Vimeo Deletes My Account… Again

In 2013 Vimeo deleted my account. In 2014 they did it again.

The first time I asked them to define “pornography”. Their response was essentially “We know it when we see it.” Still, they restored my account.

The second time I asked them to define “sexual stimulation” since they’d changed their guidelines to be even more vague. This time they decided to sidestep the question and insist that they didn’t like accounts promoting porn sites. They told me I couldn’t link to or mention the Bright Desire URL. So I did my best to make all my videos, text and watermarks part of my official filmmaking site Indigo Lush and, after some back and forth, they restored my account.

I was a Plus customer at the time. After that run in, I stopped giving them money because I felt I couldn’t trust that they wouldn’t just delete things summarily anyway and keep my money.

Now it’s 2019. I haven’t uploaded to my Vimeo account for a while because they put limits on the free accounts and I had no space available. I wasn’t going to pay for an account because of their nebulous censorship. But all the videos were still there and I’ve got embeds of them on numerous sites. The videos include trailers for my films, documentaries from Berlin and Toronto, some tame short films, some full-length documentaries about feminist porn and also video from the Feminist Porn Conference.

So last night just as I was going to bed I got this email:

Dear Ms Naughty (Louise Lush),

Your account has been removed by the Vimeo Staff for violating our Guidelines ( .

Reason: Uploading promotional or spammy content.

For more information on our content and community policies, please visit:

If you believe this was an error, please reply to this message as soon as possible to explain. (Please be aware that Vimeo moderators take action as violations come to our attention. “I see other people doing it” is not a valid explanation.)

Otherwise, we hope that you find a video platform better suited to your needs.


Vimeo Staff

This prompted a bit of a panic attack from me. I don’t want to have to keep fighting this stuff over and over again. Still, I wrote a quick reply:

I am writing to ask the specific reason why you have deleted my account which I’ve had for many years.

The email you sent via a no-reply email address said:

“Your account has been removed by the Vimeo Staff for violating our Guidelines. Reason: Uploading promotional or spammy content.”

Can you advise me which video you consider to be spammy? What exactly do you define as “promotional”, especially considering that a great many filmmakers upload promotional trailers for their films?

I am an award-winning filmmaker. My work has screened at dozens of festivals including but not limited to:
Cinekink New York 2019
Paris International Lesbian & Feminist Film Festival
Tel Aviv Queer Film Festival 2018
Queergestreift Queer Film Festival, Constance, Germany, 2018
Go Short Nijmegen Netherlands 2018
Filmhuis Cavia Amsterdam 2017
Seattle Transgender Film Festival 2017
Glasgow Short Film Festival 2017
-among many others dating back to 2009. I have used my Vimeo account to upload trailers and short films to support my filmmaking career.

Is this because my work deals with sexuality and queer themes?

What would I need to do to reinstate my account?


Louise Lush

I then took a Valium because I was feeling incredibly stressed about this. I have been taking a break from porn and the internet because I’m burnt out and tired of constantly fighting for space online, always squeezed out because the work I do is about sexuality. It’s exhausting.

This morning, the reply email was waiting:


Support independent, ethically made, award-winning porn. Bright Desire features all of my erotic films and writing. A membership to Bright Desire gets you access to every movie I've ever made and lets me keep making female friendly porn!
Click here to find out more.

Hi Louise,

Thank you for reaching out about this and sorry for the confusion!

Your account was terminated for violating Vimeo’s Terms of Service ( and Community Guidelines (

It looks like the initial reason provided was that it was spammy promotional content, but on further review it looks like your account was actually removed for a different policy. I apologize for the misunderstanding.

Vimeo does not allow videos that contain explicit depictions of nudity or sexual acts, nor do we allow videos that seem primarily focused on sexual stimulation.

Note that “focused on sexual stimulation” is broader than “pornographic” or “explicit” and can even include non-graphic content like fetish gratification videos or videos with overtly sexualized depictions of nudity or activity.

We are unable to restore accounts that have been terminated for this kind of violation, but wish you the best of luck in finding a hosting platform better suited to your needs.

Jordan T.
Community Support Associate

How very polite. Thanks Jordan for your pleasantries while telling me to fuck off forever with no appeal.

Anyway, here’s the reply I typed up this morning. It has echoes from the 2014 adventure. I might as well take the fight to them again.

Dear Jordan

Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately you have not cleaned up a misunderstanding, you’ve made me more confused.

You are saying the whole account has been removed because the videos “seem primarily focused on sexual stimulation” and this can mean “overtly sexualized depictions of nudity or activity.”

Can you provide exact examples of the exact videos where this was an issue?

