Facebook Removes Gay Kiss Photo, Ironically an Advertisement for a Cultural Project Against Homophobia


An image of two men kissing by well-known Spanish photographer Juan Hidalgo, utilized by Madrid-based Visible Culture group for its 'Gay Art Looks For A Home' initiative and documentary, was removed by Facebook for breaching a decency code barring images of a "political, sexual or other sensitive" nature. The project has put in its place a "censored" version of the image, above.

Facebook is investigating why the photo was removed.

"The documentary, shot in Madrid, brings together a thousand works of gay and lesbian donated by over four hundred artists from thirty countries," according to El Pais.

Said the director of the program Pablo Peinado: "The documentary aims to build a dialogue about rights and the fight against homophobia through the culture and identity of the gay community. However, the ultimate goal of this documentary is to find a place to exhibit the work and build a museum of gay culture."

UPDATE: A Facebook spokesman contacted Towleroad and said that the photo has been put back.

"Upon investigation, we concluded the advertisement does not violate our guidelines and was removed in error. The ad is now running and we apologize for the inconvenience."


  1. Pete n SFO says

    There seems to be a parallel between this action and the “R” rating of the “Bully” movie.

    People that feel out of control, will do whatever they can to try and achieve it… no matter that it has nothing to do with them at all.

    Homosexuals are bad & must be stopped. That’s about as far as it goes for those people; a deep belief that their “better-ness” comes simply from being straight.

  2. Marty says

    There was the same pose of Obama kissing the British Prime Minister a few months ago and it was viral. F.B did not pull it! They are very biased and should be sued over it. There are boob’s and nipple shoots over over facebook and they don’t pull those!

  3. LuckyLinden says

    I suspect Facebook has the same problem YouTube does. When a complaint comes in, it goes to any one of dozens (if not hundreds) of reviewers, who make a call based on general guidelines and hit a button with a verdict. 90% of the time it works fine…you see porn, excessive violence, hate speech, you nix it and onto the next…but there’s this other 10% where the needed discretion they are allowed (art vs. porn, non-explicit sexuality, etc.) gets used to censor a picture of gay men holding hands or chastely kissing or an important image of genocide or war. It all comes down to whether the reviewer has a bias. So while YouTube viewers are right to point out that two men dancing in their underwear got bounced while two girls in bikinis kissing got okayed, it is almost never the same reviewer who made the inconsistent calls, and its certainly not one of the company founder’s faults. You take away all discretion, a lot of good stuff will get lost and it will probably end up being an overly restrictive policy, but you leave it in, some questionable and even offensive things will happen on occasion.

    They are now doing the right thing…reviewing what/why it happened and will probably reverse the decision and deal with the reviewer who brought a personal agenda to work. My ideal solution would be to use this to retrain the dozens or hundreds of reviewers as to what they aren’t allowed to block even if they personally find it offensive. But it will always happen…as long as these places review and reverse the decisions promptly, I can’t be upset with the company as much as I am with the bigot who complained and the bigot who agreed.

  4. says

    Meh. Facebook may have some form of auto-remove functionality: that is anything that is flagged more than a certain number of times is automatically removed by the system.

  5. Francis says

    Um, facebook is investigating why the photo was removed. Meaning most likely BIGOTS, especially one would think potentially bigots apart of an anti-gay rights organization perhaps, flagged the photo and it was flagged often/severely enough to be removed. If FB wasn’t investigating, I’d be upset, but here in this situation, as in several similar situations, FB will likely uncensor/un-ban the photo. Facebook aren’t to blame here, homophobes are.

  6. Randy says

    RJS: “Meh. Facebook may have some form of auto-remove functionality”

    That’s more than a “meh”. While Facebook is not a government, it does have some responsibility (social, if not legal) not to arbitrarily or automatically censor content. They can’t blame bigots for utilizing a censor system Facebook has provided them.

    The Facebook page and photo (with “censored” label) are currently visible, at least from my location.

  7. Real Talk says

    UFFDA, of course you’d say that…after all you ARE the resident homophobe here. I bet you wouldnt take issue with a straight couple kissing. You’re an old war horse who contributes nothing here except for your sick obsession with Kiwi and constantly bashing him (because it’s obvious to us all ur in love with him)

  8. jim says

    Facebook pulled the shot. Facebook investigated why Facebook pulled the shot. Facebook reinstated the shot that Facebook pulled. All in all, how silly and embarrassing for Facebook.

  9. uffda says

    REAL TALK – that’s exactly what I’d say about a straight couple if they were really ugly and stage directed to kiss in the same clumsey, ostentatious manner. You’re just another hysterical gay guy clone swept senselessly away by any form of gay behavior, however absurd, crude, staged or photo-shopped. No critical faculties at all…proven by your calling me a homophobe. Hey, I just don’t want to be in your predictable club .

    As for KIWI, his manner is so awful that a lot of us are either entertained or sickened by him. He’s fun to bash because it’s so easy to do and because he’s so invulnerable. Of course he’s way smart and of course I’m in love with him – just like you and everyone else. Since he can’t be hurt or be intimidated, and since I’ll never meet him, it’s huge fun to give him what he gives so many others.

    Wow, we better all watch out for your perceptive skills.

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