Chelsea Handler got into a war of words with the popular photo sharing platform Instagram on Thursday night, saying that the app’s policies about user content are sexist.
The feud began when Handler posted a photo of herself mocking an iconic photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting shirtless atop a horse. In Handler’s version, the comic staged a shot just like Putin’s, featuring her own image, sitting on a horse, shirtless, with the caption “Anything a man can do, a woman has the right to do better. #kremlin.”
The photo – in which Handler’s nipples were exposed – remained on Instagram for about 30 minutes before administrators removed it, sending Handler a message saying her post was pulled from the app for violating the social media platform’s community guidelines.
Handler responded by posting the photo twice more, and both times Instagram responded by swiftly removing the photo. In the captions, Handler wrote, “If a man posts a photo of his nipples, it’s ok, but not a woman? Are we in 1825?” And then later “If Instagram takes this down again, you’re saying Vladimir Putin has more 1st amendment rights than I do.”
After Instagram removed her photo for the third time, the former “Chelsea Lately” host posted a photo of her dogs and announced her plan to quit Instagram: “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.”
Handler then re-posted the photo on her Twitter account and said “Taking this down is sexist. I have every right to show I have a better body than Putin.”
Handler is not the first female celebrity to protest Instagram’s content policy. Singer Rihanna quit the social media platform briefly in May after the app’s administrators temporarily disabled her account after she posted an image of her posing topless for a magazine cover. And Scout Willis, daughter of actors Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, protested Instagram’s policies by posting two images of herself on Twitter walking topless in New York City with the hashtag #FreeTheNipple. On one of the photos, she wrote, “What Instagram won’t let you see. #FreeTheNipple”.