The Darlings are discouraged and disheartened by live stream censorship – The Province

Local nonbinary drag theatre collective The Darlings have had two performances taken down from Facebook.PNG

Vancouver nonbinary drag collective The Darlings has a dedicated audience for its creative and cutting-edge performances. But since the group took its show online, its work is being targeted.

Both the March 29 broadcast debut and the April 26 followup were subject to reports that they contravened Facebooks terms and guidelines and were taken down following being reported.

In a statement posted on The Darlings Facebook page, the members point out that queer artists are being silenced by such actions and that the process to get reinstated on the viewing platform is extremely onerous. The video goes on to point out that the artists were even practicing self-censorship of its content to avoid contravening Facebooks terms and guidelines. This is particularly unsettling for queer artists everywhere being comfortable with using online platforms to deliver their art in the absence of queer spaces.

For now, both performances can be viewed on Vimeo.

I like to assume that it was someone random, and not direct targeting, because in most cases that is the case, said The Darlings Continental Breakfast. There are people out there who dont want to be seeing queer programming being accessible. And if anything you do can be seen as even being PG-13, it can get reported.

The first report was lodged when member PM was showing bare feet while wearing latex. For the second show, Continental Breakfast even had nieces watch it after it aired for extra vetting. The performer admitted to feeling calm and confident going into the event.

We were on the edge of our seats for the first show, because we didnt know how it would go, they said. So we completely adjusted our content to bring forward a family-friendly show that was sensitive, gentle and touched on vulnerability. Its really hard to see someone still report that.

With nearly 10,000 views across both shows, demand clearly exists for The Darlings work. But the group says being shut down the second time cut-off its audience in the first 15 minutes and the numbers were seriously impacted. This has lead The Darlings to take a break and reconsider alternative routes which do not risk the integrity and viability of their work.

Member Rose Butch stated that being silenced on the most accessible platform available to broadcast to viewers was discouraging and disheartening.

sderdeyn@postmedia.com

twitter.com/stuartderdeyn

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The Darlings are discouraged and disheartened by live stream censorship - The Province

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