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The "Emma You Are Next" site can't be dismissed only as a lulzy prank; it's an assault on the civil rights of women [UPDATED: Hoaxer revealed]

Emma Watson, U.N. Women Global Goodwill Ambassador
Emma Watson, U.N. Women Global Goodwill Ambassador

UPDATE 2: See here for my updated take on the hoax.

UPDATE: It appears the Emma You Are Next site is indeed a hoax, put online not by a 4chan hacker but by a sleazy internet “marketing” company known for similar hoaxes in the past. That said, it was a hoax designed to take advantage of two disturbing trends — not only the widespread public demand for leaked celebrity nudes but also the antifeminist backlash culture of the internet. Emma Watson was already being denounced and derided by internet misogynists even before the Emma You Are Next Site went online. I have made some changes in my original post below; strikeouts indicate the original text. I have also rewritten the conclusion, and taken down the video version of this post.

You already know the basic facts, I imagine: This past weekend, actress Emma Watson gave an eloquent speech at the United Nations about the necessity of feminism, and how the fight for gender equality can benefit both women and men.

Then some asshole or assholes apparently associated with 4chan a sleazy internet “marketing” firm decided to punish her for her opinions exploit the widespread desire for stolen nudes of female celebrities and the antifeminist backlash that was already developing in the wake of Watson’s speech by threatening to release stolen nude pictures of her, setting up a page entitled Emma You Are Next featuring a photo of Watson alongside an ominous countdown clock, presumably highlighting just when she can look forward to her privacy being egregiously violated.

There’s been a lot of debate over whether or not this threat is a real one or a “hoax.” [It appears that it is a hoax.] Business Insider declares that

it’s likely that the countdown site is nothing more than a prank designed to increase the notoriety of anonymous message board 4chan. … The site’s anonymous users often launch pranks and hoaxes to laugh at other internet users and also to further worsen the site’s reputation.

Well, no, that’s not it at all.

First off, it doesn’t really matter if that the site is appears to be a hoax or not. The threat is was a credible one: as we’ve seen recently with the leak of nudes pics of Jennifer Lawrence and others, hackers are indeed capable of stealing the private pictures that celebrities thought were under electronic lock and key – and sites like Reddit have made themselves conduits for the dissemination of the illegally obtained pics, which have included child pornography.

Even if Watson has no nude pictures to steal, some 4channers have insinuated that there are surreptitiously photographed “upskirt” pictures of her that could be equally embarrassing to her.

More to the point, though, the Emma You Are Next site can’t be so easily dismissed only as a “lulzy” prank or publicity stunt.  it’s a clear attempt to punish a woman for practicing feminism in public to exploit the reflexive antifeminism of a large misogynistic subculture on the internet– and a warning reminder to other women that if their opinions offend the creepy assholes of the world they could find their most private pictures plastered all over the internet. In other words, it’s blackmail – aimed at all women with opinions.

Some 4channers have been utterly transparent in their aims sympathies, writing comments such as these, collected from a now-deleted thread by Robyn Pennacchia at DeathAndTaxes:

“she makes stupid feminist speeches at UN, and now her nudes will be online, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH”

“It is real and going to happen this weekend. That feminist bitch Emma is going to show the world she is as much of a whore as any woman.”

Actresses and other women in the public eye are already acutely aware that there are little armies of creeps out there with a vested interest in violating their privacy. As Jessica Goldstein notes on ThinkProgress, singer Taylor Swift recently told Rolling Stone that she lives in constant fear of prying eyes:

“There’s someone whose entire job it is to figure out things that I don’t want the world to see,” she says. “They look at your career, they look at what you prioritize, and they try to figure out what would be the most revealing or hurtful. Like, I don’t take my clothes off in pictures or anything – I’m very private about that. So it scares me how valuable it would be to get a video of me changing. It’s sad to have to look for cameras in dressing rooms and bathrooms. I don’t walk around naked with my windows open, because there’s a value on that.”

