Celebs

Scout Willis protests Instagram policy with topless stroll around New York

May 29, 2014 at 11:27 AM ET

Scout Willis is sharing a piece of her mind — and another body part — to protest Instagram's decency policy. The 22-year-old daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore did more than just vent on social media, she took a well-photographed topless stroll around New York. 

It all started when the young actress posted to Instagram a photo of a shirt she designed called "The Babe Bomber," which featured a picture of two topless women. The image was deleted when the photo-sharing app said it violated its community guidelines. Willis immediately began venting on Twitter. 

"Why does @Instagram allow photos of heroin being used but deletes a photo of a print of some smoke shows without tops on???" she wrote. Willis also pointed out that photos of breast cancer survivors have been flagged and deleted from the app, while sexualized images of the female body are allowed.

The young actress then ramped things up a notch with her walk around the Big Apple, accompanied by a photographer. She posted the uncensored pictures on her Twitter account with comments such as, "Legal in NYC but not on @instagram." Some included the hashtag #FreeTheNipple, a call for a more relaxed view of topless females in social media.

Willis insists this is about more than just allowing tasteful nudes on the app. "This is about helping women feel empowered to make personal choices about their bodies not dictated by what society says is decent," she tweeted.

She has since given up her Instagram account.

Instagram told E! News in a statement, "We try hard to find a good balance between allowing people to express themselves creatively and keeping Instagram a fun and safe place. Our guidelines put limitations on nudity and mature content. Once content is reported to us, we review it and remove it if it violates our policies."

The app's Terms of Use state that "violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos" are not allowed. Instagram also briefly banned images of breastfeeding.

Rihanna, whose racy Instagram account was "briefly disabled" earlier this year, tweeted her support for Willis Tuesday.

TODAY anchors discussed the subject on Thursday's show, with Al Roker noting that "the hashtag #FreeTheNipple has taken off ... a lot of feminists and moms applauding her to remove the backlash of breastfeeding shots."

And as Roker pointed out, it's legal for both men and women to walk topless around New York.

Natalie Morales was squarely in the corner of it not being that big of a deal. "A lot of kids I know my son's age are on (Instagram)," she said, acknowledging that a person is supposed to be 13 and older before signing up with Instagram. "So if they come across it, if they follow Scout, they would see that. Is it terrible? No."

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