My films deal with sexuality, queerness and relationships. They include short films but they also include documentaries. I do not see how a significant number of the videos that I had on Vimeo could be considered “overtly sexualized” or “primarily focused on sexual stimulation.”

To give you examples, going from my memory of the videos I had on there.

  1. “Making and Debating Porn for Women” – a video of the lecture I gave at the 2013 Feminist Porn Conference discussing pornography. This features me standing at a lectern discussing feminist and alternative pornographies.
  2. The Feminist Porn Awards and Conference documentary videos from 2013 and 2014. These were news event / documentary videos featuring footage from the awards and conference.
  3. The Berlin Porn Film Festival documentaries from various years (2009, 2011, 2013 etc). I have attended this groundbreaking event several times and compiled footage and interviews from it into short documentaries about it. The festival has been vital for removing stigma from films that depict sexuality and is well known around the world as an important, avant-garde film festival. These documentaries were heavily censored for placement on Vimeo and seek to give information, not titillate.
  4. “Paddling The Pink Canoe” – a humour video playing on the various euphemisms for female masturbation. This involved a gloved hand doing things like stroking a cat, typing, holding a power tool and paddling a canoe. There was no nudity. It’s a joke film about sex. It played at several international film festivals in 2009.
  5. “Aloysius: Immunized With A Gramophone Needle Trailer” – This documentary looks at an older Australian gay man and features interviews with him about his life, his sexuality and his feelings about getting older. This film played at the XPosed International Queer Film Festival in 2015.
  6. “Dear Jiz Trailer” – This film looks at groundbreaking genderqueer performer and author Jiz Lee. Shot in 2013, it features imagery of a nude Jiz transposed with fan letters describing how Jiz had inspired them to embrace their own sexuality and gender identity. The film has screened at numerous queer and transgender film festivals, it won Best Experimental Short at Cinekink in 2014 and has featured a several art exhibitions, including the upcoming On Our Backs: The Revolutionary Art Of Queer Sex Work exhibition in Manhattan.
  7. “Kaleidogasm” – This film and its sequels takes images of nudity and sex and distorts them into a variety of surreal shapes and images to create a disturbing new form that asks the viewer to question bodies, identities and sexualities. The film screened at the Glasgow Short Film Festival in 2017, among other festivals.
  8. “Something Better: Performers Talk Feminism and Porn” – This short documentary features interviews with a variety of feminist porn performers and directors about why they make their art. It won an Honorable Best Mention at the Feminist Porn Awards in 2013.
  9. “Devourable Trailer” – A documentary featuring interviews and illustrative footage of two polyamorous queer women, discussing their relationships, why they love each other and why they enjoy The Rocky Horror Show. The film has screened at over ten film festivals including The Paris International Lesbian and Feminist Film Festival.
  10. “See Me Trailer” – This short film aims to break the taboo surrounding disability and sexuality. It features Mel Lou, an erotic performer who has cerebral palsy, and seeks to humanize and celebrate her body and her identity. The film has screened at numerous festivals and won the Sex Positive Award at SECS Fest Seattle in 2017 + the Flag Award for Political Film at the Pop Porn Festival in Brazil in 2017.
  11. “Scarlet Woman Trailer” – In her late 50s, Morgana Muses took up being an adult performer. This film celebrates her personality, her new confidence and doesn’t flinch from depicting the sexuality of an older woman. This film was one of Morgana’s first performances. A feature-length documentary about her called “Morgana” debuted at the Melbourne International Film Festival this past weekend to sold-out audiences.
  12. Immersed Trailer – This short film depicts an interview and accompanying imagery of Bishop Black, a performer, sex work activist and dancer. It discusses his love of dance and links it with the eroticism of the male body. The film has screened at numerous festivals and won the Frame Award for Best Artistic Film at Pop Porn Brazil in 2017
  13. “An Open Letter To My Lovers… Trailer” – Zahra Stardust is an academic, stripper, feminist activist and sex worker. This film features her written stream-of-consciousness words about sex work, politics and relationships and has screened at several queer film and sex work festivals. It’s also been mentioned in a number of academic essays on sex work.

I could go on but I hope you get the point. The short films, documentaries and trailers that I hosted on Vimeo deal with sexuality but they are also about relationships, body image, disability, feminism, ageing, polyamory, queerness, gender identity and they discuss how society treats pornography and depictions of sex. They seek to use a feminist gaze to depict sexuality in an alternative and positive way. Some films such as Tactile were about being as artistic as possible in depicting bodies and sexuality. Some films are just playful love stories. Every one of the videos I uploaded was carefully edited so as not to feature explicit sex or nudity. They all were labelled as mature.