The Emma You Are Next page reveals that privacy-invaders (and would-be privacy invaders) aren’t just motivated by money; some are motivated by a hatred of feminism and outspoken women in general, by the desire to take these women down a peg or two. The obsessive interest in stolen celebrity nude pictures reflects not only or even primarily prurient interest, but also and perhaps more importantly a clear desire to punish and humiliate the women in question. For men who hate women, as I put it in a post on the leaked Jennifer Lawrence nudes, the violation of privacy is part of the thrill

And, as #GamerGate and numerous other cases of online harassment of women have made abundantly clear, it’s not just famous women who have to worry about the people who’ve made it their “entire job … to figure out things that I don’t want the world to see.”

Before #GamerGate, Zoe Quinn was an indie game developer little known outside the game world; now her name, the private details of her life, and assorted nude pictures of her, are all over the internet.

Men’s Rights activists and other harassers of women online have been happy to release — or at least threaten to release — the private information of women they’ve declared their enemies; there’s no doubt that if they were able to get hold of nudes someone would post those online as well.

The Emma You Are Next site isn’t just a prank. It’s a symptom of a civil rights issue faced by all women who risk becoming the target of angry misogynistss each and every time they speak up about feminism online or in any other public forum. You can’t have a true free market of ideas if those of one gender can’t speak freely without worrying about their private lives — up to and including nude pictures — being exposed online.

One of the best ways to fight against this attack on free speech is to ensure that Watson’s message reaches as many people as possible. Below, a video of her speech; you can find the transcript here.

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contrapangloss
6 years ago

All those peaches, never to be freezed…

Misha
Misha
6 years ago

Luuuverly :).

I had a mooch over on YouTube to find the video, but then Karen Straughan’s face popped up in the recommendations and I got frightened. One cannot deal with GWW when one has not even had one’s tea yet.

Master of the Boot
Master of the Boot
6 years ago

When bullies lash out, you double down. Punch em in the nose. Women and their male allies everywhere should sneer and mock these clowns wherever they are.

Emma, and all women like you, don’t stop!

Phoenician in a time of Romans
Phoenician in a time of Romans
6 years ago

Dorabelle: It’s something I have noticed, but I can’t quite explain, the way some people keep repeating their opponent’s first name (in particular with women, but also among men) in an attempt to humiliate them.

I do this sometimes on the Internet, almost always with guys. It’s a sign of exasperation, as in when you are trying to deal with some idiot who repeatedly tries to evade a counter which shows his argument to be false.

Luzbelitx
6 years ago

These guys must really believe everyone hates women as much as themselves.

duckbunny
6 years ago

“Women everywhere should sneer and mock these clowns.”

What you’re saying there is that women should set themselves up as targets. That we should encourage dangerous misogynists to consider themselves at war with us. That we should escalate.
The thing is, when a victim escalates, an abuser feels justified. They feel like everything they’ve ever told themselves about how the victim deserved it or asked for it or started it is confirmed. Men like this are so convinced that women are worthless that our words cannot hurt them. We cannot make them feel ashamed. We can only make them angrier.
If your advice is that we should fight, and you aren’t already fighting, then you are not helping. Bystanders are not the good guys.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

“I had a mooch over on YouTube to find the video, but then Karen Straughan’s face popped up in the recommendations and I got frightened. One cannot deal with GWW when one has not even had one’s tea yet.”

I am…. so sorry to hear this happened to you, Misha. If there’s anything we can do, anything, let us no. What a fright.

ChelleG
ChelleG
6 years ago

I am frankly sick to death of hearing some people try and defend this kind of bullshit with the “Don’t feed the trolls!” argument. I have had it with people trying to defend their cowardice in looking the other way at this kind of behavior by saying that it’s just a small group of “trolls” looking for attention and that it will all blow over if they don’t get it because they can’t admit that there is a significant group of people who simply can’t and won’t see women as people who deserve the same respect and opportunities as anyone else, and who are frighteningly focused on making sure it doesn’t happen.

