Author Archives: XXXADMIN


There’s a sick but thriving online subculture of men who get off by violating women and sharing their photographic evidence. This isn’t for fame or fortune—it’s for sport.

To call it a “scandal” when yet another celebrity has private nude photos hacked and released is deeply misleading. “Scandal” suggests surprise and/or moral malfeasance. But is anyone actually surprised that famous women are naked under their clothes, or that celebrities use their smartphones for the same private photo purposes that everyone else uses their phones for? And if you think it’s somehow scandalous for grown adults to engage in consensual sexual activity, that says far more about you and your prudishness than it does about them. No, the only people we should be scandalized by are the people responsible for the recent theft and then release of private nude photos from celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton.

What do we know so far about this massive dump of photographs of various nude celebrities into the public spaces online? Gawker has been on the case and has revealed that they were likely stolen in bits and pieces by a collection of hackers that spend an inordinate amount of their free time trying to steal just such pictures. These hackers, likely mostly or all men, have a semi-private group that exists just to trade stolen photos and, of course, brag about getting the biggest “score” in terms of the fame of the person whose privacy they’ve violated. Interestingly, there’s no indication whatsoever that the men involved in this group had any intention of publicizing the pictures far and wide. Just impressing each other with their photo thefts appears to be reward enough for them. But, of course, it only took one leaker for these photos to be shared around the world.

With this in mind, it’s unlikely that the hacker—or hackers—are actually seeking fame or even necessarily money by engaging in this practice. (Which would likely expose them to civil lawsuits or criminal penalties anyway.) Instead, this violation gives us a peek into a sick but thriving subculture, or really series of subcultures, of men who are excited by the idea of violating a woman against her will and who get together in online spaces to swap ideas on how to do this, tell bragging stories about violating women, and sharing the photographic evidence of their violations. They’re doing this not for fame or fortune, but because they loathe women and want to use sex and sexuality to hurt and punish women, often just for existing.

David Futrelle, who chronicles the alarming spread of misogyny online at his blog We Hunted The Mammoth, wrote about the whole photo dump debacle on Monday. If just seeing sexy pictures is what you want, he points out, you have “the mind-bogglingly enormous selection of women out there who have agreed to pose naked, or even perform explicit sex acts, on camera.” Indeed, your average celebrity nude selfie is downright tame compared to any random pornographic picture you can find online. In fact, there are plenty of already-famous women who have their nude images out there, if fame is your thing.  So it is “not the celebrity of the women in question” motivating the theft of these photos, “but from the violation of privacy that these pictures represent.”

Indeed, we know this because while the attacks on celebrity women grab the headlines, the vast majority of victims of non-consensual nude picture-sharing—usually called “revenge porn”—are ordinary, non-famous women. The use of technology to punish women for relationship fouls, real or perceived, has reached epidemic levels. McAfee’s 2013 Love, Relationships, and Technology survey revealed that a whopping 1 in 10 ex-partners have threatened to expose naked photos of their ex online. A full 60 percent of them carry out the threat. While there’s no doubt that some women have done this to men, by and large this is a problem of men trying to hurt women, usually for breaking up with them. Often, women’s names and personal information is shared along with the nude photos, to better encourage random and scary misogynists out there to stalk and threaten them.

Beyond just the “revenge porn” communities, there’s also a number of communities of men online who get off on posting what are called “creepshots.” It’s the same idea as revenge porn and celebrity nude “leaks”: Sexualized pictures of women where the fact that they did not consent to the picture—and would be horrified and humiliated to know all these men are looking at it—is what makes it exciting. With creepshots, the idea is to follow women, often very young (sometimes underage) in public and try to take photos of their bodies, without their consent, to be mocked and leered at in online forums. And, just like revenge porn and celebrity nudes, there’s a competitive aspect to it, with the men who get the creepiest pictures of the most non-consenting women scoring points with their gang of misogynists online.

