Exclusive: Facebook bans opera ad for ‘ implicit sexual or seductive behaviour’

Exclusive: Facebook bans opera ad for ‘ implicit sexual or seductive behaviour’


norman lebrecht

March 14, 2019

Bergen National Opera in Norway is about to premiere Antony McDonald´s new production of Werther with the fabulous pairing of Edgaras Montvidas and Catriona Morison.

It submitted a version of the second picture in this post as a paid advertisement for the show.

Facebook rejected it:’This ad is may not be shown due to implicit sexual or seductive behaviour’.


  • Viola da Bracchio says:


    Enforcing prurient American provincialism on a spineless and compliant world. The same people who dressed piano legs in modest bloomers in the 19th century.

    • V.Lind says:

      Well, in fairness, I think the latter was charged to the VIctorians…though the US caught up — remember Ashcroft, who wanted to coat paintings around US government buildings in figleaves?

      As for Facebook: if that sentence is quoted correctly, you can add illiterate.

      • Mr. Knowitall says:

        Almost right. Ashcroft spent $8000 tax dollars to place curtains that preserved the modesty of the “Lady Justice” statue during his speeches. Lady Justice had a wardrobe malfunction that exposed one of her aluminum breasts.

    • Paul Brownsey says:

      More likely to be a computer that can’t discriminate?

    • MWnyc says:

      Likely as not, an alogrithm blocked that image. And if it was a human, that human was more likely in Europe than the US.

      • Viola da Bracchio says:

        Farcebook is an American organisation. It rams its unwanted American values down the throats of users all over the world – no matter where its spineless little minions happen to be based.

        • Saag Gosht says:

          “Values” LOL. F***book is an see eye aye spying organisation pure and simple. Suckerborg is the front, a made man, and will never go to jail however massive the orgy of data harvesting becomes. Anyone who uses FB deserves all they get.

        • Stuart says:

          That is pure nonsense. Facebook is in no way representative of American values. It is a Silicon Valley company working within its own set of twisted rules. The demographics of its management and employees are not representative of its mass of foolish users, American or otherwise. I have oft recommended on my AI blog that Facebook users delete their accounts. It is a big, arrogant company run by people who care nothing for their users’ data or privacy. At Facebook, the user is the product, and their data is sold and abused as part of the corporate vision. Don’t let your anti-American bias fool you into thinking Facebook has anything to do with being American.

    • John Borstlap says:

      I always thought that dressing piano legs is a nice touch of taste and it shows discretion. Over here, I proposed to dress the pianos in that way but it met with fierce resistance of staff, I think they were rather sexist. When I go to a chamber music recital, I never want to but it’s part of my job description, I’m always irritated by the piano legs. Fortunately sopranos are always sure to cover their own, although their upper part often leaves something to be wished for.


  • Dominic Stafford says:


  • Happened to me to. Submitted a paid ad to Facebook about my Tosca premiere at the German National Theatre in Weimar, with a photo of the production, and Facebook rejected it because it used „violent language“. How does one explain the story of Tosca without using „violent“ language?

    • John Borstlap says:

      The reason why Bayreuthg does not advertise its festival on FB is that the plots are filled to the brim with violence, crime, sex abuse, incest, and social exploitation, plus contract breaches, illegal mining and swimming in prohibited waters.

  • Edgar says:

    Facebook owns the world and doesn’t appear to get it right when it comes to simple things such as opera-specific algorithms. Perhaps they should replace Zuck with a Music Director (so that Zuck can finish his basic general education).

    One sure way to shut Facebook down would be the technique employed by a business owner on San Francisco’s Market Street (Norman posted about this in the past) to get rid of unwanted people: play classical music.

    My proposal: A non-stop loop of Liebestod-recordings at FB quarters worldwide would silence Facebook – to the benefit of humanity: both because of Wagner’s immortal music and Facebook’s demise.

    Meanwhile: US porn industry keeps raking in billions of dollars. Why, I wonder….? Better leave that to analysts;-)

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Too funny. For years, FB has been banning and removing conservative content. And liberals just sat around and approved this obvious bias. I loathe FB, it’s commie overlords and employees. Z is an megalomaniac who is destroying society. Quit FB.

    • Larry Dankel says:

      “commie overlords…destroying society”? If this is an example of “conservative content”, I say it’s spinach and to hell with it!

    • Ainslie says:

      First of all, “it’s” doesn’t need a comma, and I take that as an indication of your general education and intelligence. Which then brings me to your totally unsubstantiated, unprovable and ludicrous assertion that Facebook is run by “commies”, whatever that means (it seems peculiar that ‘commies’ would be fighting so effectively for the independence of their business). Your only redeeming quality is that you are a Cubs Fan, so I forgive you.

      • Harrumph says:

        If you’re calling an apostrophe a comma then you’re not in an ideal position to call out someone else’s education and intelligence. Learn the basic nomenclature of punctuation and get back to us.