Courtney Adamo last month posted what would, by most people whose minds aren't in the gutter, be considered an adorable photo of her 18-month-old daughter, Marlow, only to have the social photo-sharing sight Instagram take it down. The reason? "Nudity."
The photo showed the cute toddler pulling up her shirt to examine her own "outie" belly button. But that belly button quickly went viral after Adamo, figuring that Instagram must have made a silly mistake, re-posted the photo — and this time, Instagram deleted her account.
Stunned and more than a little angry, the 33-year-old married mom of four, who is also a successful independent businesswoman, took to her blog to vent about the absurdity of the Instagram action.
She never expected her blog post to ignite an internet firestorm. But while many readers of the blog post saw the photo the same way that Marlow's mom saw it, as a charming and cute image of an innocent toddler, others condemned Courtney Adamo as some kind of a pedophile, or a bad mother placing her child in harm's way.
Now, a month later, Courtney Adamo, an American who relocated to London, England, about 10 years ago, says she can never look at the picture the same way, that the response of the judgmental and sometimes even perverse strangers on line has robbed her of the ability to look at the photo without feeling queasy and anxious.
This is the "offending" photo of Marlow Adamo.
"What kind of world do we now live in,hat a beautiful picture of an innocent little girl could be seen as anything other than that?," Courtney said in an interview with Britain's Daily Mail this week.
"When I look at that photo now, I just can't see it in the same way," she continued. "It stirs up unsettling emotions. It's really sad. I just feel they have ruined the innocence of it all. I find it really upsetting, quite disgusting, to think that someone is rifling through my photos online looking for something to complain about — and seeing something sexual that isn't there. You can see toddlers on the beach half-naked. Television commercials show babies in nappies. Are we going to ban those, too? To me, it's just crazy."Adamo told the Mail that since the controversy erupted, she has been contacted by several other moms who have been victimized by what the call the "vague" Instagram rules, seeing their accounts erased after they posted what they thought were innocent pictures of their children.
'I'm sure they have good intentions," says Courtney. "But to have a rule banning all topless images of female children of walking age or over is ridiculous. To have this rule in the first place encourages the sexualization of young girls"
After an outpouring of protest, Instagram reinstated the Courtney Adamo Instagram account, saying the company tries to "balance" allowing innocent childhood photos and banning those that could be considered overly sexual in nature. But, a spokesperson admitted, "we don't always get it right."