Instagram has issued an apology after censoring a poster for Pedro Almodóvar’s new film, Parallel Mothers (Madres Paralelas). The artwork was removed from the social network for depicting a lactating nipple, but has since been restored due to its “clear artistic context”.
Parallel Mothers is the latest work in a lifelong collaboration between Penelope Cruz and Almódovar, following the lives of two women who cross paths in hospital as they prepare to give birth. It will open at the Venice Film Festival on September 1.
Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, said that several images of the film’s poster were removed “for breaking our rules against nudity” after they were posted to the platform 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 statement added.
Javier Jaen, who designed the promotional image – made to resemble an eyeball shedding a teardrop – said Instagram “should be ashamed” for its “censorship”. He also offered “a million thanks” to those who circulated the poster on social media in defiance of its ban, and thanked Almodóvar and his production company El Deseo for their “courage, integrity, and freedom”.
After expressing doubts about the suitability of the poster for social networks, Jaen said he was reassured by the Spanish auteur. “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.”
This is not the first time Instagram’s stance on nudity has drawn criticism. Last year the platform updated its policy after being accused of discriminating against plus-size model Nyome Nicholas-Williams for allegedly infringing on it’s semi-nudity guidelines.
The “breast squeezing” in her images was at first deemed to be too closely associated with pornography, but following a campaign against the social media network involving a petition with 17,000 signatures, the policy was “refined”.