Tiyn
Tiyn
6 years ago

The threat isn’t from who you think it is. 4chan is was recently taken over by pro-feminists. Antifeminists are being banned on sight.

This is extreme feminists trying to frame their opponents.

Falconer
6 years ago

@emilygoddess:

I just can’t get over this. We live in a world where someone taking a photo of your genitals without your consent is supposed to be embarrassing for you. I can’t even.

Thank you! I was trying to think of a way to say the same thing, but you did it better than I ever could.

Tigerbos
Tigerbos
6 years ago

I’m sick and tired of the bullying of women on the net…really at some point they are going to get all the crap they dig and fling out flung back in their faces. I can’t wait for it to backfire. I don’t know how this is going to happen but I’m going to laugh my ass off when it does.

cloudiah
6 years ago

The threat isn’t from who you think it is. 4chan is was recently taken over by pro-feminists. Antifeminists are being banned on sight.

This is extreme feminists trying to frame their opponents.

LOfuckingL

Sarah
Sarah
6 years ago

Anybody need brain bleach? Here, have a dog who is having fun swimming and doesn’t want to go home.

http://youtu.be/MlaDMcZRtJE

vaiyt
6 years ago

This is extreme feminists trying to frame their opponents.

Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck… you gonna need some good evidence to show me that is not a duck.

roguepixie
roguepixie
6 years ago

@Tiyn. Reptilians living at the base of Mount Shasta. Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton are counted among their numbers. It’s a much more interesting conspiracy theory, and there’s more evidence to support it. Also, it’s kind of fun.

Tigerbos
Tigerbos
6 years ago

@Tiyn -The threat isn’t from who you think it is. 4chan is was recently taken over by pro-feminists. Antifeminists are being banned on sight.

This is extreme feminists trying to frame their opponents.

Bullshit. It’s exactly WHO We THINK IT IS…It’s anti-feminists/misogynists. Keep sticking your head further and further up your arse and eventually you’ll see what you’re eating for supper tonight through your butt.

Cassie's Major Domo
Cassie's Major Domo
6 years ago

Some bad drive-by trolling there, Tiyn. “F” for effort, execution, and accuracy. We going to have to hold you back a year or three.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago

@marinerachel

Rough going for a second, but Bootsy is with us always and guided me to some Emma Watson awesomeness

Praise her.

Shiraz
Shiraz
6 years ago

Tiyn, you’re full of shit — but OK. I have a feeling you’re young enought to have a bedtime too.
Remember in the future, if you mean feminist, you don’t have to write “pro-femininst.” “Femininst” works just fine on its own. Also, the opposite of a feminist is a sexist.

Abby March
Abby March
6 years ago

I saw this on the news, the other day and just knew the MRAs were going to shit themselves. Well, let’s hope the 4chan bunch gets…I hate to say “put in their place.” It sounds too much like the crap they themselves spew.

I hope they get caught. Or at least learn something.

Yeah. That’ll work.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago

@Tiyn

Awwwww, BLESS you!

ikanreed
ikanreed
6 years ago

I thought Tiyn was parodying, but then I remembered I heard that moot has actually been deleting pointless gamergate threads after a mod shakeup.

And so now their totally anonymous totally free speech* is being challenged, and they’re blaming feminists conspiracies, rather than, you know, the fact that they’re making life hard for the site’s owner by bubbling in a particularly idiotic patch of hatred.

