Updated | The Instagram account of the Warwick Rowers has been restored after being deleted without warning.
In a statement to PinkNews, an Instagram spokesperson said: “This account was removed in error. We have since reactivated @Warwick_rowers and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Original story below
On Monday, the infamous rowing club best known for their annual fundraising calendar, announced that their Instagram account had been deactivated.
Proceeds from the iconic calendar benefit the Rowers’ outreach program, Sport Allies, which works to eliminate homophobia in sports through education and support of young LGBT athletes.
The team, who were the PinkNews Community Group of the year in 2014, tweeted on June 18 that the Instagram account had been suspended without warning, following a series of posts being deleted by the platform.
They wrote: “As you may have noticed, our Instagram account has been permanently deactivated without any reason communicated to us.
“We’re hoping this is a mistake and are waiting for them to allow us back on the platform to keep spreading our message.”
The Warwick Rowers have appealed the suspension multiple times to Instagram.
Prior to the suspension of the account, the team had over 180,000 followers on the photo-sharing site.
Instagram’s content guidelines state that they will remove images of “sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks.”
However, many of the Warwick Rowers’ posts that kept to these guidelines had been deleted by the platform, including all of the images used in this article.
Although the photos are carefully monitored to keep to these social media guidelines, the posts do feature body hair, including occasional glimpses of pubic hair.
Project founder Angus Malcolm said: “We have a policy of requiring models to have fairly natural pubic hair on the grounds that shaved crotches reflect an unrealistic and hyper-sexualised aesthetic that promotes unhealthy relationships with our natural bodies.
“But whatever your position on this, the clue is in the name. Pubic hair is not part of the genitals. It’s hair.”
In April, the team’s social media coordinator Lucas Etienne noticed that the team’s posts were routinely being deleted from Instagram, sometimes within minutes of them being uploaded.
As part of the Warwick Rowers’ post on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT), Etienne posted previously uploaded photos with a message to Instagram asking the platform to rethink how it monitored male nudity.
Etienne wrote in the May 17 post: “Today we call on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to address the inherent bias in their systems that promotes the gratuitous sexual objectification of women while pandering to a homophobic rejection of the male body.”
Etienne later noted that the images in the IDAHOBIT post were ones that had been previously published without issue.
“They were all images from our print calendars, so had been reviewed for conformity with our own strict rules on implied nudity, as well as social media standards,” he said.
These images were later deleted before the Instagram account was officially suspended on May 26.
In 2016, the YouTube channel of the Warwick Rowers was temporarily suspended, which according to a statement from the team was because they were seen as “pornographers.”