Instagram owner Facebook confirmed to the Associated Press on Wednesday that several images of the “Madres Paralelas” poster, which shows a lactating nipple, were taken off “for violating the rules against nudity”, published on Monday. “We make, however, exceptions that allow nudity in some circumstances, which cover clear artistic contexts. Thus, we restored the publications by sharing the poster of Pedro Almodóvar's film on Instagram and we regret any confusion caused”, said the company in a statement, meanwhile it was also shared by the poster's author, Javier Jaén, who accused the social network of censorship.
Facebook and Instagram rules, as well as previous bans, have led to the spread of the #FreeTheNipple ("Free the nipple" movement), used by artists and celebrities to portray nipples, despite the rules, which do not cover male nipples. On Twitter, Jaén thanked “all those who made it possible” for reversing the removal of the images, extending his gratitude also to director Pedro Almodóvar “for his courage, integrity and freedom”. “This is probably the first image I saw when I was born. A company like Instagram tells me that my work is dangerous, that people shouldn't see it, that it's pornographic. How many people are saying that your body is bad, that your body is dangerous?”, asked Jaén, speaking to the AP.
“It's our victory, a great victory. We have to be alert before the machines decide what we can and cannot do. I've always trusted the friendliness of strangers, but when they're human and an algorithm isn't. No matter how much information you have, you will never have a heart or common sense. A thousand thanks to everyone, again. May the film live up to your expectations”, can be read in the filmmaker's message.
The controversies caused by the action of social media algorithms on artistic images or portraying nudity are recurrent, having led, for example, to an eight-year legal dispute in France, which pitted a Facebook user against the social network for having seen his account closed due to sharing of the painting “The Origin of the World”, by Gustave Courbet, which portrays a woman's genitals. A court found the user in the right.
“Madres Paralelas” will be the opening film, in competition, of the 78th Venice International Film Festival, which takes place between 1 and 11 September in the Italian city. “I was born as a director in Venice in 1983 in the ‘Mezzogiorno Mezzanotte’ area. Thirty-eight years later I am invited to open the festival. I can't explain the joy and honor, and how much it means to me, without falling into complacency. I am very grateful to the festival for this recognition and I hope to live up to it”, said the director, quoted in the statement.
Pedro Almodóvar made his debut in Venice in 1983 with “Negros Hábitos”. In 2019, he was awarded the career Golden Lion and last year he returned to premiere the short film “A Voz Humana”, starring Tilda Swinton. “Madres Paralelas”, whose cast includes Penélope Cruz, Milena Smit, Israel Elejalde, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón and features two of Almodóvar's actresses, Julieta Serrano and Rossy De Palma, who tell the story of two women who share the same room in the hospital where they will give birth.