Celebrity Phone Hacking is not a Scandal

(originally printed September 3rd, 2014, in the Florida Independent Alligator opinions section)
In recent days and weeks, a number of female celebrities have had their phones hacked, which has resulted in private nude pictures of them being plastered far and wide across the Internet.

Targets of these illegal and invasive hackings include Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Almost as soon as the photographs were posted, the photos and related gossip spread alarmingly quickly online. Popular opinion regarding these phone hackings, which regards the invasion of these celebrities’ privacy as a “scandal,” is frankly disgraceful.

The intentional, malicious hacking of any person’s phone and distribution of their private content is a crime and a form of sexual harassment, not a scandal or a juicy piece of shocking celebrity gossip.

The celebrities in these nude photos did not bring this upon themselves. When gossip websites and TV shows refer to these leaks as part of a “scandal,” it implies that these women consensually shared their photos on the Internet, which is clearly false. It implies that the victims of these actions have done something distasteful and should apologize for their own actions, as celebrities have done for leaked nude photos in the past. However, no matter what your opinion is on individuals taking and sharing nude photographs, the appearance of these photos on the Internet is not the fault of the women who had their privacy and sexual activity violated.

In modern America’s rape culture, which has infected the way we see issues of assault and abuse, there is a terrifying expectation that women, and people in general, are responsible for protecting themselves from abuse.
The focus has largely shifted away from creating pressure not to abuse others in the first place…

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By Sally Greider

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