I have done my best to follow your guidelines which are very vague. It’s difficult to know what may be OK and what not. One of the ways I’ve tried to comply is by seeing what other films featuring sexuality are on Vimeo. Here are a couple of examples:

* The S&X Series –

These ads for perfume seem very sexual and I’d say they have an intent to arouse but they are “artistic”

* Define Beauty Series –
* Fetish Untied Series –
Both series are short films by Nowness that deal with sex and sexual stimulation

An animated short film that is explicit. The filmmaker’s description talks about reclaiming a space for women in pornography.

I have spent over ten years making films about sex and also discussing and writing about feminist pornography, queer sexuality and censorship. My essays have been published in The Feminist Porn Book (2013), Coming Out Like A Porn Star (2015) and also in the academic journal Porn Studies. One of the things I have written about is the ongoing online censorship of the work of feminist filmmakers who are trying to change how sex, women and queerness are depicted in film. We typically come up against vague guidelines and wildly fluctuating standards as to whether the work we do is “obscene” or not.

So I would like you to be specific.

* Which films of mine do you believe were “primarily focused on sexual stimulation”?

* What specifically would you define as being “sexual stimulation”? Can you give me some clear guidelines as to what Vimeo will and won’t allow with regards to this?

* Why are you unable to restore accounts that have been terminated for this violation? Especially given that I received no warning that I may be in breach of the guidelines which are very broad and entirely open to interpretation. I would have gladly edited anything to try and meet your standards if given the chance (and an explanation of the problem).

I would respectfully ask that you restore my account and offer guidelines as to how I can avoid this kind of deletion happening in the future.

Yours sincerely

Louise Lush aka Ms. Naughty

So, I await their reply and I’ll update this post when I get it. I don’t think I’m going to be successful this time. I suspect they’ll be after me for promoting Bright Desire, perhaps because I had the logo on some of my films (although I don’t know if that was against their rules or not, they only talked about links and URLs). If they would just be specific I could try and fix whatever they’re upset about.

The way this has happened is so rage-inducing. I had a lot of videos on that account. Vimeo gave me no warning and no specifics as to what was wrong they just nuked the lot of it. And they also happily deleted all the videos first, saying I was a spammer and when questioned then told me that they’d made a mistake and had instead deleted all my videos for a different reason. There has been no real examination of my account or the videos on it. I suspect they got a complaint from some uptight anti-sex zealot and just banned the lot without even checking.

The thing I haven’t said in the emails, because I’m trying to be polite and to argue within their parameters, is that the whole bullshit ban on “sexual stimulation” is yet another example of stigma against the depiction of sex as a legitimate art form. In the mainstream cinema world, it’s OK to depict sex for any reason EXCEPT to make the viewer aroused. You can show rape, sexual violence, uncomfortable sex, sex as a joke, sex as some kind of bizarre art piece… but if you dare to arouse the viewer beyond a certain level then you are banned.

And what IS that level? At what point does a film become “primarily focused on sexual stimulation”? Is there a time limit? If you kiss too long, will that invoke the ban hammer? Is touching a leg sexual stimulation? What about whispering like in ASMR?

The decision as to whether a film is “primarily focused on sexual stimulation” would surely be in the eye of the viewer and that may be different from person to person. In Vimeo’s case, it seems that you are at the mercy of your reviewer’s arousal level. Do they get a boner easily? Too bad, account deleted.

Vimeo’s Guidelines page say “Vimeo respects creative expression above all else. That’s why we allow depictions of nudity and sexuality that serve a clear creative, artistic, aesthetic, or narrative purpose.” But what if showing sex or inducing arousal IS a clear creative and artistic purpose? And of course there’s the inevitable question: what is art and what is porn? Who decides?

Also, Vimeo is wildly hypocritical as to what they’ll allow and what they won’t. I run a site called Sexy Short Films and I try to find good short films that are about sex and sexuality, often hosted on Vimeo. I’ve seen serious 20 minute films that deal with all the ins and out of sexuality but they feature a really hot sex scene in the middle that, while not explicit, is arousing. There are artistic endeavours that only show two people having sex in an arousing way but the lighting is fantastic and it looks arty so its OK. There are short films that are actually totally explicit but they screened at SXSW so that’s just fine and dandy. Indeed, a lot of the acclaimed films I’ve seen lately don’t stint on showing explicit sex scenes as part of their storytelling (e.g. Bad At Dancing).

