Pop Culture Shock: Blame the photo leakers, not the celebs

MOVE columnist McKenna Bulkley on the insane celebrity nude photo scandal.

Remember when there was that huge Target scandal about credit card information? Up to 70 million people had their personal and credit card information breached in December of last year. People were rightly outraged. Target apologized profusely, and to make up for it, offered a free year of credit monitoring to those who registered.

No one blamed the consumers for having their information stolen. It was private information that wasn’t supposed to be accessed or shared. No one said, “Well that’s what you get for having a debit card.” It wasn’t the victims’ faults they had a crime committed against them. They aren’t to blame for having something personal digitally taken from them and shared.

So why aren’t we reacting the same way we did then, now?

On Aug. 31, nude photos of quite a few celebrities were leaked on 4chan. Those were personal photos stolen from celebrities’ computers and shared across the Internet. Which is not only really, really, really messed up, it’s also illegal.

So why is it that we’re telling victims of the scam it’s their fault? Media outlets like People Magazine are blaming victims of the leak, such as Jennifer Lawrence and Lea Michele, for taking nude photos at all. We shouldn’t tell people they can’t do something just in case someone steals it. No one tells you not to buy diamond earrings because they might get stolen –– especially if you keep them in your private home, somewhere you consider to be safe.

Instead of telling people they can’t take nude photos, we should be teaching people not to be jerks who steal private property and then distribute it all across the Internet. Because now, these photos are out there forever, to be downloaded and scrutinized and shared over and over again. Victims of the leak are forever going to be judged by these photos, and there’s not much they can do about it other than some very drawn-out legal action that won’t stop the photos from being passed around the internet.

And we want to tell them they deserved it for taking private photos? Celebrities were just supposed to know that Perez Hilton was going to link to the photos on his Twitter account for his 5.9 million followers to see and download? They should have been aware something like this could happen?

Maybe it’s just me, but I think celebrities have enough to worry about without also worrying that their computers or iCloud accounts are going to be hacked and their private photos stolen. And when has something of this magnitude happened before? There was no way to see this kind of thing coming, considering most leaks of the past were simply pictures sent to untrustworthy people.

Also, I can’t shake the feeling that there’s some pretty deep-rooted sexism going on here, which is not cool at all. When Dylan Sprouse had nude photos leaked, we applauded him for handling such a terrible situation with humor and maturity while simultaneously shaming the terrible person who would do such a thing as to leak someone’s private photos all over the Internet. That’s exactly what we should be doing in this situation. Just because this leak involves women doesn’t mean we should be shaming them about their bodies and telling them they “deserved it.”

So, guys, I have a really big favor to ask of you. Don’t look for these pictures. If you have them, please delete them –– pronto. They aren’t ours to see. I’m sure the temptation to see them is great, but it’s disrespectful and it’s just plain wrong to go looking for them. We have hundreds and sometimes thousands of photos of celebrities to look at. Paparazzi follow these people everywhere they go. We don’t need to violate celebrity privacy any further by trying to see these private and personal ones that were never actually meant for our eyes.

More Stories