Instagram apologises for taking down gay kiss photo

Instagram has apologised after a photo featuring two men kissing was removed from the app for “violating community guidelines.”

Years & Years singer Olly Alexander and Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall spoke out in support of photographer Stella Asia Consonni after her picture was deleted.

Olly Alexander in the video for “Sanctify” (Years & Years/YouTube)

The controversy erupted as another popular social platform, YouTube, deals with ongoing criticism from viewers for reportedly attaching anti-gay adverts to videos by LGBT creators.

Consonni’s photo, which shows long-term gay couple Jordan Bowen and Luca Lucifer, was published in a piece in I-D magazine called “is pizza is the only thing better than love? [sic]”

It was taken down on Saturday, prompting Bowen to write on his Instagram account: “My relationship of seven years with @iamlucalucifer reduced to a Community Guideline.

“Earlier this was removed from @stellaasiaconsonni and flagged as inappropriate. @instagram spoon feeds us with rainbows and hashtags to appear in solidarity but it seems real people in love have no place here.

“This is discriminatory and archaic and violates our right as a couple.”

The image was only put back on Consonni’s account on Sunday after a widespread backlash.

In his Instagram story, gay singer Alexander wrote that he had “just been informed @instagram removed the following image for being “offensive and against guidelines”…Let’s take a look!”

Alexander was one of many to speak out against the photo’s removal (ollyyears/instagram)

After showing his followers the photo, he wrote: “ummmmm!!??? Not offensive .”

Thirwall, who celebrated her 25th birthday with a drag-themed party, wrote: “How is this image ‘offensive and against guidelines’ .

“Would this be the same for a heterosexual couple kissing?” she asked, before attaching multi-coloured hearts and a rainbow emoji to her story.

Thirlwall asked a crucial question (jadethirlwall/instagram)

In a statement, an Instagram spokesperson said: “This post was removed in error and we are sorry. It has since been reinstated,” according to the BBC.

In response, Consonni used her Instagram story to say: “Thank you for the amazing support that came from so many of you.

“This is just a very teeny tiny event in the grand scheme of things but seeing all the amazing response certainly restored a little of my faith in humanity.

Consonni lives in London, as does the couple in her photo (stellaasiaconsonni/instagram)

Addressing Bowen and Lucifer, she told them that “you are two beautiful creatures.”

The photographer continued: “Instagram briefly apologised. But there is still a long way to go in the fight against homophobia.

“This goes to all my beautiful friends that have to deal with this BS all the time. Keep fighting.”

“There is still a long way to go in the fight against homophobia” (stellaasiaconsonni/instagram)

Last year, YouTube apologised for “incorrectly labelling” videos after it emerged that many LGBT videos had been hidden from some viewers under Restricted Mode, a revelation which prompted outrage.

The social media site also admitted earlier this year that it has a neo-Nazi problem.