Meanwhile, do a search on “erotic film” on Vimeo and you’ll get a hundred “art” films of naked women pouting at the camera for no other reason than to turn on the viewer. The male gaze rules with this stuff; if you want to get upset about soft porn, it’s all right there on Vimeo. If they can make space for this kind of “erotic film”, where is the space for alternative, queer, feminist erotic film?

On their guidelines page they say: “Vimeo does not allow videos that contain explicit depictions of nudity or sexual acts (in most cases), nor do we allow videos that seem primarily focused on sexual stimulation. (There are plenty of other websites for that.)” (My bold).

But here’s the other problem. There aren’t plenty of other websites for the kind of videos I make. The internet of 2019 is utterly unwelcoming toward alternative, feminist porn. There aren’t any more spaces to get my work in front of eyeballs. Tumblr is dead. Twitter is cracking down. I’m not going to put my work on Pornhub so they can put misogynistic ads next to it and then never allow me to delete it. I can’t put it on Youtube unless it’s censored within an inch of its life and will still probably get deleted. If I put it on my own sites Google will ignore it in any search results so nobody sees it.

Unfortunately I need Vimeo to get myself out there. The corporatization of the internet has forced me to need them. I need the exposure and the traffic I get from them. If I lose this account, it’s yet another loss for my business. Bright Desire and my filmmaking work is becoming harder to promote. I’m running out of energy and patience to keep fighting this fight. It’s why I’ve been taking a break from porn for the last few months. I’m tired. And this is the last thing I need right now.

Anyway… I’ll update this post when I get a reply.

Update 23 August 7.40am

Vimeo sent this reply:

Hi Louise,

Thank you for following up! I apologize for the continued confusion. 

With such a gigantic community and library, it is not possible for staff to review every video and we can only take action as violations come to our attention. Therefore, we truly appreciate the efforts of Vimeo users to bring inappropriate content to our attention.

We cannot provide more details about other users on our platform, but I am happy to provide more information about what happened to your account specifically.

Many of your videos link back to sites like and, which advertise themselves as “a new and different kind of porn – new wave, smart porn”.

Here are a few examples of the videos advertising those sites:

1) The Crush – Jiz Lee and Bishop Black. Trailer
2) See Me – Trailer
3) Immersed – Trailer
4) Devourable – Trailer

Vimeo does not allow erotic or pornographic content to be sold on its Vimeo On Demand platform, nor may you upload content that is linked to Patreon or other paid membership sites.

We are unable to restore accounts that have been terminated for this kind of violation as they violate our Terms of Service, but we hope you find a video host better suited to your content in the future.

Jordan T.
Community Support Associate

So I have sent this reply:

Dear Jordan

I am aware that Vimeo does not allow advertising of porn sites. I would draw your attention to the fact that my site IndigoLush is NOT a paid porn site. It is my official filmmaking site where I list each film I have made offering a synopsis, trailer and further information about it. It also lists my extensive film festival record here.

This is fairly standard modus operandi for a filmmaker.

The Indigo Lush site is not commercial and does not ask users for money to use that site. I do not use Patreon.

On Vimeo I do not have any links back to Bright Desire on my films or in the descriptions of the films. I have links and watermarks for so festival directors and viewers can get a further idea of my films and see my festival record.

In May 2014 I had an extensive conversation with Vimeo representative called Sean M. about this and he indicated that this would be fine. So that is the rule I have been following since.

Has this changed? Does Vimeo now consider a filmmakers information site to be a “porn site” because the films deal with sexuality?

Can you provide some exact information as to what Vimeo considers to be acceptable on a filmmakers’ promotional site?

Yours etc
Louise Lush aka Ms. Naughty

Notice how the reason for deletion has kept changing each time? Thus, I didn’t get any decent explanation as to what constitutes “sexual stimulation” this time around.

I don’t rate my chances very high this time around. I’m going to be convicted of the “intent to advertise”, I suspect.

This latest drama has brought on something of a depression. I am so exhausted by fighting for my right to be seen. The internet is determined to uphold the stigma and dismiss me as a “dirty pornographer” – as you see in Jordan’s terribly polite reply.

But I’m determined to insist that I’m a filmmaker to them, goddamit. Because I am.

Update 24th August 11am

Here’s the latest:

Hi Louise,

Thank you for following up about this!

While IndigoLush may not be, specifically advertises itself with the language mentioned previously, and the video examples all link back to that site.

You may not use Vimeo to host sexually explicit content, or advertise erotic services. I apologize for the confusion, and hope this clears things up.

We cannot restore your account, but hope you find a platform better suited to your videos going forward.

Jordan T.
Community Support Associate

My response:

Dear Jordan

Nothing is cleared up.

