The Shade Room is a celebrity gossip site that publishes straight to social media, notably Instagram. The New York Times Magazine has dubbed it "Instagram's TMZ," and it has more than 700,000 followers. But on Monday, Instagram shut it down — mistakenly, it says.
"We wrongly removed an account in this case and worked to fix the error as soon as we learned of it. We apologize for the mistake," Instagram explained in a prepared statement to BuzzFeed News. Company spokespeople would not respond to further questions seeking clarification.
The account was later back online, with a new username.
The shutdown appears to be related to Natalie Nunn, star of the reality TV show Bad Girls Club. On Sunday, The Shade Room published a photo of Nunn with a man other than her husband (with whom she'd recently appeared on Marriage Boot Camp) along with a user-submitted allegation that she was cheating on him.
Several screenshots of Nunn commenting on The Shade Room's Instagram page have subsequently surfaced in which she reportedly claimed to be reporting the account to Instagram. These made the rounds on social media and The Shade Room's Twitter and Facebook accounts. However, BuzzFeed News was unable to confirm the authenticity and provenance of the screenshots.
While The Shade Room is still publicly available on the web, Facebook, and Twitter, it began on Instagram and that is still where its presence is most strongly felt. "The format is nimble and lightweight," Jenna Wortham wrote in The New York Times Magazine, "allowing [The Shade Room] to publish stories that are newsworthy only within the context of the stream."
The anonymous proprietor of The Shade Room has not responded to requests for comment from BuzzFeed News.