Matthew Olshefski – better known as the shirtless violinist – and his husband Paul Castle had their Instagram account removed for “violating” rules, despite the fact that they did nothing wrong. (Instagram)
A gay couple are devastated after their hugely popular Instagram account was shut down for “violating” rules – but they still don’t know what they’re supposed to have done wrong.
Matthew Olshefski – better known as the shirtless violinist – and his husband Paul Castle have been sharing their lives with fans for years through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and they’ve built up a huge following in that time.
Together, they had over 100,000 Instagram followers, 150,000 on TikTok and 200,000 on Facebook, along with 15 million views on their YouTube channel – but their huge online presence took a hit in recent days as their joint Instagram account was shut down.
The result, they said, is that anti-LGBT+ trolls can target and harass queer people off the platform altogether.
Olshefski and Castle have so far been unable to reach a representative at Instagram to question why their joint account, which was launched at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, was shut down.
Gay couple want to bring ‘message of equality’ back to Instagram.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Blade, Olshefski said they were “stunned” by the incredible reaction to their joint Instagram account from queer people across the world, with their story bringing “hope” to so many people.
“Every day we received hundreds of messages from people around the world, thanking us for being so open about our lives and experiences,” he said.
They had more than 33,000 followers when, on 20 December, they logged into the account only to find that it had vanished.
“Your account has been disabled for pretending to be someone else,” the message read.
Castle said: “We love bringing this kind of content to the world. But it’s more than just a bunch of pictures and posts; it’s a message of equality and representation in a world where homophobia still thrives.”
Olshefski added: “We want answers, but more importantly, we want to get back to what we were doing, being our most authentic selves.”