TikTok Suspends Trans Actor Laith Ashley, Claims 'Sexual Activity'

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 1 MIN.

Trans actor Laith Ashley said TikTok banned him for what the platform says was "promoting sexual activity and services" – but Ashley said all he was doing was expressing his point of view about how social media targets LGBTQ+ people by branding their sexual orientation or gender identity as "political."

Ashley was "talking with his followers about last year's Hollywood strikes and the current struggles faced by LGBTQ+ content creators because of the way social media algorithms are inclined to penalize them," Pride reported, and that was enough to get him barred from the platform's live posting option.

"The screenshot he shared to Instagram showed that the reason cited was 'sexual activity and services,'" Pride recounted. As of the morning of March 26, that Instagram post had been removed.

On instagram Stories, Laith said more about the situation, Pride reported, sharing a screenshot of how TikTok had doubled down on the ban when he appealed it. The screenshot shows a message that says, "You'll no longer be able to go LIVE or join a LIVE as a guest due to violations of our Community Guidelines."

"Sexual Activity and Services" is listed below that notification under the heading "Violation reasons."

Laith said on Instagram Stories that "It's the silencing" that infuriates him with regard to the situation. "It's the erasure. It's the victimizing folks and then blaming them for their own oppression."

Added the actor: "That's what's bothering me. That's what's making me very angry."

Have a look at some of the Instagram posts the ripped model and actor has put up that didn't subsequently disappear or result in a ban.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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