NAME: Cecily Furlong
PLATFORM & USERNAME: Instagram @realartdaddy
CENSORSHIP: Account Removal
What reason was given for your ban?
Why do you think your post(s) was censored?
I’ve had a few experiences with deleted profiles on Instagram and a few TikTok bans. I started my first Instagram in 2010 ss I grew more familiar with the idea of marketing through Instagram I began to transition from a personal account to a professional art account. With some very unexpected shares on large accounts and with time, my account began to grow. I was able to quit my “day job” and have my art be my full-time work.
Over the years my following steadily grew and I ended up at the peak of my following tipping around 60k. It meant so much to me because I was able to easily provide a full-time income to my household based solely on my art. What a dream! As a very passionate advocate for human rights, I was extremely outspoken during the Trump administration years. I channelled my fear, my rage, and my desperation into fundraising and support for those who needed it. Over my time with my larger following I happily raised over ten thousand dollars for planned parenthood. I advocated for donations toward any cause I felt needed extra attention.
My work leans heavily toward eroticism and breaking the barriers of the prescribed female sexuality confines of western society. I know that it pushes boundaries and I know I took a risk with each post. But I believe so strongly in the equality of sexes and the dissolving of gender roles, that I felt my message needed to be seen and heard. I pushed on and fought hard for the abolition of censorship: especially among the queer/femme artist community.
One day I opened my Instagram, and 11 years of work, 11 years of fighting, 11 years of spotlighting those who needed a light shed on them; was gone.
I’d been disabled with no warning.
I took every step to get my account back, and a few days later I succeeded briefly. They reinstated my account, but I didn’t have that victory for long, they disabled it permanently, without warning, very soon after.
I’d luckily already started a backup and I was confident that I’d recover. I pushed hard to regain as many followers as I could, and within a few months, I had 11k. I felt comfortable, a bit safe even. I was cautious and posted censored/edited artwork. I tread lightly. But..I didn’t stop my fight for equality.
I openly spoke out in regards to hate crimes happening frequently. I continued to raise money for organizations that protect reproductive rights. I thoroughly involved my personal beliefs and passions in my business, and then it happened a second time: A disabled account. No warning. No option to appeal.
I went from making a full-time job salary a year on my art, to not being able to pay my electric bill. Now on my third account, I’m holding it at arm’s length. My inspiration to create is almost gone if I’m honest.
I felt so proud to be so successful in my career for so many years; and then in a blink of an eye, one censorship robot bankrupts me.
How horrible and dehumanizing to see domestic terrorism, bigotry and hate posted freely with no repercussions. But I’m banned, bankrupted and demonized for what? Linework illustrations of breasts?
Were you able to appeal and what was the response?
What effect has your experience of censorship had on you?
I am forever finished doing art full time. My depression has been triggered so intensely from all of this that I barely paint or create at all anymore. I work a few different jobs now to try to make up for the fact that I’m now a failed artist. The impact is indescribable and devastating.
What’s one thing you want people to know about this topic?
There is no equality for women on social media. We will forever be marginalized and minimized.