Which video examples? From memory, I have never included URLs or links to in my descriptions or watermarks. My videos link to Indigo Lush, my filmmaker site.

I have tried three times to download the CSV file of descriptions viewers etc and nothing happens so I can’t see what you’re talking about.

But for the sake of argument, if my videos do have links (which they don’t), why have you deleted the entire account and every video that was on there and not just the videos you seem to be taking exception to?

– Louise.

I really am working from memory here. I may have mentioned Bright Desire – without linking to it – in a description but I can’t remember. And they haven’t sent me the CSV file so I can’t check. And my point is worth making: you delete the whole fucking account because of four videos? WTF Vimeo.

Update 28 August

So a few more back-and-forth emails with my new best buddy Jordan. It seems highly unlikely I’ll get the account back. I did manage to finally get hold of the CSV file with titles, likes and views. In total, the 45+ videos on there had totalled 2.3 million views over the 7+ years I had the account. 2.3 million fucking views.

Jordan T. (Vimeo Trust & Safety)

Aug 26, 8:18 AM EDT

Hi Louise,

All four of the videos mentioned previously link back to to purchase the full video. advertises as a new and different kind of porn.

Here are the videos again: 

1) The Crush – Jiz Lee and Bishop Black. Trailer
2) See Me – Trailer
3) Immersed – Trailer
4) Devourable – Trailer

Your account was removed due to those violations of our Terms of Service and Guidelines, but we’re happy to provide a list of your videos, which we’ll send to the primary address on your account. The file you receive will contain the following information:

  • Video ID
  • Video title
  • Number of plays
  • Number of likes
  • Download link

If you’ve uploaded more than 5,000 videos you may receive multiple emails containing additional files, as each file can only hold a maximum of 5,000 rows.

You do have to download those videos individually, as there’s currently no method for batch downloading — sorry about any inconvenience that might cause.

NOTE: The links in the this spreadsheet will only be good for one week from the time it hits your inbox, so be sure to archive your videos within the next 7 days.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

So my reply:

Thank you for the CSV list.

Unfortunately it doesn’t contain the descriptions for each video, including the four that you say link to Bright Desire. My memory doesn’t fit with this but you are asserting that it does. I may be wrong. So I’d like to see the descriptions please. From what I recall, I never included an actual live link to Bright Desire in my videos which, in my understanding, was what I wasn’t allowed to do.

Beyond this, I’d ask again – why is Vimeo deleting the entire account consisting of 49 videos when only four (apparently) are a problem? Why do you not offer a warning or a strike system? You yourself have said the other videos are fine and do not constitute advertising according to Vimeo.

Louise Lush

Jordan T. (Vimeo Trust & Safety)

Aug 27, 8:05 AM EDT

Hi Louise,Unfortunately we can’t provide more information than what is in that CSV, but I can confirm that the four videos all linked back to to purchase the full videos.

Your account was removed due to those Terms of Service ( and Community Guideline ( violations.

Even if there were non-infringing videos on the account, those violations required the account’s removal.

We hope you find a platform that is better suited to your videos in the future, but we do not allow videos that advertise erotic services on our platform.

Jordan T.
Community Support Associate

So at this point it really looks like the account is lost. But fuck them. I’m going to keep pushing. Because they can’t seem to prove their assertion that I was advertising Bright Desire beyond Jordan repeatedly saying it in emails to me. And really, that’s pretty shit behaviour from this company.

Dear Jordan

You can’t provide the descriptions to me but you are simulaneously able to “confirm that the four videos all linked back to…” How are you able to confirm this?

If you can’t access the text accompanying the videos, where is this decision coming from?

And why won’t you provide this information to me to help me understand this decision?

Again, from memory I did not add a live link to the descriptions of my videos.

My Vimeo account was about 8 years old. From the CSV file I see it had a combined 2.3 million views. I am losing a lot here and it’s frustrating that this seems to be happening arbitrarily.

I ask again for the descriptions. I would also again respectfully ask for a chance to fix whatever you think is the problem and regain my account.

Louise Lush

I do think I’ve lost and I’m reconciled to that. I’ve now spent two days re-uploading files to my own host to replace embedded videos and also adding stuff to Youtube, dangerous as that may be. Youtube sucks but it’s a source of traffic and we’re all desperate here.

I’m madly trying to edit videos down into the tamest possible version. You never know what’s going to trip a censor. But Youtube’s guidelines don’t prohibit advertising porn sites. They DO prohibit videos produced for “the purposes of sexual gratification.” So long as nobody gets off on what you’re making, it’s OK. Hooray for the Nazis! They’re not sexy at all!