Gay Band Running Out Of Space

Kids On TV
For one gay punk band, it’s MySpace: the final frontier.
Like so many struggling, independent artists, Toronto-based Kids on TV can’t live without this cyber-venue for the networking and freebie advertising it affords.
But, as with any relationship, dependence has its downside: the Kids have become slaves to MySpace. They’re at the mercy of its sensitive cyber censors and are nervous their setup could be yanked at any time.
The band, which encourages a “pro-sex culture” without archaic 20th-century “hang-ups” about sex, has three pages up and running right now.
Band members are trying to triple their luck of staying alive on MySpace, after their flagship page was spontaneously deleted a couple of weeks ago. Kerr says the pages show the same material as the original.
They’re plastered with pictures of band members wrapped in tin foil and men in tight underwear.
“We’re afraid, we’re nervous, but we need MySpace to survive,” says band member Scott Kerr, also known by his stage name, Minus Smile.
“It allows us to reach people we would never normally be able to reach. Our label can’t fund us. We do our own promotion, we don’t have the budget for anything else.
“It’s like an electric shock to find it’s gone.”
On March 1, on the eve of the band’s six-week European tour, the Kids on TV MySpace page, which was up and running smoothly for two years, was taken down – just like that, out of nowhere.
“We got an email telling us it was gone,” Kerr says. “We lost contact with everyone … we were cut off from 14,000 friends. We had no way of contacting people we were doing business with. It was all gone.”
Kerr says the page didn’t have any nude pictures and wasn’t doing anything other pages are, such as plastering pictures of young women making pouty faces and throwing alluring stares out at viewers.
He guesses it may have been deleted because of complaints by MySpace members viewing the page or because of the concept as a whole.
“People complain about the message of our page,” Kerr says, noting the page celebrates gay culture and urges people to shed their sexual inhibitions.
After repeated attempts to find out why their page was trashed, the Kids set up a “censorship” page on MySpace, encouraging others who’d also been dumped to speak up.
“We were expecting to get all stripes of people,” he says.
They only got stories of deletion and woe from gay artists. But Kerr believes that may be “statistical gay bashing,” which isn’t actually a crime. Some gay pages may have more “sexually suggestive” material, which is a no-no, according to the MySpace terms of use.
After repeated attempts by the Star to get in touch with MySpace, a communications official emailed a brief response, saying the Internet host is investigating the Kids on TV incident.
According to a form email sent to Kids in response to the band’s repeated queries, MySpace says the page was deleted because it was in violation of the terms of use, which prohibits “sexually suggestive imagery,” nudity, violence and “offensive subject matter.”
Kerr is concerned about MySpace’s procedures of pulling the plug on a page without warning.
The terms of use are broad, he says, and aside from publishing adult lyrics to songs such as “C–k Wolf,” he hasn’t crossed the lines of decorum.
Kids won’t say what their next move is or whether they’re considering litigation.
“We’re no different than any other (page),” Kerr says.
“In our case, we did play by the rules. It’s not to raise a fuss. It’s just to survive.”
from The Star

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