Remy Duran, a sexually fluid fashion designer who appeared in the latest season of MTV’s very queer reality dating show Are You the One?, recently had his Instagram account deleted for posting an image of him and his girlfriend licking an adult toy.
Duran was one of 16 sexually fluid people in the reality show who tried hard to find his “Perfect Match,” something that is apparently “pre-decided by producers after extensive interviews with psychologists, relationship experts and the cast members’ exes and then left for the cast to discover over the course of the show.”
The [Instagram] takedown came only a few hours after he’d announced that he and Paige Cole, another contestant from AYTO, were dating, despite not having been each other’s Perfect Matches on the MTV dating show. The couple broke the news to their respective Instagram followers with similar posts including a selfie showing the two licking either side of a d*ldo hanging on a wall behind them, which is still viewable on Twitter.
Cole told Vice:
“I see so many things on Instagram that are a lot more adult than a d*ck on the wall. You see car accidents where people probably died, you see photos of animal abuse on popular pages. There are real issues on Instagram, but they have a problem with sex workers. They have a problem with a titty popping out. They have a problem with a gay man and his gay girlfriend posing with a d*ck on the wall. We say ‘Homophobia!’ jokingly, but there’s no excuse for deleting his account and not mine for literally posting the same content.”
The publication explains that Duran had long used his Instagram account to help build his business and support himself and his mom. Its deactivation is especially hurtful now as the final episode of AYTO just aired, depriving Duran of gaining many new followers amid this last moment of TV fame.
Duran’s banning isn’t necessarily surprising. The Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform has a habit of deleting supposedly risqué homoerotic content, including tasteful pictures of nude athletes, an image of Queer Eye food guy Antoni Porowski in his underwear and even a lovely image of a lesbian couple cuddling in bed with their child.
His deletion is part of a trend of websites censoring photography that celebrates bodies and queer sexuality.
Tumblr committed a mass purge of all “adult content” in which it flagged tasteful images of shirtless men as inappropriate. The hook-up app Scruff recently announced its users can no longer post images of themselves in skimpy clothing. Craigslist closed its personals section last year and even Facebook has issued new guidelines forbidding users from discussing their sexual lives.
These incidents aren’t coincidence. They all follow the March 2018 passage of the so-calledStop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act and Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA/FOSTA) in the U.S. Senate, a bipartisan-approved bill which holds online companies liable for any user-posted content that could possibly be seen as facilitating sex work.