Oh, Instagram, you've done it this time — or not done it, as the case may be. On Tuesday, sex columnist and LGBT activist Dan Savage took to Twitter to call on Instagram to take down photographs and videos uploaded from Russia by a homophobic, neo-Nazi alliance named Occupy Pedophilia. The group routinely kidnaps and tortures gay Russians — 1,500 of them in total, according to the alliance — and the Russian police force has largely turned a blind eye to their activities.
On Twitter, Savage posted links to several Instagram accounts, photographs, and tapes that showed gay men being tortured by Occupy Pedophilia. The disturbing content had been publicly uploaded to Instagram months ago by the alliance, and the photo-sharing platform hasn't removed any of it. Even though Instagram bans nudity — a fact pointed out by Savage when he recalls that Instagram took down one of his photos that showed partially nude people on a beach — they apparently haven't sought to enforce that ban when it comes to nudity in homophobic torture.
Earlier on Tuesday, the website AMERICAblog posted a horrifying selection of photos and videos uploaded by Occupy Pedophilia, which remain on a range of social-networking sites: Facebook, Vine, Instagram — you name it. The videos and photographs showed the group's members torturing half-naked Russian men, and joking about what gay Russians they'd "catch" today. Their faces and identifiable features are in full view, which goes to show exactly how much Russia is overlooking the actions of Occupy Pedophilia. Many members pictured wear swastika memorabilia, and appear to imitate Adolf Hitler.
Savage apparently saw the AMERICAblog article Tuesday, and went on to do his own sleuthing on Instagram. Facebook, Vine, and Instagram, along with Russian social network VK.com, apparently hadn't seen fit to remove the content, or just hadn't seen it at all.
And from AMERICAblog:
Savage Tweeted more than a dozen times about the issue Tuesday afternoon.
Occupy Pedophilia has 30 branches across Russia, and has been around for 18 months — about as long as Russia's anti-gay law, signed in by Vladimir Putin last summer, has been in effect. The group's leader, Maxim Martsinkevich, was finally arrested after CNN examined the group's claims that they'd kidnapped and abused 1,500 gay Russians. But Occupy Pedophilia has continued operations anyway.
Occupy Pedophilia, as you might guess from the name, draws a parallel between being gay and being a pedophile — a comparison that has nil logical or scientific basis, but has often been mentioned by Putin and other Russian authorities when trying to justify the notoriously discriminatory law. A recent Russian documentary, reviewed by Gawker but not shown in America, shed some light on the treatment of the LGBT community in Russia.
Said one man, who had lost an eye during a homophobic attack, according to Gawker:
First they shut us up with their laws so we cannot say anything in our defense, and then they say we are similar to murderers and perverts. If it's constantly drilled into people that we are murders, scum and perverts, I understand why these guys shot at me. If you repeat something all the time, sooner or later there will be a click, and they will pick up a gun and go and shoot.
It's worth mentioning that the content is in flagrant violation of Instagram's Terms of Service, part of which reads as follows: "You may not post violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos or other content via the Service."
It's your move, Instagram — not to mention Russia, whose intentional ignorance towards Occupy Pedophilia's activities is nothing short of utterly shameful.
You can see the rest of the photos and videos AMERICAblog flagged here, but be warned: content is extremely graphic and disturbing.