In 2014, Jennifer Lawrence was one of several individuals, mostly celebrities, whose personal photographs were stolen through an email phishing scheme and then subsequently released and distributed on forums like 4chan and Reddit.
In an interview with Vogue, Jennifer Lawrence spoke once again about the after-effects of the iCloud leak that featured her intimate photographs.
“It’s scary when you feel the whole world judges you,” Lawrence said in the Vogue interview, which was released on Wednesday. “I think people saw [the hacking] for what it was, which was a sex crime, but that feeling, I haven’t been able to get rid of it. Having your privacy violated constantly isn’t a problem if you’re perfect. But if you’re human, it’s terrifying. When my publicist calls me, I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, what is it?’ Even when it’s nothing. I’m always waiting to get blindsided again.”
Revenge porn and J-Law
Her recent comments were far from the first time Lawrence has spoken about the leak. In a 2014 interview with Vanity Fair, Lawrence called the incident “a sex crime.” Lawrence also said that anyone who viewed the photos was, to an extent, culpable in that crime. “It is a sexual violation,” she continued. “It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change.”
But the fact that Lawrence remains affected by the leak to this day demonstrates how harmful the act of releasing someone else’s private photographs can be. The leak bears more than a passing resemblance to revenge porn, or the act of publishing an ex-partner’s intimate photos online, sans permission, as an act of retaliation.
The effects of revenge porn can be devastating. Victims may feel forced to quit their jobs, change schools, or even take their own lives. Fortunately, there are ways to legally condemn those who post revenge porn- doing so is illegal in 38 states and Washington, D.C. In states like Kansas and New Hampshire, posting revenge porn a felony.
Lifting the stigma
In the Vanity Fair interview, Lawrence recalled feeling as though she had to make a statement apologizing to fans after the pictures leaked. But she eventually concluded that she had nothing to apologize for. “I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years,” Lawrence said. “It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.”
And data proves that Lawrence is shockingly not the only young person to feel the need to send nudes. Despite the stigma attached to sending nude or sexual pictures over the internet or text message, exchanging such photos is a behavior that around 33% of people aged 20-26 have engaged in. It’s worth noting that when these photographs leaked in 2014, Jennifer Lawrence had just turned 24.
A recent survey conducted by the Kinsey Institute found that 67% of the people polled had sexted. One researcher concluded that “incorporating tech into our bedroom lives is becoming normal—sexting may be becoming a new, but typical, step in a sexual or romantic relationship.
Jennifer Lawrence is still, by her own admission, reeling from being violated, exposed to millions of people for doing something that many, maybe even the majority, of sexually active people have done before. So when she calls for policy changes to secure her safety, we would do well to listen.