The Little Mermaid
Artist: Edvard Eriksen
Date of Action: January 2016
Confronting Bodies: Facebook
Description of Artwork: The Little Mermaid is a bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen, depicting a mermaid becoming human. Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, the sculpture is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark. It has become a symbol of the Danish capital and a major tourist attraction.
The Incident: Danish parliamentarian Mette Gjerskov party announced in January 2016 on her Facebook page that the social network had stopped her from uploading an image of Eriksen's statue, calling the censorship “more than comical.”
“The Little Mermaid is simply too undressed for Facebook,” she wrote. “I cannot advertise for my blog because TV2 chose the mermaid as the [main image]. I hadn’t seen it coming that our national treasure would be categorized on the same level as child pornography and that sort of abomination.”
Results of Incident: In a later post, Gjerskov announced that Facebook reversed the decision. However, she lamented the fact that the public Danish broadcaster TV2 removed the image from her blog over copyright regulations.
“TV2 has removed the Little Mermaid from my blog because it risks a large bill due to the copyright. It turns out that you can’t publish photos of our national treasure without generous payment to the artist’s heirs. It’s the law—which parliament adopted.”