Why Twitter Still Hasn’t Taken Tommy Lee’s Nude Photo Down

On Aug. 11, Tommy Lee’s penis made a public appearance for the first time in 26 years. The nude photo was visible on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The latter is the only outlet where Lee’s post is still live, leaving many people wondering “Why?” It’s because of Twitter’s media policy. 

Drummer Tommy Lee, who made waves on Aug. 11 after posting a nude photo to Twitter
Drummer Tommy Lee | John Atashian/Getty Images

Tommy Lee’s penis post is no longer on Facebook and Instagram

On Aug. 11, many people opened Facebook and Instagram to find Lee baring it all sitting on the edge of a bathtub. The image, which shows the Mötley Crüe drummer‘s uncensored penis, was live on Instagram and Facebook for a few hours with the caption: “Ooooopppsss.” Shortly after, the photo was taken down. It’s unclear if Lee removed the posts himself or if Facebook and Instagram did it for him. 

Twitter still has the Mötley Crüe rocker’s photo published 

At publication, the nude image Lee shared with his 684.7 million followers is still live on his Twitter. The post went live at 3:52 a.m. on Aug. 11 and does not feature a caption, unlike the Facebook and Instagram posts. 

Twitter’s media policy allows for posts like Tommy Lee’s 

According to Twitter’s Media Policy, Lee’s photo passes the test. Twitter users cannot post media that is “excessively gory or share violent or adult content within live video or in profile header, or list banner images,” but that’s not what Lee did — he posted a nude photo of himself. He hasn’t posted anything since, leaving the photo at the very top of his feed, but that’s not against the rules either. 

A portion of the photo Tommy Lee shared on Twitter and Instagram on Aug. 11
Tommy Lee | Twitter

Twitter allows images that depict “sensitive topics, including violent and adult content.” The platform describes “adult content” as “any consensually produced and distributed media that is pornographic or intended to cause sexual arousal.” This includes full or partial nudity. 

The policy also states: “We recognize that some people may not want to be exposed to sensitive content, which is why we balance allowing people to share this type of media with helping people who want to avoid it to do so.” 

If Lee shared the nude image in a live video, posted it as his profile or header image, or used it as a “list banner image,” his account would have been flagged as sensitive. But he tweeted it, so it stands up to Twitter’s policy. 

Intimate media is allowed on Twitter 

As if Twitter’s overall media policy weren’t enough to justify Lee’s post, their rules surrounding “intimate media” also give the rocker the right to post the picture. “Pornography and other forms of consensually produced adult content are allowed on Twitter, provided that this media is marked as sensitive,” the policy reads. 

Whether or not you see the media flagged as sensitive depends on your personal privacy settings on the platform.  

Reactions to Tommy Lee’s penis picture on Twitter

The reactions are still pouring in from fans. At publication, the image has over 4,000 comments, more than 5,000 retweets, and nearly 27,000 likes. Many people want to know why Lee posted the photo in the first place.

Others are giving props to the rock and roll star. “I mean come on…The man is almost 60 years old…” reads one tweet. “He’s aged like a fine wine.”

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