Thanks for removing my photo from your website, TechCrunch, and what a tyrant doesn’t look like

SCOTUS APRIL 2015 LGBTQ 54663 (View on

I don’t charge to use my photos, and I also don’t allow them to be used in an environment of homophobia or harassment. I’m a little surprised that TechCrunch is in this class of publications; nevertheless, after initially thanking them and then working with them later I had no choice but to terminate the license to use the photograph above due to tolerance of homophobia and harassment in the comments.

As with the other (very small in number) times I’ve revoked licenses to use my photos, the team was very courteous and professional, & I thank them for understanding and respecting my right to control the way my work is used.

For those who say it’s the norm for comment sections to allow this type of discourse, it’s actually not. Many publications, like The Washington Post and Harvard Business Review, for example, are very responsive to queries and manage comment sections carefully, I’ve kept track of this space as well. See: Reading the comments and writing some. Thoughts on ending transphobia

I’m attaching our message exchange below, to have it in the record.

I’m also including another photograph from my collection below, because in the comments attached to the TechCrunch article, there was repeated reference to LGBTQ people asking for equal right as “tyrants.” By that definition, this is what a tyrant probably looked like to some a generation ago.

Rosa Parks Collection Library of Congress 53073
What some people probably said a tyrant looked like a generation ago … Rosa Parks Collection Library of Congress 53073 (View on

And, my photo is now removed, thanks again TechCrunch.

What you permit, you promote; It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.

On Nov 8, 2017, at 12:18 PM, ________ <_______> wrote:

The photo has been removed.

On Wed, Nov 8, 2017 , Ted Eytan < --------- > wrote:


Following up. It’s a week later, I went to review the comments again and I don’t see any change.

Since we’re both busy people the best way for us to amicably part ways is for me to terminate your license to use my photo, which I’m doing via this message:

License to use my photograph is terminated. Please remove my photo immediately from this post

and let me know when it’s down. I’ll set a reminder to check in a few days just in case.

Thanks for understanding that i can’t have my work attached to homophobia/harassment of LGBTQ human beings.

I’ll post on this incident on my blog and include this other photo from my collection under the heading “what a tyrant looks like”


All the best.



Ted Eytan, MD MS MPH (“he, him”)
Washington, DC USA

probably sent while walking | #pushforpronouns

On Nov 1, 2017, ________ <_______> wrote:

Thanks – we’ll re-examine the comments.

On Wed, Nov 1, 2017, Ted Eytan wrote:

Hi ——-, (moving everyone else to Bcc, you’re all busy :)).

Thanks for engaging and looking at things differently than I perceive you are.

So…comments that refer to gay people as sick still remain. And this one at the bottom pretty much sums up what’s going on:

“Lol. People asking to have their basic human rights respected is “tyranny.” This comment section is so deep in the closet Aslan can’t find it.”

I agree with this commenter. Imagine a gay/trans youth reading this section and watching commenter _________ being shut down at every turn and having LGBTQ people referred to as tyrants, even if by other LGBTQ people. These leave an impression, they are triggering, and this is not civil discourse. If we substituted the words “African American” in these comments would you tolerate them?

Give it a try and get back to me. I’d be happy to float this comment diatribe to 10 LGBTQ people and get their opinions, but on the other hand, why should I – when it’s the minority group that’s forced to defend themselves at every turn rather than those who want to keep them invisible, that’s the statement you’re making about your openness to inclusion.



Ted Eytan, MD MS MPH (“he, him”)
Washington, DC USA

probably sent while walking | #pushforpronouns

On Oct 31, 2017, ________ <_______> wrote:


Thanks for reaching out. Are there particular comments you have issue with? If so, please let us know which ones. We want to make sure people can openly discuss their views in our comments, but when comments get threatening, vulgar, etc, we are happy to step in.


On Tue, Oct 31, 2017, ——– < [email protected]> wrote:

​Hi there,

I understand your concern. You did the right thing by writing in to us–Facebook may provide us with our commenting widget but our community policies and theirs are not one and the same. When I got your note, I reached out to our social team who told me that the offending comment had been removed over the weekend. Pardon any confusion, but based on the screenshot you sent, it seemed that you were inquiring about one particularly glaring comment, which you highlighted with a red arrow. That said, we do take these matters seriously. I am adding Travis, who leads our audience development/social efforts and who can assist further (this email address is intended for addressing technical issues on the site, which is the realm that I handle.)


On Tue, Oct 31, 2017, Ted Eytan wrote:


I appreciate that the one comment was removed, however, if you look at the thread, that is not the only problem.

There is clearly a person in the dialogue that is being mercilessly attacked for their stance on LGBTQ Equality, which is essentially allowing harassment and homophobia.

Because I believe you are acting in good faith, I am not going to revoke your license to use my photo this time; however, I’d like you to take another look and let me know how you will handle situations like this in the future and what your stance is on these situations.

I will likely post this dialogue on my blog (including the screen shots below) to raise awareness of this continual problem of non-enforcement of harassment in comments related to LGBTQ stories among certain publications (as well as some that do not tolerate this, like The Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, etc etc, etc, etc).

And by the way, I used the reporting mechanism via Facebook to report that specific one and facebook wrote me back to say they were going to leave it up – so much for anti-harrassment. It would be helpful if you would make it more clear how people are suppose to report individual comments.

From a health and well-being perspective, these things matter, people see others being harassed learn how you feel about them – “what you permit, you promote” – many thanks, happy to dialogue further.



Ted Eytan, MD MS MPH (“he, him”)
Washington, DC USA

probably sent while walking | #pushforpronouns

On Oct 30, 2017, ______ <______> wrote:

This comment was removed after you wrote this message (and before I had an opportunity to read the message). We do our best to moderate comments as quickly as possible, but sometimes things get through for a bit due to the sheer volume and the small staff. We are sorry about that, thanks for bringing to our attention.

On Fri, Oct 27, 2017, Ted Eytan wrote:

Ahoy TechCrunch!

I am a fan and reader of your site, and thank you for using my photograph to adorn this post about LGBTQ equality:

The article is balanced and fair.

However, the comments below it, in my opinion violate your anti-harrassment policy. I couldn’t find a link to your comments policy (if you can steer me that would be great) hence the message to both email addresses.

I will report them as spam and I would also like you to review them and remove them if you agree, or provide an explanation if you do not agree. Screen shots attached.

My photograph is creative commons licensed for your use, however, I would revoke the license if I feel it is being used to promote un-loving attitudes toward other humans.

As Dale Carnegie once quoted: “If the author doesn’t like people,” he said, “people won’t like his or her stories.” – we’re all here to help people like each other and your work.

Please advise, I will blog a thank you for using the photo in the meantime (and adjust as needed). Have a great day 🙂

1 Comment

It’s not just your bold, clear, and considerate stand (always teaching, you are); it’s how generously you blog it all as an example for all of us.

What you permit, you promote

As I said on Twitter (I think), I’ve never heard it said that way, and it’s so great.

Ted Eytan, MD