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The Schmooze

When Instagram Took Down Orthodox Fashion Brand’s Pro-Israel Post

When Brooklyn-based Orthodox Jewish sisters Mushky Notik and Mimi Hecht started their brand ‘Mimu Maxi’ in 2014, they couldn’t have imagined their Instagram platform would grow into the success it is today, with over 45K followers.

As such, the ‘proud Jewish sisters from Brooklyn’ take to the platform, from time to time, to comment on more than mere fabric choices and new shipments — they’ve been known to talk about personal tragedy, anti-Semitism, and communal issues. A recent post expressed support for Israel, as Hamas fired hundreds of rockets at civilian areas. But, whether by an algorithm or moderator — their post was removed by Instagram.

“I think I represent so many of you when I say that Instagram’s erasing of my pro-lsrael posts today is deeply disturbing,” Notik wrote to her followers.

Mimu Maxi took to Facebook to repost the original comment, asking her followers to share the post and petition Instagram to rectify this “gross error without fear of our account — and our voice — being disabled,” with the hashtag #LETMIMISPEAK. And just like that, hundreds of people flocked to support their favorite layered-fashionistas:

View this post on Instagram

INSTAGRAM TOOK THIS DOWN, I’m putting it back up. I WILL NOT BE SILENCED FOR SPEAKING UP AGAINST ANTI SEMITISM AND SUPPORTING ISRAEL. SWIPE RIGHT ➡️ I think I represent so many of you when I say that Instagram’s erasing of my pro-lsrael posts today is deeply disturbing. In continuing to speak up, I risk losing this platform. I can lose followers but I can’t lose this platform, my voice — our voice. Join me in calling out this gross error — whether by algorithm or moderator — so I can continue to post without fear of being silenced more than I already have been. I value everyone’s support today. Hundreds of you asked what you can do. I’ve looked into options. For now, visibility will help. I need to ensure these posts aren’t wrongly held against this platform, so I can continue to speak without fear of losing this account and losing this community. There are so few of us speaking up for Israel — and for the Jewish people in times of both joy and pain. I need to be one of those people. We cannot be silenced. If enough people bring light to this, it may help. Share this post (click share to stories!), tag @instagram, reach out if you have a way of helping more people seeing this. I can’t just accept that I was silenced today without violating any “community guidelines” when anti-semitism and hate speech reigns on social media. We can change this. #letmimuspeak

A post shared by Mimi and Mushky ❤️ (@mimumaxi) on

After hundreds of followers reposted #LETMIMISPEAK and submitted complaints to Instagram — in less than 24 hours, the platform put Mimu Maxi’s post back up.

“I can’t just accept that I was silenced today without violating any ‘community guidelines’ when anti-semitism and hate speech reigns on social media,” Notik wrote. “We can change this.”

Ah, the power of the hashtag.

Bonnie Azoulay is an intern at the Forward.




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