Instagram Apologizes After Banning Pedro Almodóvar Movie Poster Over Nipple Artwork


Instagram apologized for pulling the movie poster for director Pedro Almodóvar’s new film Madres Paralelas after the artwork — which showed a closeup of a lactating nipple — triggered a takedown for violating the social network’s no-nudity guidelines.

Madres Paralelas — or Parallel Mothers, its title in the U.S. when its released this December — is set to premiere September 1st at the Venice International Film Festival. Ahead of its debut, the movie poster was uploaded on Instagram Monday by artist Javier Jaén, who created the image of the nipple positioned to look like a tearing eye.

However, soon after its initial post Monday, Instagram pulled down the image due to its overreaching ban on nudity, an oft-criticized stance that has been a catalyst for the grassroots movement dubbed #FreeTheNipple; after the movie poster was struck down by Instagram, “thousands” of people reposted the image on Instagram, Jaén said.

Following social media complaints and accusations of censorship against Instagram, the social network’s parent company Facebook apologized to Almodóvar and Jaén, noting that while the movie poster “broke our rules against nudity,” “We do, however, make exceptions to allow nudity in certain circumstances, which includes when there’s clear artistic context,” Instagram said in a statement shared by Jaén.

Instagram later restored posts that shared the movie poster, and added, “We’re really sorry for any confusion caused.”

Speaking to the Association Press amid the Instagram ban, Jaén said of the movie poster, “This is probably the first image I saw when I was born. A company like Instagram tells me my work is dangerous, that people shouldn’t see it, that it’s pornographic. How many people are they telling that their body is bad, that their body is dangerous?”

Jaén also speculated that Instagram employs AI technology to take down posts with nudity, with the AI unable to determine the intent of an image. “They say their technology can’t differentiate the context. I don’t care. Change your technology then,” Jaén said.