Instagram apologizes for Almodóvar film’s poster censorship

MADRID (AP) — Instagram has apologized for removing the official poster for Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar’s new film from the social network because it showed a female nipple, after the poster’s designer complained of censorship.

Instagram’s parent company Facebook told The Associated Press on Wednesday that several images of the poster for “Madres Paralelas,” which shows a lactating nipple, were removed “for breaking our rules against nudity” after they were uploaded on Monday.

“We do, however, make exceptions to allow nudity in certain circumstances, which includes when there’s clear artistic context. We’ve therefore restored posts sharing the Almodóvar movie poster to Instagram, and we’re really sorry for any confusion caused,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Facebook and Instagram’s longstanding rules — and previous bans — have spurred the use of the #FreetheNipple movement and hashtag on Instagram, which is used by many artists and celebrities to portray nipples despite the rules. The ban does not extend to male nipples.

The poster’s Spanish designer Javier Jaén told AP that he had questioned whether the poster would have trouble on social networks but stayed true to his vision after receiving the personal backing of Almodóvar. “He told me that he had made films with posters his whole life, long before Instagram, and he would keep doing so after Instagram, too,” Jaén said.

“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 added, noting he had received overwhelming support and thousands of people had reposted his poster on Instagram.

“They say their technology can’t differentiate the context. I don’t care. Change your technology then,” the designer said.

Jaén had written in a post that the poster had been removed from his Instagram page on Tuesday: “As expected, @instagram took down the poster that we made for the latest Almodóvar film #madresparalelas.” After reposting the image, he said, it was allowed to stay.

A request for comment from Almodóvar’s production company went unanswered.

“Madres Paralelas,” starring Penélope Cruz, will open the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 1.