Reddit finally buckled under outside pressure to shut down their main creepshots subreddit, but that did little to stem the problem. It just reemerged while pretending to be a “fashion” forum, but it’s still centered around a bunch of men trying to make themselves feel powerful by taking creepy photos of unsuspecting women (well, mostly girls).

The problem has grown so bad that many states have started to pass laws to deal with it. The National Conference of State Legislatures defines “revenge porn” as “the posting of nude or sexually explicit photographs or videos of people online without their consent, even if the photograph itself was taken with consent,” and chronicles 11 states so far that have laws attempting to curb it. The federal government has gotten involved, as well, indicting Hunter Moore, the owner of one of the most popular revenge porn websites, on 15 charges of conspiracy, theft, and hacking. Dealing with creepshots is a harder problem, because of strong laws allowing people to be photographed in public, however.

While these legislative efforts are helpful, the Wild West of the Internet—and the fact that many of these misogynist photo collectives are semi-private—means that there’s a limit to how much the government can do to stem the tide of technology being used to hurt women for the “crime” of being attractive but not being sexually available to them.

The real problem is a cultural one. While things have been definitely improving in recent decades as feminists raise awareness of the problem of sexual violence and the importance of consent, there are clearly still a large number of men who disregard women’s basic human right to control your own body and own sexuality. The men in these groups really do believe they are entitled to own and control female bodies. While these insular misogynist communities certainly end up reinforcing their ugly attitudes toward women amongst themselves, they didn’t invent the notion that women’s bodies are public property for men to use how they please, regardless of a woman’s feelings about it. The only real, long-term solution is to change a culture that inculcates young men with these feelings of entitlement and teach respect for women to boys starting at a young age.


Porn Slapper

Card workers on the Las Vegas Strip, advertising for the sex trade and often working without papers, endure humiliation from tourists, fight their employers for pay, and are targeted by police.

The first thing they do is put on those T-shirts.

A man in his late 50s wears a yellow one, the words “Orgasim Clinic” misspelled around a red cross on the chest. A short, frail man’s shirt displays the silhouette of a voluptuous woman bending over. “HOT GIRLS DIRECT TO YOU IN 20 MINUTES,” it reads. One block away, a woman puts on a shirt featuring the QR code for a pornographic website. Walk up to her, scan her with your phone, and you’ll be sent directly to the homepage.

These are the “porn slappers” of Las Vegas: the people who stand on the Strip, the city’s gambling and tourism center, distributing handbills for erotic services – cards which they flick and slap to draw attention. At any given time, hundreds of them are working for five outcall services, the largest of which puts 10,000 ads in tourists’ hands each week. They are famous for their T-shirts; gift shops even sell them as souvenirs. But tarjeteros, or “card workers” as they call themselves, refuse to wear the garish tops on bus rides or foot commutes to the Strip. They put them on when they have to.

“I felt bad doing this at first. It bothers our families,” one worker, a woman named Consuela, said. “The siblings, the parents, the spouses – they don’t like that we do this.”

Neither does the rest of Las Vegas. Targeted for citations by police, barred from casinos, singled out by lawmakers and frequently accosted by tourists, the handbillers are – like the women on their cards – among the most disenfranchised workers in the city.

“Some people tell us, ‘Go back to your country,’” Consuela said. “They shout, ‘Hey, the border patrol is coming!’ At times, they throw the cards in my face.”

“Occasionally tourists smack my hand very hard,” José, from El Salvador, said. “Sometimes they hold the cards and ask, ‘Is that your mother? Your sister? Your daughter? Is that your wife? I stay silent.”

Like Consuela and José, the vast majority of the handbillers come from Latin America, and it’s no secret that many are sin papeles – “without papers.” Speaking from sidewalks outside 3,600 room resorts, the handbillers seemed eager to vent. All of our conversations took place in Spanish and every name but one has been changed.

While nervously glancing to the street, Consuela and José said supervisors monitor them from cars. Competing escort services post handbillers right next to each other all along Las Vegas Boulevard, but each stands alone anyway – if they are caught talking to one another, they say, they will be berated for it.

