In November, Chelsea Handler took it upon herself to recreate this viral photo of Russian president Vladimir Putin riding a horse without his shirt.
Just 30 minutes after Handler posted the photo, Instagram removed it, saying she had violated the app’s terms of service.
Handler doesn’t like being told what she can and cannot do.
She responded by posting the photo twice more, and both times Instagram responded by swiftly removing the photo.
In the captions, Handler wrote, “If a man posts a photo of his nipples, it’s ok, but not a woman? Are we in 1825?” And then later, “If Instagram takes this down again, you’re saying Vladimir Putin has more 1st amendment rights than I do.”
During the Code Media conference on Wednesday, Handler explained her back-and-forth fight with Instagram.
“I wasn’t trying to look fantastic, that’s just a by-product,” she joked. “I’m also not trying to sexualize myself. I was in Chile, and my cousin and I were riding a horse, and I said, ‘Let’s make fun of that Putin photo where he’s topless!’ So my cousin put [the photos] side by side with an app, because I’m a Luddite when it comes to tech, and then she said, ‘Oh my God, your picture was removed.'”
“Why?” Handler said. “He’s topless. Is it because I have nipples? Is it because they’re bigger? Because there’s meat around them? … So I thought, that’s such a silly thing to do. And not long after, Kim Kardashian showed her whole naked body and her whole arse and — she’s a mother! I’m not a mother.”
Instagram let the Kardashian comparison photo stay. It has nearly 240,000 likes.
But Handler takes pleasure in testing Instagram’s limits.
“I’m sure there were discussions within the walls of Instagram, which also gives me a thrill, that they had to sit there and talk about my arse,” she told Re/code’s Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka during the conference.
And while she may clash with Instagram, Handler is a huge fan of Twitter.
“Twitter’s my new best friend, because I went from Twitter to Instagram, and Twitter seemed a little bit older, and then I went back to Twitter because they don’t have a problem with nudity.”
But Handler is actually a fan of tech startups in general.
“What I love about Silicon Valley is the energy. You walk into these offices and everybody’s working on something,” she said.
“Well,” she added, “they do seem to play ping-pong a lot.”
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