Instagram mistakenly removes a photograph of two men kissing

Instagram has reinstated a photograph of two men kissing after it was mistakenly removed for violating community guidelines.

The photograph, taken by U.K.-based photographer Stella Asia Consonni for a project in I-D Magazine and uploaded to the site on June 30, depicted Jordan Bowen and Luca Lucifer in the midst of kissing.

The post, which may have been removed due to some type of human error, according to a source close to Instagram's thinking, was reinstated after several celebrities and LGBT advocates, including Jade Thirlwall and Olly Alexander, expressed outrage.

“This post was removed by mistake,” a spokesperson for Instagram told Fox News.

The image is part of a series exploring modern relationships that Consonni plans to exhibit later this year.

Consonni told Fox News that Instagram only said it was removed “in error” and that she initially thought it had been flagged by users—but later learned by her own research that the number of times content is flagged does not determine whether it’s removed.

“I am receiving many lovely comments,” Consonni told Fox News. “But also countless hateful ones, saying things like ‘death to gays’ and ‘kill yourself.’”

Screenshots shared with Fox News confirm the range of responses on her page.

Bowen, who has been in a relationship with his boyfriend for seven years and owns London-based fashion brand Jordanluca with him, also responded to the photo being deleted.

“Instagram spoon feeds us with rainbows and hashtags to appear in solidarity,” Bowen posted, adding that “real people in love have no place” on the popular social platform.

"Instagram spoon feeds us with rainbows and hashtags to appear in solidarity."

— Jordan Bowen, on Instagram's removal of a photo of depicting him kissing his boyfriend

Instagram told the BBC the photo is among the “millions of reports a week” they receive from offended users and that it should not have been removed.

“What happened to my picture is not even the tip of the iceberg,” Consonni said. “I constantly hear of people being shouted names in the street and cyber bullied—it’s deeply saddening.”


This isn’t the first time that social networks have been accused of censoring LGBT content.

Last fall, LGBT groups accused Twitter of censoring search terms like “gay” and “bisexual” on their platform. When users tried to find content by searching those terms, they received messages saying "no results." The social platform blamed a technical error.

Earlier this year, Instagram was accused of censoring the content of lesbian artist Zoe Leonard, who authored the infamous 1992 text that begins with “I want a dyke for president…I want someone with no health insurance…I want a president that had an abortion at 16…”

An account that shares artifacts of LGBT history told Into that their post sharing the text, which became more widely known outside of activist circles in 2016, was flagged and removed.

“This isn’t about us,” Matthew and Leighton told the outlet. “It’s about the history and queer people’s access to their past. It’s absolute bulls--t that this is getting flagged. We totally understand why filters may catch ‘f-g’ or ‘dyke,’ and we appreciate that such filters are in place; at some point, though, we need human eyes to differentiate between usages.”