Man Loses 14 Years of Work When Google Deletes His Blog

Dennis Cooper's misfortune is raising new censorship concerns
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2016 3:09 PM CDT
Artist Loses 14 Years of Work When Google Deletes His Blog
An acclaimed artist says he lost 14 years of work when Google took down his blog last month.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Artist Dennis Cooper made a horrifying discovery June 27: His 14-year-old blog—the sole home of his experimental writing, research, photographs, and more—was gone, Art Forum reports. According to Fusion, Cooper's blog was hosted by Google-owned Blogger, and those headed to are greeted with the message, "Sorry, the blog at has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs." It's not all he lost: Google also deactivated his Gmail account, which held his contacts and gig offers, the Guardian reports. The only explanation Google gave Cooper, who considers his blog a "serious work of mine," was a stock message that he was in "violation of the terms of service agreement."

Cooper on Saturday wrote on Facebook that despite numerous efforts to communicate with Google, it "remains completely silent, not a comment, response, explanation, nothing." Google has apparently made one comment, to Fusion, saying only it is "aware of this matter." The incident is raising concerns among the art community about the power Google and other corporations now have to control artistic voices. "I think this is definitely censorship. The problem is nobody knows what the specific issue is and certainly Dennis has posted images that one might find troubling,” Stuart Comer, curator at MoMA, tells the Guardian, which notes Cooper's blog featured an adult content warning. All Cooper knows is that other artists need to learn from him and "back everything up," something he did not do, meaning he has lost, among other things, a gif novel he's been writing for seven months. A petition is asking Google to restore the blog. (More censorship stories.)

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