Tommy Lee has inadvertently started a debate about Instagram ‘s censorship rules after he posted a picture of his penis on his account—which remained on the site for more than four hours.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, Mötley Crüe drummer Lee posted a full body shot of himself which included his genitals, and the rocker quickly became a trending topic across social media. While many expressed shock at the picture, others were quick to point out that female bodies are often removed by Instagram, with many sharing their own experiences of censorship.
At the time of writing, Lee’s Instagram post was still live, alongside the caption “Ooooopppsss.” Lee also posted two other pictures around the same time that alluded to phallic themes. Thousands of people, including Lee’s wife Brittany Furlan, commented on the image.
“OH MY GOD,” Lee’s wife wrote, while internet celebrity Daniel Mac joked: “How long will this stay up.”
While the image itself became a talking point, Lee’s post raised further questions about what breaks Instagram’s community guidelines. On the topic of nudity posted to their social media platform, Instagram states:
“We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos in the context of breastfeeding, birth giving and after-birth moments, health-related situations (for example, post-mastectomy, breast cancer awareness or gender confirmation surgery) or an act of protest are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK too.”
While Lee’s photo seems to break Instagram’s rules and was eventually taken down, the fact that it was still live four hours after it was posted was discussed by many online.
“So Tommy Lee can post a picture of his penis on @instagram that’s still up three hours later but a picture of my curvy booty in a thong bikini gets taken down? Cool, cool,” wrote journalist Lola Méndez on Twitter .
Many other Twitter users, including @s0ggym0theggs, shared similar experiences. “i post a pic with underboob and it gets taken down by Instagram in 30 seconds yet tommy lee’s whole ass cock stays on for over 2 hours??” they wrote.
Reporter Lavender Baj suggested she’s on her final strike on Instagram for even joking about nudity, whilst complaining that Lee can “freely post his schlong.”
“I’ve had photos removed for being inappropriate where everything is covered but Tommy Lee’s d*** has been on the platform, uncensored, for several hours now…” wrote @zerofox_.
This isn’t the first time people have taken issue with Instagram’s rules. Madonna took issue with the platform in November 2021 after pictures of her in lingerie were taken down because, in her words, “a small portion of my nipple was exposed.”
Madonna continued: “It is still astounding to me that we live in a culture that allows every inch of a woman’s body to be shown except a nipple. As if that is the only part of a woman’s anatomy that could be sexualized.”
The singer reposted the same images with a small love heart emoji covering her exposed nipple. In the caption she said, “Giving thanks that I have managed to maintain my sanity through four decades of censorship, sexism, ageism and misogyny.”
Lee’s nude Instagram picture was posted at around the same time as he started to promote his new music.
“I can’t believe no other musician has thought to post their entire dick on their main before. The algorithm loved it. Tommy Lee is a genius,” Australian photographer Michelle Grace Hunder wrote on Twitter. She added that Lee’s move was “iconic.”
The 59-year-old was recently the subject of the Hulu TV show Pam and Tommy, which also involved nudity . It featured an infamous scene of actor Sebastian Stan, portraying Tommy, speaking to his own male anatomy.
Newsweek has reached out to Instagram for further comment on Lee’s picture, which was removed from the site after more than four hours.
Update 08/11/2022 at 8:30 a.m. ET: This article was updated to say that the image has now been removed from Instagram.
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