*I’m not gonna do the freeze peach thing. I think it’s kinda dumb.

teiresias
teiresias
6 years ago

Tiyn: You don’t have to be an “extreme” feminist to think the entire situation is kind of really fucked up. Nor do the opponents need to be framed — they set themselves up quite nicely.

legelle
legelle
6 years ago

There is a good review of emma’s speech on maedchenmanschaft.net

teiresias
teiresias
6 years ago

Ikan: I tend to prefer “frea speach” as less slanderous of tasty, tasty stonefruit sorbets, but “freeze peach” is kind of the more common term now.

ralmcg
ralmcg
6 years ago

I found an open letter to Ms. Watson by Eldritch Edain at http://www.donotlink.com/framed?5362. He has a few words about “HeForShe”.

ralmcg
ralmcg
6 years ago

One other thing. The open letter is at “A Voice for Men”. Or you can read the open letter at eldritchedain.wordpress.com.

tinyorc
6 years ago

Tiyn:

The threat isn’t from who you think it is. 4chan is was recently taken over by pro-feminists. Antifeminists are being banned on sight.

This is extreme feminists trying to frame their opponents.

Aw bless.

Seriously though, the conspiracy theories are just getting wilder and wilder.

vaiyt
6 years ago

@ralmcg

As far as I can see, NOW is against bills that make joint custody automatic in case of divorce, which is not the same thing implied by “shared parenting”. I’ll let others pick on your statistics.

contrapangloss
6 years ago

@ralmcg

Thanks for donotlinking. There’s a lot of wrong buried in that letter, though.

ralmcg
ralmcg
6 years ago

First of all I should have said that the open letter is linked to “A Voice for Men”. And second, I wonder if he studied why men are more likely to be victims of violent crime than women, why most of the chronic homeless are males, and why most workplace deaths are suffered by men, just to name a few of his arguments about why feminism isn’t for men.

LBT
LBT
6 years ago

RE: emilygoddess

We live in a world where someone taking a photo of your genitals without your consent is supposed to be embarrassing for you. I can’t even.

And yet, douchebros everywhere send pictures of their penis, and expect us to be impressed.

RE: duckbunny

The thing is, when a victim escalates, an abuser feels justified.

To be fair, an abuser feels justified no matter WHAT a victim does. It comes with the package.

RE: Tiyn

4chan is was recently taken over by pro-feminists. Antifeminists are being banned on sight.

I thought 4chan wasn’t run by anybody, and it was just a headless, directionless mob so nobody could be held responsible for anything? Make up your mind, guys.

contrapangloss
6 years ago

Yep. The huge question is why things are that way, and that was what she was addressing and he failed to address in his rebuttal (which I’m not sure actually earned the title of rebuttal since it didn’t rebut anything…)

ralmcg
ralmcg
6 years ago

To those who read Mr. Edain’s open letter to Ms. Watson, thank you. At least he cited specific items that he believes that feminists should be alongside men in fighting, even if it’s not really the feminists fault.

It's A Furret (@RicksWriting)

The threat isn’t from who you think it is. 4chan is was recently taken over by pro-feminists. Antifeminists are being banned on sight.

This is extreme feminists trying to frame their opponents.

Soo . . . 4chan is more-or less anonymous. Since it was taken over by “pro-feminists” that means that everything that’s now posted there which is anti-feminist is clearly by a feminist only being allowed to speak because they’re silently undermining the anti-feminists by making threats. But the only proof that this is the case is that “everyone knows” moot is 100 percent pro-feminist now and that they can SOMEHOW can tell the difference between anti-feminists and feminists who are faking being anti-feminists.

It’s funny how quickly people can latch onto conspiracies that don’t even make sense in a LIMITED context.

seraph4377
6 years ago

I’m hearing from various different places – Tiyn is just the latest – that 4chan is starting to be a bit more aggressive about shutting down the more vile threads, and a lot of members are leaving as a result. Can’t help but wonder if the child porn from the Fappening, the across-state-lines harassment of #Gamersgate, and this little bout of extortion have the FBI breathing down the owners’ and the mods’ necks.

LBT
LBT
6 years ago

Eh, maybe 4chan is just becoming more self-aware? *hopeful*

freemage
freemage
6 years ago

LBT: One can hope, but that means they’ll just move over to Reddit.

