Instagram takes down Bi Arts Festival

The Toronto Bisexual Arts Festival found themselves suspended from Instagram this week. 

Catherine from the BiAF team explained, “On February 27th, Instagram deleted our account (@biartsfestival) and a year’s worth of posts.”

On Tuesday Feb. 27th, 2018 we regrammed (i.e. reposted) D’Arcy L.J. White’s vision board that included, in part, a female nude. The original image of the female form came from the magazine Artforum. Within the hour, our entire Instagram account was deleted for being in violation of the Instagram Terms of Service.”


Instagram’s policies do not allow nudity in photographs, but do allow for other representations of it and has exemptions for things like illustrating breastfeeding. They state that what is not allowed are, “photos, videos and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too.”

The image posted was of a painting – albeit one which is quite photorealistic and so perhaps that could have triggered some automatic flagging, or been reported by an individual.

Picture: D’Arcy L.J. White’s collage, as posted on Instagram and regrammed by the Bi Arts Festival.

But as Catherine observes, “Instagram could have deleted the single post, and issued a warning to us, but instead they deleted and banned our entire account. This not only erases significant bisexual content, but also erases the rich visual history of the Festival.”

“Photorealism is definitely a challenge – and we are mindful of that – but there’s a few sticky points for us. The main one is that there was a real lack of context in the decision to delete our account. The collage was made by a community member and created at an arts workshop, and was clearly not a regram of a pornographic image. That was obvious in the description (as well as the collage itself). The rest of our feed has featured festival events, our zine, sponsors, bisexual artists, calls for submission, and images of famous bisexuals in the arts, music and film.

“There are plenty of John Currin nudes on Instagram already – if you work for or are affiliated with Christie’s or Arch. Digest then it seems it’s “hands off” — bisexual arts festivals, not so much.”

Today (2nd March) the Instagram account was suddenly restored around 3pm UK time. The image with the painting however does not appear in their feed.

An Instagram spokesperson told Bi Community News, “This account was removed in error. We have since reactivated @biartsfestival and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”


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