Before you look at the photo below, know that you’re viewing an image deleted from more than 4,000 facebook profile pages for being offensive. And that if you share it on the social media site, you might be blocked for violating their nudity rules. You’ve been warned…
The photo, taken by esteemed Los Angeles photographer Michael Stokes, is of Alex Minsky, a 24-year-old former marine who lost his lower right leg in Afghanistan after his truck drove over a Homemade Explosive. Minsky doesn’t remember the incident—he spent 58 days in a coma, then was in active duty while in a San Diego hospital for 17 months before being honorably discharged.
“There are about four months of my life I don’t remember,” Minsky told me on the phone from Los Angeles, where he now lives, where he sobered up, and where he’s entered a new life as a photographer’s favorite subject. “I go to the gym twice a day, I’m very healthy. The first photographer approached me as I was leaving the place. At first I thought it was just another gay guy hitting on me.”
Turns out the guy was legit, and one photographer led to another. Eventually, Minsky met Stokes.
After the photo appeared in Adon magazine, Stokes posted the image on his facebook wall. He received a notice that his photo violated facebook’s “nudity rules” and that it was offensive content. Not only was the image removed, but Stokes was banned from the site for three days. Stokes took to Tweeting, and a guy named Frank L. Jones reposted the image on his facebook wall to protest what he viewed as discrimination. Within a matter of days, over 4,000 people reposted the image in solidarity, and had no problems. Until today. On the 24th of February, facebook removed the image from Jones’ page. That action caused the thousands of other shares to be removed as well.
“Facebook doesn’t have nudity rules,” says Stokes. “Nowhere have I been able to find them. They just say they have them. The ‘confidential’ manual they use as their guide is marked ‘Proprietary and Confidential.’” When the photo resurfaced, no apologies were issued to any party. (For the record, Minsky is not naked in the image; he’s holding an athletic cup.)
Stokes is back on facebook, and Minsky is baffled by the whole deal. “I wasn’t trying to make a big statement,” he says. “I’m just a working model. It’s an un-offensive picture.”
But it’s an offensive affront to art, to photography, and to a man who fought for his country. Feel free to share.
The original link is below.