On persisting

Dear Vimeo,

I have yet to hear from you in response to my last email concerning the removal of my account. It’s been over a week now, and I have done a lot of thinking. I would like to share some of my thoughts with you.

Growing up, I was told I was free to be and do what I wanted, that I was free to love who and how I wanted, that I could choose for myself and be respected in my choices. My parents, who participated in the social revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s, raised me in the belief that I was inheriting the freedoms they had fought for. I believed them, believed myself to be free, until my own life struggles started to hint at the fact that my personal freedom was not as granted as I thought it was. I have been exploring this subject for a long time, but no other situation has exposed it more than the one I find myself in right now.

Undeniably, we now live in a world of online sharing. You know that, as you’ve made it your business. The internet has revolutionized traditional media to a point that we have yet to fully comprehend. There are no more clear lines between entertainment, news, instruction, and everything else. Want to know what’s going on? Want to participate in what’s happening? Want to know how to do something? It seems that no matter what the question is, the answer is somewhere online. So how could sexuality, a subject so immensely essential, escape this new reality? Life doesn’t exist without sexuality, so how could the internet, as a reflection of human life, exist without it?

In our previous correspondence, you’ve mentioned that Vimeo doesn’t allow explicit sexuality but that there are plenty of other places online for this kind of work. It is true that pornography sites are plentiful, some would even argue that they are plaguing the internet. But what about places for educative and explorative and artistic works created by people like me, who are looking for freedom of expression? Well, to the best of my knowledge, such a place does not exist. It’s a completely segregated situation: you either make non-explicit work that can be shared anywhere, or you make explicit work that can only be shared on pornography platforms. Either or. Which brings me to the question, how can we in good conscience leave commercial pornographers solely in charge of sexual imagery? Is that not actually irresponsible?

That being said, I have come to the conclusion that Vimeo cannot be expected to be the agent of change in this matter. I don’t know exactly who’s responsibility it should be to create safe spaces where sexuality can be expressed, discussed and healed, but it isn’t Vimeo’s. Sexually explicit videos are currently almost exclusively pornographic and are seen as abusive and disruptive to the creative community Vimeo is building. I get that.

When my account was first restored by you in July, some explicit videos where removed but some weren’t. So I have tried to align myself with what I perceived was still acceptable to upload. The censorship became a motivation to explore what these lines meant as part of my project. This phase was an important one for me but I realize now that it was probably to the detriment of my relationship with Vimeo. I am ultimately not interested in the dynamics of challenging the authority of an entity that is not the actual cause of the problems I am facing. Changing Vimeo is only possible and meaningful through changing our entire society’s relationship to sexuality.

I very much value Vimeo, for being community oriented, for being a space dedicated to creation, and for being less commercial than other platforms. So I am again asking you to consider re-instating my account. This time though, I would like to remove all videos containing nudity and I pledge to not “interpret” what can still be allowed within the artistic clause of your guidelines and never again upload videos containing nudity. I will continue to create this kind of work, as I feel called to do so, but I will persist in my search for a more appropriate space to share it.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I wanted to be upfront about the fact that I am posting this letter on my blog, which I started after my first account removal. I have been discussing the issues that sharing my work publicly have brought to the surface and it has become an essential part of my project and my self-expression. This is not meant to put pressure on you and I will respect whatever decision you feel is best for Vimeo. I am letting you know because at this point you may not be convinced of my honesty and integrity and yet those are extremely important things for me.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration, I very much hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,
Rain Robert

13 thoughts on “On persisting

  1. I hope the message gets where you want it to get. Meanwhile I think it is a great thing to see you building again. And your site looks gorgeous! I can hardly wait to see it fully functional. Personally I am less intrigued by the explicit content than the mature and the story. That is where I think you truly star.

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    1. Sadly the way my site works for now is dependent on Vimeo, so if they don’t restore my account, I will have to go back to the drawing board for new avenues… As everything is up in the air for now, I have to figure out what’s really important and what I’m actually trying to accomplish. So I particularly appreciate what you’re saying about the story element of my project. It’s also what I am most interested in at this point : )

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  2. In this cold corporate world of ours I fear that such well constructed and passionate arguments such as yours fall on deaf ears. Yet you make such a strong case here that I have to think you will get a response from them that goes beyond the standard reply. Continued good luck with this.

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  3. Hi, the problem with your vimeo account is that you’re constantly being reported by other users. I think you could bypass this problem by hiding your videos on vimeo and just use vimeo as a hosting platform. You could then host your videos there and embed them on your website. It’s pretty easy to do you juste have to go to your video settings / privacy and then check “Hide this video from Vimeo.com” you could also check “Where can this video be embedded? / Only on sites I choose” to make it embeddable only on your website. That would solve your problem of constantly being reported and having your account deleted. (I’m not sure, but I think you could do the same with a youtube account.)

    Sorry for my english, it’s not my first language.
    p.s. I Really like your work, it made me think a lot about my own body / insecurities …

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    1. Hi Marc, thank you very much for this suggestion which I didn’t know about. It would be the perfect workaround but the only problem is that Weebly (which is where my site is hosted) won’t allow any explicit content, even if only embedded. And so far every other site builder I found has the same strict guidelines. There’s always the option of building a server at home, but at this point, even if I could raise the money, it sounds like an endeavor I wouldn’t be able to maintain in the long run… Anyways, thank you for the kind words on my work, and btw your English is great!

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  4. Hello sorry for my english is not good
    Regarding your vimeo channel, and the course of these days without hearing from them I think you will have it, give it for failure and open a new account with a different e-mail address and password and title of the video to The ones that you used previously so that they do not realize who you are and you can upload your videos without any fuss that they will eliminate it again, since it puts this
    Sorry, we could not find that page
    Possible reasons why you are viewing this page
    -The video exists but you are not authorized to view it or need to log in to your account.
    “There’s never been anything here.” That’s weird, right?
    “There was something here before, but they did.
    But I repeat to give your channel as definitively removed and without being able to restore it in such case when you put your new channel put it publicly in your blog so that you can follow and enjoy your videos.

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    1. Yes I’m starting to think I will have to do that… At this point the last thing I could try is call them but I’m having trouble with that. Anyway, something is going to happen soon, it’s just not quite sure what yet. Trust trust trust. Whatever needs to be will be. That’s my mantra these days!

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