Chelsea Handler has no problem with being naked for a punchline (see: the last episode of her talk show) — but Instagram has other ideas.
On Thursday night, the former E! comedian posted the famous “shirtless Vladimir Putin on a horse” photo — and next to it, added a picture of herself striking a similar post on a horse. Similarly shirtless. “Anything a man can do, a woman has the right to do better. #kremlin,” she wrote as the caption.
Obviously, it was taken down immediately by Instagram, saying it was violation of the site’s “community guidelines” about nude pictures. Handler wasn’t happy. “Taking this down is sexist. I have every right to show I have a better body than Putin,” she wrote, posting the photo again.
She gave up when the site deleted the picture for a third time, but not before she added some more of her thoughts: “If a man posts a photo of his nipples, it’s ok, but not a woman? Are we in 1825?” she said. “If instagram takes this down again, you’re saying Vladimir Putin Has more 1st amendment rights than me.”
Finally, she Instagrammed a photo of her dogs, writing: “You can now find my dogs and my breasts on Twitter only where my followers have the right to choose what they say. Bye bye instablock.” Indeed, the picture now lives on Twitter.
Handler is far from the first celebrity to have issues with Instagram’s “no topless women” policy (while, say, pictures of shirtless John Stamos live in all their glory.) The site also deleted photos of a risque Rihanna magazine cover and Kendall Jenner’s sheer top on the runway.
Bruce Willis and Demi Moore’s daughter, Scout Willis, started a #FreetheNipple campaign specifically to protest Instagram’s policies, and to show she really meant it, tweeted photos of herself walking topless around New York City. “Legal in NYC but not on @instagram,” she tweeted.
“It’s so much bigger than @instagram now,” Willis wrote. “This is about helping women feel empowered to make personal choices about their bodies not dictated by what society says is decent.” (“Free the Nipple” really took off among the celebrity set, with supporters including Cara Delevigne and Michelle Rodriguez.)
However, it appears the site will allow some nudity if it doesn’t show anything Instagram deems too racy: Earlier this week, Lena Dunham posted a topless photo of herself as a way to support Planned Parenthood — strategically blurred, of course.