It started on the picture-sharing site 4chan – which allows for anonymous posting – and since has skyrocketed to the most-searched about thing on the web: a claim that the phones of more than 60 celebrities have been hacked. While hacking celebrity phones is nothing new, the sheer volume of this hack demands attention. Oh yeah, and the files that were hacked were sexually explicit photos of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and dozens of others.
Some celebrities like Nickelodeon stars like Arianna Grande and Victoria Justice have asserted that the images are fakes, but representatives for Kate Upton and Jennifer Lawrence confirmed to Buzzfeed that the pictures are authentic. Mary Elizabeth Winstead confirmed the pictures of her were real on her Twitter, saying “To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves.”
However, unlike when Scarlett Johansson’s cell phone photos leak, along with this pic-dump – dubbed by those on the internet as “The Fappening,” – there has been a virulent backlash against the leaker and along with any good story about this leak (such as this one – Editors) there it’s been pointed out that sharing or downloading these pictures is a huge violation of these women.
Originally the leak supposedly happened through Apple’s iCloud service and, according to Gizmodo.com, there was some code that was posted to hacker websites that was “swiftly patched by Apple [Monday] at 3:20 am PT.” Before the patch, users could use “brute force” to discover iCloud pictures because of a “flaw in Find my iPhone” that they were unable to use after it.
While many feminist thinkers – from Lena Dunham to the editorial staff at Jezebel – say that these photos are indicative of male privilege run amok on the internet, I’d argue it’s something different. With the rise of the celebrity gossip industry and that the paparazzi are simultaneously our culture’s most reviled and highest paid photographers out there, this is just more of the same.
Still whatever you believe about this leak, there is no question that it is a violation and despicable. While the urge to look them up (even under the guise of “reporting the story) was strong, I resisted it and I urge you, dear readers, to resist it as well. Don’t feed this particular beast, because if young and lovely flesh is what you are looking for there are other alternatives.
UPDATE: Apple has released a statement saying that they are investigating the leaks and that none of the cases so far seem to have been because of a flaw in iCloud or Find My iPhone. They say they are “continuing to work with law enforcement officials” as they conduct their own investigations.