By Elizabeth Logan. Photos: Getty Images.
After rumors started spreading online that private photos of Emma Watson and Amanda Seyfried were hacked, a spokesperson for Watson confirmed to The Telegraph that, yes, pictures of the actress were stolen. But, the rep clarified, they were not nudes. In fact, the pictures in question are "from a clothes fitting Emma had with a stylist a couple of years ago." Watson's rep also told The Telegraph that lawyers have been contacted.
Unfortunately, this is just the latest wave of photo theft. Back in 2014, as you may remember, was the year of "The Fappening," when dozens of celebrities' nude or partially-nude pictures were leaked online, including those of Gabrielle Union and Jennifer Lawrence. The perpetrator has since been sentenced to prison, but countless others have sprung up in his place, often using hacking to punish women who speak out against exactly this behavior, like Watson did. After she decried the invasion of privacy and spoke at the UN, Watson was inundated with threats of a nude photo leak. It never happened, but trolls, it would seem, have now found something to circulate with these images from a fitting.
This is a good time to remind everyone that private photos should never see the light of day, no matter what is captured in it. Even looking at leaked pictures is never OK. It doesn't matter that you didn't do the hacking yourself, and it doesn't matter that you're not paying for the pictures. You have no right to view these images.
Every click and every download creates a demand for more leaks, but let's say your friend offers to just text you naked pictures of a celebrity. Can you take a peak, just out of curiosity, and still be a good feminist/ally? No, you cannot. This isn't like listening to a leaked album (something that was eventually meant for public consumption) or checking out paparazzi pictures (when celebrities are in public and know they might be photographed). This is something closer to if a creep climbed into your neighbor's bedroom, hid in her closet, got pictures of her getting undressed, and then volunteered to show them to you. It doesn't make a difference if the creep took the pictures or found them buried in her sock drawer; they aren't the creep's to give out.
Watson and Seyfried are the victims of a crime—namely, theft—and if you consume what was stolen, you are an accomplice. Don't hide behind the first amendment here, either, or claim journalistic intent. There is no news value in a young actress trying on clothes, and you're free to publish art you make, not art you stole.
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
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