Following her topless protest of Instagram's nudity policy, Scout Willis has given an interview to the Village Voice explaining why she let her nipples roam free on Twitter and on the streets of Manhattan.
The interview is far more articulate than Willis's stream of tweets about the issue, which she seems to understand – she tweeted a link to the story Friday morning, adding "Thank you for clearing up my message."
Willis told the Voice that when her Instagram account was first flagged for shots of her in sheer tops, she found it particularly frustrating because she's had a breast reduction and it's taken her time to feel confident about her body:
"It was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had. It completely changed my relationship to my body," she says. "I felt so empowered and love my breasts so much. I don't feel like wearing a bra."
On Wednesday evening, Willis tweeted screenshots of the emails she received from Instagram after she contacted them/her toplessness got mainstream attention. Like her tweets, their message is substantial:
Thank you so much for reaching out to us regarding the deactivation of your account.
After reviewing your account, we found that it was disabled for containing nude images. As a bit of background, our team reviews content after it is reported to us by our community. When something is reported, we analyze the report closely to see if what has been reported really does violate our policies. If it does, we'll send a 'warning' email to the account owner each time the content is removed.
We've developed policies and procedures designed to address patterns of behavior; our goal is not to unnecessarily remove content or accounts, but instead to educate users about what is acceptable to help prevent further instances of abuse. Of course, when our policies continued to be violated after multiple warnings, we do deactivate accounts.
We love that people use Instagram to express themselves artistically and to capture important moments of their lives, and we're glad to hear that you are as well. Please note however that we prohibit all forms of nudity on Instagram because some audiences within our global community are particularly sensitive to this type of content.
I know that in certain situations, these policies may seem overly strict. However in order to treat people fairly and respond to reports quickly, it is particularly important that we have policies in place that our global teams can apply uniformly and easily when reviewing content. As a result, our policies can sometimes be more blunt than we would like. We are constantly re-evaluating how to balance allowing people to express themselves creatively with the needs of our diverse, global community.
We are happy to reactivate your account without the images that don't meet our policies. Instagram is made up of community members like you – and we want to ensure that we are providing the best experience that we can.
Thank you again for reaching out, and we hope this helps. We really appreciate your position on this matter!
All the best,
The Instagram Policy Team
Unhappy with that response, Willis has deleted her account entirely, telling the Voice that she's "out here for women being empowered to make their own choices":
"Instagram is a reflection of a larger issue. It's the springboard. But it's not at all the point." On the site, though, she feels the issue is twofold — the people reporting images of breasts, and Instagram's willingness to take them down. "Maybe Instagram needs to hire some people to actually look at the content critically," she says.
Images via Scout Willis/Twitter