My Completely Inappropriate Revenge Fantasy these days entails access to the ‘pinch’ from Ocean’s 11 (the thing that wiped out all the power and computer tech for a city block).

blahlistic (@blahlistic)

@ tigerbos: women are bullying men all over the ‘net?
*snurk*
Would you mind linking a few examples of what you consider to be women bullying men?

ralmcg
ralmcg
6 years ago

I’m reading Reddit:Men’s Rights (Yes, I sometimes go there just to see what they are commenting about.) and I see someone actually having an action plan to do something for male domestic violence victims, at least in Berlin. The link is at http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/2h6qq4/action_opportunity_tell_the_eu_and_berlin_to_stop/.

Master of the Boot
Master of the Boot
6 years ago

That guy duckbunny seems to think that fighting back against an abuser makes you a target. I guess he thinks the best way to stand up to a bully is to curl up and whimper in fear.

To deal with the 4chan mob and others of a like mind we need to never back down.

LBT
LBT
6 years ago

Mwahaha! My concoction is complete! It smells like ocean hippie grandma, and will also work as roach repellant! I can get rid of roaches AND their human counterparts AT THE SAME TIME!

I am the best adult.

–Kid

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

A shorter version of this threat, “Shut up, or we’ll masturbate to pictures of you.” So really the only response they have to her speech is to touch themselves. I guess we know what level of debater they are.

>glances around furtively<

I can't believe nobody's said this yet, but…I believe the answer is "MASTERdebater".

The threat isn’t from who you think it is. 4chan is was recently taken over by pro-feminists. Antifeminists are being banned on sight.

This is extreme feminists trying to frame their opponents.

Uh, yeah. Riiiiiiight. Why would we borrow such stupid tactics from YOUR side? We don’t need to, especially not when you keep obligingly making our points for us. Go fling your shit elsewhere.

brooked
brooked
6 years ago

The threat isn’t from who you think it is. 4chan is was recently taken over by pro-feminists. Antifeminists are being banned on sight.

This is extreme feminists trying to frame their opponents.

If I’m not mistaken, the calls are coming from inside the house. That’s the word on the mean streets of the internet at least.

Another Holocene Human
Another Holocene Human
6 years ago

“It is real and going to happen this weekend. That feminist bitch Emma is going to show the world she is as much of a whore as any woman.”

Somehow this seems to be the entire subtext if not text of “Avenue Q” yet a lot of people I love and respect absolutely love that show and see nothing wrong with any of it. Great puppetry but that show made me sick (and its sorry apologetics for engaging in casual, nasty racism also made me sick).

It’s also the subtext of Bernstein’s Candide. Candide is not equal opportunity satire–the female lead literally prostitutes herself because a comfortable, boring middle class marriage isn’t good enough for her, she wants titles and jewels and fun! Although Natalie Dessai humanized her pretty well (look up Glitter and be Gay on youtube for her version).

Even high culture reinforces such notions and repeats them unchallenged and unremarked, so “out of the mouths of babes”.

Another Holocene Human
Another Holocene Human
6 years ago

I think duckbunny has a point. Sometimes in progressive circles you have members of a neutral or dominant group encouraging members of a victimized group to do something public/dangerous/stupid in order to troll some very shitty/dangerous/armed people. (step 2 heighten the contradictions, step 3 social change or steal underpants, not sure) You know what? You first.

Broken Butterfly
Broken Butterfly
6 years ago

…I have no words. I just… I… holy crap, what in the HELL?

Suddenly I’m so very glad I never actually got into acting or singing like I wanted to when I was younger…

ej
ej
6 years ago

What makes it even more amazing is that she almost certainly knew that something like this would happen because this is what always what happens when a woman speaks out.

And what did she do?

She spoke out any way. She is incredibly brave for sticking to her beliefs and being willing to suffer such harassment for her cause.

duckbunny
6 years ago

Actually, I think the best defence against bullies is for the privileged, safe, socially powerful people who claim to be on your side to put their money where their mouth is.