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Rubens museum steers visitors away from nudes, in jab at Facebook censorship

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Visitors to a Belgian art gallery were stunned when security guards ordered them away from nude paintings by Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens, in what turned out to be a stunt to protest at Facebook blocking the pictures on the grounds of decency.

In a video posted by tourism organization VisitFlanders, two “social media inspectors” wearing uniforms emblazoned with something like the Facebook logo approach people in the gallery to ask if they have social media accounts.

If they answer yes, the bemused tourists are steered away to non-nude paintings. “It’s for your own protection,” the actors tell visitors as they block their view of a painting of Adam and Eve at the Rubens House Museum in Antwerp.
Most of the art lovers take the ban on paintings “focused on individual body parts such as abs, buttocks or cleavage” in good spirits, but one woman ushered away from the gallery protests by lifting up her shirt to show the security guard her own chest.

Rubens, famed for his paintings of voluptuous female nudes, is one of the most acclaimed painters of the baroque tradition.

But Facebook’s policy of blocking advertisements that depict nudity meant that VisitFlanders’ ads for the Rubens House Museum were treated in the same way as pornography.

The policy only applies to adverts, and the paintings are allowed to be uploaded as normal posts.

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“Advertisers follow more extensive rules than regular users, because these messages are proactively pushed instead of you, as a user, for example, deliberately decide to follow the Facebook page of the Rubens House,” a Facebook spokeswoman said.

VisitFlanders said it was in touch with the platform to seek to resolve the issue.

In 2016, Facebook reversed its decision to remove a famous Vietnam war photograph of a naked girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc, running away after a napalm attack.

Reporting by Julia Echikson; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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LISTEN: Here’s the creepy broadcast at Trump’s rally telling supporters the right way to deal with protesters

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On Tuesday, President Donald Trump officially kicked off his 2020 re-election campaign in Orlando, Florida.

Those who entered the venue were treated to a pleasant female voice booming out instructions to protestors — and a creepy warning.

"While we all have the rights to free speech, this is a private event paid for and hosted by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., and you came to hear the president," said the voice. "To accommodate the right to free speech and peaceful assembly, while ensuring an orderly rally, we have provided a secure area outside the venue for all protesters, and we ask anyone wishing to demonstrate to please exit to that secure area."

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Trump had two goals in ramping up pressure on Iran — and he’s failing at both: CNN

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he doesn't want war with Iran, which would likely put him at odds with his more bellicose advisers like John Bolton.

That being said, the president clearly believes he can bully Iran into unconditional submission to whatever the United States demands. And Iran is having none of it, escalating its own acts of maritime aggression and proclaiming they have missile technology capable of striking U.S. aircraft carriers.

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Ukrainian-Russian developer with Trump Tower Moscow ties suing after getting bilked for $200,000 at inauguration

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It is illegal for foreigners to donate to presidential inaugurations, but a new lawsuit sheds light on how wealthy foreigners attempted to buy access to the Trump administration.

"A Ukrainian-Russian developer who wanted access to President Trump’s inauguration filed a lawsuit on Tuesday saying he was bilked out of the $200,000 he paid for what he thought would be V.I.P. tickets to the event," The New York Times reported Tuesday.

"The developer, Pavel Fuks, who once discussed a Moscow real estate project with Mr. Trump, said in the lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, that he had paid the money to a firm at the direction of Yuri Vanetik, a prominent Republican fund-raiser and sometime lobbyist," the newspaper explained. "But, the lawsuit said, Mr. Vanetik failed to come through with the promised tickets, and Mr. Fuks ended up watching the inauguration from a Washington hotel bar."

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