Facebook slammed after banning Jesus painting for 'indecent' nudity
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Facebook slammed after banning Jesus painting for 'indecent' nudity

FACEBOOK has been accused of "cultural censorship" after blocking several ads including a painting of a scantily clad Jesus Christ.

The social media giant removed a number of advertisements showing paintings by 16th century Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, including the offending work The Descent from the Cross, apparently for being too "indecent".

The Flemish Tourist Board has now written an open letter to Facebook protesting the social network's policy of taking down artistic images featuring semi and full nudity.

The letter, signed by Visit Flanders' chief executive Peter de Wildes, reads: "Indecent. This the word used to describe the breast, buttocks and cherubs of Peter Paul Rubens. Not by us, but by you.

"The bare breasts and buttocks painted by our artist are considered by you to be inappropriate.

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"We have noticed that Facebook consistently rejects works of art by our beloved Peter Paul Rubens.

"Even though we secretly have to laugh about it, your cultural censorship is making life rather difficult for us.

"After all, we want to use your platform to promote both our Flemish masters as well as Flanders - because art lovers use Facebook too.

"If Peter Paul Rubens had created a Facebook account in his lifetime, he would have had an extraordinary number of people following his fan page."

Poking fun at Facebook's "social media police agents", the tourist board also posted a satirical video on YouTube showing tourists at Rubens House, in Antwerp, being ushered away from paintings featuring nudity.

In the video, fake inspectors remove those who admit to having a profile on the social network, explaining that they have to be protected "against nudity even if artistic in nature, including paintings that feature individual body parts such as abs, buttocks or cleavage."

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Facebook does allow images of nude paintings to be shared by its users but has tougher rules for adverts - which must not contain nudity, or implied nudity, even if artistic in nature.