Lauren Lepore

NAME: Lauren Lepore

What reason was given for your ban?

Sale of illegal or regulated goods.

Why do you think your post(s) was censored?

A lot of my work covers addiction, a disease that affects so many people but is so rarely talked about openly. As a photographer who was once an addict, my photos depict a life some may know and for others a life they may never see. Any time I post about drugs and recovery I often share photos from my time as an addict with an essay in the description to provide insight on the mental/emotional/relationship effects addiction can have. The photos get censored because of the substance use but they never care to read the reason why these photos are being shared.

Were you able to appeal and what was the response?

Yes, but out of dozens of appeals, only a handful of images have been put back.

What effect has your experience of censorship had on you?

I remember feeling like no one could understand me when I was addicted and felt like I could disappear at any moment and no one would notice.  I share my story and photos to give people hope and make them feel less alone in this world. I’m constantly getting messages asking for help/guidance on the road to recovery because of this. I created a community of acceptance online and this censorship has hidden me online from that community.

What’s one thing you want people to know about this topic?

Addiction is a disease that so many people around the world are struggling with.

By censoring it online it directly represents the censorship addicts feel in their day to day lives.