Camerata “nude” advert ban

Sep 29 2017 | By More

Louvre statue too rude for Facebook

An advert from Opera Camerata featuring an 18th century statue from the Louvre has been banned by Facebook for nudity, although the company has been using the same image on its pages for several months.

The image, a photo of a garden ornament based on Allegrain’s marble statue Bather, also called Venus, has been used extensively in publicity for what is to be the company’s last production, La Belle Helene, which is to be staged at the Church Hill Theatre from October 11 2017.

The offending image.

Christophe-Gabriel Allegrain’s original statue was finished in 1767 and copies of it have become popular as rather ostentatious life-size garden ornaments and rather more twee mantlepiece adornments. It depicts a woman who is naked to the waist, with a towel winding artistically around her legs and lower body.

Opera Camerata’s designer, Susanne Horsburgh, superimposed an image of such an ornament on a calm Hellenic sea, to promote the opera which parodies the Greek myth telling of the elopement of Helen with Paris that set off the Trojan War.

Opera Camerata committee member Gareth Jacobs told Æ: “After receiving many Facebook requests to ‘boost’ our La Belle Hélène postings, we decided to go ahead.”

Having used the Bather image for months with online postings, likings on Facebook and Twitter, sharings by Opera Camerata Facebook users and their friends, the Usher hall website and, indeed All Edinburgh Theatre, Jacobs was somewhat flummoxed to receive the following message from Facebook:

adult products or services

“Your advert wasn’t approved because it doesn’t follow our advertising policies for advertising adult products or services. We don’t allow images or videos that show nudity or cleavage, even if it’s portrayed for artistic or educational purposes.”

A modern copy of Allegrain’s Bather in its natural habitat. Pic: Ebay

The obvious contention that an Offenbach operetta can hardly described as an “adult product or service” aside, the company appealed stating the common sense reasons that this is a classical statue.

“I realise Facebook is a social medium and we appreciate their ‘public’ concerns,” Jacobs told Æ. “But this has been displayed on their site for months now.”

However, Facebook’s policy for advertisements is a lot more stringent that its policy for personal posts. Indeed the relevant page says “Adverts must not contain adult content. This includes nudity, depictions of people in explicit or suggestive positions or activities that are overly suggestive or sexually provocative.”

Opera Camerata has now submitted what Jacobs describes as the Bowdlerised version of the advert, in which the bather is cropped so as to only depict her face and a small part of her naked terracotta shoulder.

All of which seems needlessly prurient, given that the image is happily on public display in Edinburgh’s streets and online on non age-regulated sites.

As Jacobs adds: “In the meantime, we’ll all continue posting the naked original on Facebook through many posts from many people.”


La Belle Helene
Church Hill Theatre, 33a Morningside Road, EH10 4DR
Wednesday 11 – Saturday 14 October 2017.
EveningsWed – Fri: 7.30pm; Sat, Matinee only: 2.30pm.
Tickets from the Usher Hall ticketing site: or by phone from the company on 0131 228 2304.

Opera Camerata website:
Opera Camerata on facebook: @OperaCamerata.

The rejected advert

Bowdlerisation in action




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