art-friendly policy.

In a statement, the Director of Programs at NCAC, Svetlana Mintcheva had some wise words, “We recognise that moderating content for billions of users is challenging and draw the line between art and images that are not art is hard. Yet, if Facebook and Instagram want to be platforms for artists, they need to modify their current overbroad ban on photographic nudity, which harms artists who work with the human body, especially those exploring issues of gender and identity.”

Source: Spencer Tunick

Art always has been and will continue to be about beauty and let’s face it, what’s more beautiful than the human body in all its natural glory? Were Michelangelo or Donatello (the artists not the turtles!) subject to censoring their work? Art is art and it’s supposed to be seen in its purest form as the artist intended it, so who cares if you see some nipples people? We’ve all got two of ’em!

What are your thoughts on art censorship on platforms like Facebook and Instagram? Let us know in the comments below!