September 2, 2014

#Celebgate is Revenge Porn and Sexual Harassment

In a massive celebrity photo leak, more than one hundred female celebrities have had their private, nude photos leaked online. Victims of this mass sexual exploitation include Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, Rihanna, Kate Upton, and Kirsten Dunst and many others. Some of the photos have been authenticated by their owners, others are allegedly faked. Either way, this extensive release of images is revenge porn with a noticeable absence of male victims.

The leak went public over Labor Day weekend on 4chan, an imageboard website based on anonymity. The photos were then passed around the link sharing website Reddit.

The photos were not intended for public use, especially since the hacker(s) took great pains to access them through Apple’s iCloud.

The victims of this sex crime did not consent to sexual exploitation. The perpetrators took advantage of the victims’ notoriety and celebrity, already sexualized by the media. Whoever sought out and uploaded these images did it for the purpose of creating online porn and to humiliate these women. This is the essence of revenge porn. This is sexual harassment.

In response to the media referring to these events as a “scandal,” Forbes contributor Scott Mendelson wrote “The story itself should not be addressed as if it were a scandal, but rather what it is: A sex crime involving theft of personal property and the exploitation of the female body… We focus on the supply-side, with an emphasis on the things that women must do to ‘stay safe’ instead of focusing on lessening men’s ‘demand’ to view women as purely a disposable commodity.”

The media should stop blaming these victims for the crime simply because they took the private pictures themselves, and instead should encourage the public to respect the dignity and wishes of these women by not seeking out or viewing the photos.

COMMENTS FROM CELEBRITIES:

viewfinders-11“To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves,” actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead tweeted. “Knowing those photos were deleted long ago, I can only imagine the creepy effort that went into this.”

“This is a flagrant violation of privacy,” a Jennifer Lawrence spokesperson said. “The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence.”

Actor Lucas Neff tweeted “Stealing someone’s naked photos is the same as tearing someone’s clothes off in public. It’s sexual assault.”

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

1.  Do not look at these photos yourselves
2.  Post on your social media channels that this is revenge porn and
sexual harassment. Encourage your networks to also refrain from viewing or seeking out these photos
3.  Comment on any news stories you see that this is revenge porn and sexual harassment

Further Reading