I’m tired of hearing the media and people talk about this story as if it was a scandal instead of what it really is: A sex crime story involving the exploitation of the female body. A crime story where everyone viewing the nude photos of Lawrence and the ‘100 other celebrities’ is participating in sexual harassment. Because we don’t have their consent to view those images, therefore we are just as wrong as the perpetuator for stealing, sharing and viewing digital content that doesn’t belong to us.
Some are blaming iCloud. Spiderman star Kirsten Dunst was the first of the victims to criticize Apple in public by tweeting ‘Thank you iCloud’ followed by icons representing a slice of pizza and a pile of poo.
Apple on Tuesday denied that its online systems had been breached. The tech giant said certain accounts were compromised by “a very targeted attack on usernames, passwords and security questions.”
But we all know the Internet and privacy simply don’t go together. Anyone who thinks iCloud is completely private is naïve. We need to focus on the main issue of this whole controversy: the Internet’s insatiable appetite for porn, viral news and images of sexy or cute things and the exploitation of the female body without concern of privacy, dignity or real life impact.
I’ll begin by pointing out that these celebrities are not victims of an ‘online leak’ which happens in the politics and business world. An Internet leak is a situation in which information that is not yet ready for release to the general public is suddenly made available such as tracks from an upcoming music release or scenes from an upcoming movie. But that’s not what happened here. The images were stolen by a thief. It seems like changing the name of a repulsive action makes us feel better about it. Sadly, most news outlets and social media users are using this term.
I really hope Jennifer Lawrence and the other victims don’t take any responsibility or apologize for anything. We are wrong if we think that celebrities should expect to be desired simply for being in the public eye. You may also argue that it’s not a very smart thing to do to save nude pictures on a cell phone, but again, that’s not the issue. These celebrities are victims of a crime. Theft is theft, regardless of how safe or unsafe it is to have an iCloud account. It’s just as if someone breaks into my house and steals my decorative picture frames and photo albums. And the act of publishing those photos that were intended for private use is the same as pawning a stolen item.
Jennifer Lawrence didn’t send us the photos with the message “hey baby, I’m thinking of you 😉 ”. It’s more than obvious that we don’t have her consent, so therefore we don’t have the right to see them. And if we’re viewing them, then we’re participating in sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment sounds ugly I know, but we should be ashamed to view someone’s private sexual images without their consent. How sad it was for me to hear so many people talking about this story without concern for privacy, dignity or real life impact… as if it was a scandal provoked by the victims. Even more sad to think about all those people who used or are using the photos for selfish sexual gratification.
You might not want to agree because unfortunately we live in a society where we love to shame women for being sexual. But it’s plain simple. Lawrence and the other victims owned digital content and it was stolen and published.