Since 2009, the Warwick Rowers have participated in our favorite pro-LGBT public awareness campaign, and not just because it features sexy, hard-bodied, naked Brits. (That’s just a bonus, of course.)
This rowing club of the University of Warwick (yep, they’re real athletes) releases a calendar each year in which the guys pose nude; eight years ago, the calendar’s proceeds were meant to benefit the team, but since 2012, the team has handed over some of those proceeds to the nonprofit Sport Allies, which is itself dedicated to reaching out to young people who are “challenged by bullying, homophobia or low self-esteem.” (We also recently reported on—and questioned—how that Sport Allies money is being spent.)
As you might expect, the Warwick Rowers’ annual calendar has achieved global recognition for its public awareness stance (and, sure, the nudity, too), and has won several awards, including double honors as the UK Charity Calendar of the Year.
In addition to the calendar itself, though, the rowers have also taken to filming their photo shoots, much to the pleasure of their gay fans. This year was planned to be no different—that is, until YouTube decided to ban the organization as peddlers of pornography. The Warwick Rowers’ account has reportedly been reinstated, though the ban stung all the same.
Here is the statement from the Warwick Rowers and their photographer, Angus Malcolm, released earlier this week:
Several years ago, the plucky Warwick Rowers were thrown off Google Checkout’s payment processing service without notice – a decision that was upheld on appeal, on the grounds that the Warwick Rowers are pornographers.
Today, in a similar vein, YouTube has decided that the rowers’ public awareness campaign aimed at promoting greater tolerance among young people is unsuitable for, uh, young people. Way to go, Google!
Bizarrely, Google were a lot more relaxed only a few days ago when the Warwick Rowers reported that a Google user was illegally sharing their charity fundraising content. Google twice rejected the Warwick Rowers appeal for help, before shutting up shop for the weekend with the content still available, and did not manage to respond effectively until after the rowers threatened legal action against the corporation.
“And these are the guys who promise to do no evil,” commented one rower, saddened at seeing their hard work for charity being undermined by the massive corporation. “That’s not been our experience at all.”
Purchase your own 2017 calendar here.
(Photo via The Warwick Rowers)
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