I’m not one to write pieces on or about Hollywood drama. In fact, I try to avoid it whenever possible. I enjoy a good action flick or dramatic thriller as much as the next guy. (And don’t even get me started on super hero movies.)
But when it comes to who-divorced-who or who’s in jail for smoking what drug, I honestly just don’t give a crap. Call me crazy, but I’ve never felt the need to indulge myself in the personal lives of the celebrities whose talents I admire. Frankly, I worry more about things like Harrison Ford’s leg injury halting production on “Star Wars: Episode VII.”
So last night when I read the headline “FBI, Apple begin inquiries into nude celebrity photo leaks,” on FOX NEWS, my eyes skipped right over it as I was more interested in “Guardians of the Galaxy Tops Labor Day, Summer Box Office.” (I saw it twice. It was that good.) Besides, nude celebrity photos are practically “leaked" every day in this country, right? Some film star is always suing some anonymous perverted Internet troll for photoshopping pornographic photos and plastering them all over the Web. (Remember the Korie Robertson controversy last year?)
But later, I saw a similar headline at The Washington Post: “Nude Celebrity Photos Leak, Fueling Privacy Worries.”
Ok, maybe FOX and The WP caught wind of the same gossip, I thought to myself.
Then the cover story on CNN: “FBI Investigating Nude Jennifer Lawrence Pics.”
Then Breitbart News. Then NBC NEWS. Then IDMB. Then TheBlaze. And on and on and on.
My journalistic curiosity got the better of me and, perhaps more influential, my love of Apple products. Not to mention, my appreciation for Jennifer’s Oscar-winning performance in “The Hunger Games” films.
Apparently she and several other actresses were the targets of a massive hacking campaign, one which managed to infiltrate and access Jennifer’s Apple iCloud account, where photos and other digital content from her cell phone were presumably backed up. The perverted thief stole dozens of photos of Jennifer, including topless and full frontal nude photos, and then dumped them online in the Web forum 4Chan for all the world to see late Sunday night. As expected, the Internet came to a screeching halt as the photos went viral and their authenticity was later confirmed by Lawrence’s attorney. According to FOX and The Washington Post, other actresses whose photos were also leaked include Ariana Grande, Victoria Justice, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Kate Upton, Leah Michele, Kirsten Dunst, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and several others.
Nickelodeon actress Victoria Justice quickly took to Twitter to claim that her photos were fake.
Mary Winstead responded as well — affirming in a roundabout way that hers are authentic.
In any case, the damage had been done.
Almost as quick as their replies was the criticism from countless people across social media condemning the actresses for taking the photos and/or allowing themselves to be photographed nude in the first place. “It’s your own damn fault for being so stupid.” seems to be the general consensus.
Sure, that’s a valid point. You shouldn’t take or send naked photos of yourself, much less leave them hanging in the Cloud for several months. I’m sure most of us can agree on that. I'll grant you that these actresses are not "innocent" as far as that is concerned. We can have an entire dialogue about appropriate behavior. But that's a post for a later time. So let’s keep a couple of things in perspective here.
First, you should really have no expectations of privacy in the world of cyber activity. Once you’ve texted, e-mailed, posted, uploaded, SnapChatted, shared or Tweeted some tidbit of information or image, it’s now accessible by anyone in the world who may happen to see it. Also, don’t store any photos or information on a Cloud server that you wouldn’t want a third party to see, no matter how encrypted or secure that server may be. If there’s one thing the Target data theft proved, it’s that these degenerate thieves are more skilled than ever before. Most smartphones allow you to choose which apps and what specific data you want to be backed up to the Cloud. You can customize these options in your settings menu. Remember, just because you delete something from your device, doesn’t mean it’s not still in the Cloud.
Secondly, and more importantly, I’ve seen a lot of Internet idiots laying the blame for this whole nightmare squarely at the feet of these humiliated actresses.
“This never would have happened had you chosen to exercise better judgment.”
Ok. I can agree with that. But only to an extent.
The whole reason these photos went viral overnight is because some sexually perverted lowlife degenerates decided it would be fun to find naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence and show them to the world. I’ll take a shot in the dark and say that these guys are probably porn addicts who were looking for late night jollies at the expense of actresses and their privacy.
So really, the conversation we need to have is about the moral decay of men and their views of women. In a world where over 66 percent of men are viewing pornography, is it really any surprise that these sort of “celeb photo leaks” happen all the time? Shouldn’t we be talking about the need for honorable, virtuous role models in the lives of young men? Shouldn’t we be talking about the role of fathers in training their sons how to respect and honor women? Holding them accountable for their actions?
It’s almost as if men are totally off the hook in this whole controversy because society expects us to act like sex-starved animals so eager to see naked women that we’ll do anything — even if it means hacking into one of the most secure cyber Cloud systems on the planet.
Honestly, I can’t blame society for thinking that, especially when you look at how quickly the photos circulated. I shudder to think how many men now have nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Mary Winstead and Kirsten Dunst saved to their laptops and phones. Thousands of men. Maybe millions. How many of them could be teens? Preteens? It’s disgusting. It’s pathetic. It’s reprehensible.
Unlike many of today’s youth, I was blessed with a father who taught me from an early age what it means to be a man of integrity. I suppose it helps that I’m the son of a pastor. This isn’t to say that I’m perfect or that I’m immune to immoral thoughts or actions. I’m not. No one is. But I’ll say this to all the dads out there — you don’t need a theology degree to teach your sons how and why we should respect women. My dad didn’t need his expert knowledge of Greek and Hebrew to tell my brother and I to hold the Cracker Barrel door open for my sister, my mom and the three random women walking in behind us. And my brother and I didn’t need dad's help later in life to know we should open the car door for our girlfriends when we picked them up for a date. Or help the elderly lady at Walmart load her groceries into her car.
We learned by example. The example my father set. The example he still sets to this day.
If we had more men in this world who would lead and teach real values, teach that women are human beings and not sex objects, maybe we wouldn’t see as many of these so-called “sex scandals.”
The moral decay is what has to be overcome. That’s the real problem.
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