Michael Stipe Successful touring musicians often live fishbowl lives…
- Posted on Mar 15th 2011 11:00AM by Jonathan Dekel
Kevin Mazur, WireImage.com
Sixx's fracas with the social networking behemoth began when the bassist turned author and photographer posted an outtake from his upcoming photography book/memoir 'This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx,' which features many of Sixx's Joel-Peter Witkin-influenced portraits of cultural outcasts.
"I started by posting one of the photos from my book, it was actually an outtake -- a way to give fans something that won't be in the book." Sixx tells Spinner.
"It was this girl Farah -- she's about 350 pounds and she saw her mother kill herself and was put out on the streets for prostitution and she ended up doing pornography. I was looking for a woman that would pose nude that was extremely overweight -- there's a bunch of messages behind that.
"So I posted this nude picture of her and it was deleted by Facebook. And I went, 'Oh, you can't put art on Facebook?' So then I posted another photo that I shot of a guy who's transgender[ed]. So he had breasts, but he's still a guy."
Predictably, the powers that be at Facebook didn't take Sixx's image in stride and banned it as well. Next, he tried his luck at sharing art from his newest musical project Sixx:A.M..
"I posted Sixx:A.M.'s 'Lies of the Beautiful People' single, which features another one of my photographs of a girl who has had half her face burned off, and it was also deleted saying 'Final notice -- you can't post any more of your photos.'"
Ever the contrarian, Sixx took stock of the social context in which his art was being judged and came up with a new game plan.
"I looked around Facebook and I see half-naked teenagers, and stuff way worse than my stuff, so I posted what they said to me about the 'Rules and Regulations' and immediately 250,000 people changed their profile picture to that photo. So everyone's going, 'Why don't you change yours?' and I was worried they were going to delete my account, but finally I just posted it."
In a surprising move, Facebook's administrators didn't take Sixx's profile down. Instead, the site systematically deleted the other accounts that had adopted the group's single cover shot as their profile picture, including that of Sixx:AM's lead singer James Michael.
"They didn't delete my account but they deleted James Michael and a number of fans, and they weren't doing anything to me. So, eventually, I just thought this was so ridiculous and I posted half-naked pictures of myself and nobody's complained."
The photos, taken at the Royal York in Toronto where the rocker was giving a celebrity interview as part of Canadian Music Week, show Sixx and his lady companion in various states of undress. Though they're risqué, the shots refrain from showing actual nudity and are in line with some of the teenage profile pictures which Sixx spotted during this whole debacle.
Though he's not exactly sure what social injustice his crusade is focusing on, as a lifelong artist, Sixx is willing to explore the matter to find out.
"So I'm asking where is this at? Is this censorship? Is this a double standard? What's happening?
"I think [the point] is seeing where we're at socially."