Actress Emma Watson has attracted the faceless and unfathomable
fury of 4chan users who
are threatening to leak nude photos of her following her speech on
gender equality at the UN last week.
Watson was appointed a UN Goodwill Ambassador for women earlier
this year and made a speech to the UN General Assembly — which
subsequently went viral — in support of the HeForShe campaign to
promote gender equality.
In her speech Watson called upon men and boys to join women in
fighting gender inequality worldwide and referred to her own
long-standing feminist beliefs. From a feminist perspective, the
views expressed by Watson were far from radical and are equally as
likely to have riled more radical feminists as the men’s rights
Alas though, it is the men’s rights activists who lurk on
4chan’s b board that are now seeking retribution in the form of a
smear campaign. Setting up a countdown website that they have
called “Emma You Are
Next”, forum members have threatened to release nude photos of
They are also attempting to get #RIPEmmaWatson trending on Twitter and are posting photoshopped
pictures of news sites suggesting that Watson has died. The very
basic Photoshopped photos they have knocked up already should tell
you everything you need to know should nude pictures of Watson
indeed appear on the internet in several days time. Not to mention
the lengths those behind this campaign are prepared to go to in
order to eclipse Watson’s pro-equality message with their own
Shaming women into silence using naked photos is the internet
underworld’s favourite weapon against them, but it is also its last
resort. The truth is that the photos 4chan is threatening to leak
may not even exist, never mind be in the possession of the forum
holders. But the mere inference that they do exist is an attempt to
discredit and embarrass Watson. Even leaked Photoshopped photos
would be degrading, and those behind this campaign know it.
At a time in the UK when our politicians are starting to discuss
what legal protection women should have to defend themselves
against revenge porn, we can only hope that the high profile leaks of nude celebrity pictures over the past
month have at least increased the urgency with which they
will tackle the issue. It shouldn’t have needed to of course –
revenge porn has long been affecting women from all walks of life
— but recent events have put it firmly in the spotlight.
More than the leaks though, let us hope that our primarily male
politicians are affected by the power of Watson’s speech. In
amongst all of this, Watson’s words should not be allowed to be
obscured by the behaviour of the slimy lowlifes of the internet.
Let us hope they are not diluted, that her message is not muddied
and that she and others continue to speak up.