Of walking abortion.
Loser / liar / fake or phoney, no one cares / everyone is guilty / fucked up, dunno why, you poor little boy
Do you really need me to point out the almost myriad hypocrisies, ironies and contradictions involved in the new and old media coverage of the leaked celebrity pictures, or "the fappening", as it was quickly christened (please don't ask me to explain what fapping is, as if you either don't know or can't guess we'll all be better off in the long run)? Probably not. The most obvious, as this blog is nothing if not obvious, was running articles about how so much as looking at the pictures is to perpetuate the abuse, a position in itself which has been examined and argued over, addressed in horror films, pornography and often come up found wanting, while at the same time hosting news stories explaining precisely where it was you needed to go if you wanted to find them. If indeed, dear reader, you had not already sought them out, had them posted in your social media timeline or found out about them on a forum or elsewhere. The BBC's report last night even included a picture of the front page of the site in question, for crying out loud.
Instead, let's start off with some of the basic inaccuracies which are still appearing in many of the articles on the leak. Some give the impression that stolen images of around 100 celebrities have been posted. They have not, or haven't been as yet. Rather, a list of the names of around 100 celebrities/famous women was posted alongside the images, with the implication being that if images/videos of them hadn't been released, they would be shortly, or could be as on some forums the poster was asking for bitcoins to be paid to their account, whereafter they would then release more images. Instead, images of around 25 celebrities have been released, not all of which are explicit, and in some cases there have only been one or two pictures of the celebrity posted. By far the largest caches were of files stolen/hacked from either the iClouds or phones of Ali Michael and Kate Upton, or to be precise in Upton's case, from her partner Justin Verlander's account. Contrary to some of the reports, there have been no images posted of Rhianna, Kim Kardashian or Scarlett Johansson to name but three, despite their appearing on the list. Simply down to how their names are among the most recognisable, they seem to have been included. All three have also had explicit images and or videos leaked in the past, which might have added to the confusion.
The main problem has been that as of yet we still don't definitively know how the images were acquired, what method was used or whether there was a "gang" in the real sense involved or rather just a few individuals who then swapped files with each other. The most compelling explanation for how the leak happened so far is there was a group of people who individually had gained access to the cloud accounts of celebrities, who then started exchanging their finds with others who had also managed to "rip" the accounts of famous women. To gain access to more of the cache you had to provide new material, or "wins".
Whether one of these individuals then went rogue, or gave the files to a friend, on Sunday afternoon a thread was posted on a well known image board that contained most of the pictures since available everywhere. Others were posted later on Sunday, with a couple of new images shared on Monday, but there's been nothing since. This could mean there's nothing else to release, the list of names was a masturbatory fabrication, and that screengrabs of folders containing censored thumbnails of as yet unreleased further images/videos posted were also fake, or that in time they will also be leaked. What we do know is that on other boards prior to last Sunday there had been people saying they could rip iCloud accounts in exchange for either other images or bitcoins, and also talk of specific celebrities, of whom images were then leaked. Whether as Apple claims an exploit wasn't used, and this was "hacking" of the old, brute force method, with an element of "social engineering" (which in the context of phone hacking we called blagging), also isn't as yet fully clear.
If there wasn't then enough dissonance around how it happened, there's much, more more about the ethics of all concerned. It would be easier to just say we're all guilty, and we are, but that doesn't begin to cover it. Obviously, the hacking itself is reprehensible; the images and videos leaked are the personal, intensely private and intimate record of the celebrities' lives. At the same time however, that doesn't make the crime any worse than ripping the accounts of ordinary people in the search for explicit images, or a bitter, jealous ex-boyfriend or girlfriend posting the images shared with them in confidence, as part of a relationship, as "revenge". The FBI have got involved entirely down to whom the victims are; if they were to do so in every case of "revenge porn" they wouldn't have time to keep entrapping American Muslims.
As we have to accept, once something is online it's incredibly difficult to get it removed. The European Court of Justice ruling on the "right to be forgotten", as welcome in principle as it is, will be and has already been abused by the rich and famous. The argument is often made in the case of child abuse images, to so much as seek them out is to abuse that child and to encourage the people who produced that image to abuse others. This is questionable when child pornography is not made to order; it is not marketed or produced by an industry; it is made by abusers for abusers yes, but once out in the wild it does not as porn does, make stars out of those depicted in it; quite the contrary in fact. The more people who view it, the more likely it is the child will be rescued or the perpetrators will be caught. This is why, unlike with ordinary porn, images that have existed for decades are still exchanged far more often than newly produced material is. Vintage porn is a niche for those who get nostalgic for the so-called "golden age", in fact a time when despite the higher production values, the women were treated abysmally and the industry was riddled with criminals and chancers. There are still instances of both today, but nowhere near to the same extent.
When explicit images of the already famous or the almost famous are leaked, it can go one of two ways. It can make the person even more famous, such as in the case of the aforementioned Kim Kardashian, or it can ruin them, destroying their career, resilience and confidence. Despite the initially supportive reaction when an explicit video of Tulisa Contostavlos was posted online, she was then targeted by Mazher Mahmood, in a despicable instance of someone already down on their luck being abused to sell newspapers. By the same token, the newspapers and news sites pretending to be disgusted and outraged by this most base invasion of privacy fall over themselves to buy long-lens shots of celebrities either in bikinis or topless on holiday, and fill their columns with instances of "side-boob" or "wardrobe malfunctions", when that is the paparazzi aren't sticking their cameras right up the skirts of starlets. They ridicule their fashion sense, or alternatively praise them when they get it "right". Not so long ago Emma Watson tweeted a photo of her make-up bag, filled with all the beauty products she uses to get the "perfect" look demanded of her, the kind of quiet act of rebellion that ought to shame those invested at every level of the fame game and surrounding culture, but doesn't.
There is something additionally transgressive in seeing the famous as they want their partners to see them, rather than the public, just as some of it also as much about the modern need to record everything. Taking naked self-shots has become entirely ordinary; when Jennifer Lawrence also does, an actress who doesn't so much as have a Twitter account, the urge to see behind the facade is easy to understand. The vast majority of the stars also have nothing to be embarrassed about, beyond how they will undoubtedly blame themselves for not realising their photos were in the cloud, or their passwords weren't secure enough, regardless of how it's not their fault. The more explicit images of Lawrence circulating are not her; the ones that are simply show a beautiful young woman, confident in her sexuality. Only those she trusted should have seen them; it would be a further abuse if this was to shatter that confidence.
The hope has to be none of those caught up in the leak suffer a similar fate to Contostavlos, victory over Mahmood in court notwithstanding, although frankly it's difficult not to fear for Jessica Brown Findlay, something best left at that. Looking at or for the outré, the unusual, is normal; it's when it goes beyond that into the unhealthy, the obsessional, the genuinely degrading and abusive that we have to worry and make judgements.