“The bosses want us here like statues,” Consuela said. “It can make someone crazy standing like that.”

The supervisors aren’t the only mobile part of the operation. In the middle of my conversation with Jose, we were interrupted by a vaquero, or “cowboy”, whose job it is to ride his bicycle up and down Las Vegas Boulevard, dropping off packets of 500 escort cards every 20 minutes, a kind of pornographic munitions unit deployed to the front line.

Several sun-soaked blocks away, past showgirls in feather bikinis, Elvis and Optimus Prime, I met Rafael from Mexico. “The worst part is the pay,” he said. “Also standing here eight, nine, 10 hours a day. Sometimes 12. The heat can be insufferable. I feel it from the soles of my feet.”

Carla, from Mexico, and Victor, from Cuba, said they were ashamed of their pornographic product. Others expressed frustration over the wages – $5 an hour, when they’re paid at all.

Sin City is not overflowing with work for unskilled migrants. Rafael does however have a second job steam-cleaning restaurant floors on the overnight shift, part of a 16-hour workday. In her spare time, Consuela bakes bread for Mexican bodegas. Carla cleans houses on her day off, while José, one of the oldest handbillers, has no other work and is vulnerable to exploitation. I learn more about that later.

When a boisterous group of young men approached in a stream of tourists, Consuela handed them ads to “call for a good time” with Spice, Flower and Tyra, each in erotic poses and fully naked except for two or three dots that look like glittering lights.

Occasionally, a tourist asks them for advice on which escort to call. “I can’t recommend any because I don’t know them,” Consuela answers. “They pay me to pass out cards; I don’t know anything about this.”

Other times, handbillers are castigated for enabling a vast and pernicious sex trade.

“Some tell us, ‘Don’t hand out those dirty things,’” Consuela said. “But what would I do to survive? I ask them, ‘Do you have another job for me? I can do lots of work.’”

The handbillers admit to feeling shame – but they shrug it off when they can. “It’s dirty work, but I have to eat and pay rent,” Consuela said.

The governing body that regulates the Las Vegas Strip has not abided the presence of “smut peddling” lightly. The effort to remove the handbillers is an ongoing legal saga that has turned undocumented immigrants into unlikely advocates for constitutional rights.

In the late 90s, at the tail end of an effort to rebrand Las Vegas as a family destination, Clark County, the municipal area encompassing the Strip, outlawed the distribution of commercial content in the resort corridor, a sweeping measure the ACLU challenged as a violation of the first amendment.

“If you ban distributing any material with commercial content, you end up banning newspapers,” Allen Lichtenstein, a counselor for the ACLU of Nevada, said. “Because it has advertising, the Guardian would have been banned. Our newsletter would have been banned. It impacted a significant amount of fully protected speech.”

When the law was overturned, county officials entered potential awkward territory by suing escort services for false advertising, claiming the women on their cards were not the ones showing up to hotel rooms. “It allowed us to argue that when you buy Betty Crocker, you don’t think the woman on the box really made the cake mix,” Lichtenstein said. “It was a stretch, and an unsuccessful one.”

Elvis impersonators, “God hates gambling” street preachers, and other sidewalk-clogging sorts joined handbillers in the county’s crosshairs when a plot developed to sell the sidewalks to resorts for $1. Lawmakers believed casinos could remove undesirable activity if they owned the land. But when the scheme was tested in 2001, a judge said first amendment rights still apply on privately-owned walkways used for public commutes.

“In the legislature, the tendency is to look at the bottom line rather than the constitution,” Lichtenstein said. “We have had to ask the court to reiterate time and again that profit does not trump the first amendment.”

When I met Consuela, I asked her about Clark County’s latest move: a 2012 ordinance empowering police to ticket handbillers caught within 25 feet of littered ads. Lichtenstein called the law “unenforceable and unconstitutional”; tourists are most often responsible for ditching the cards. For her part, Consuela said she was already in the practice of picking up X-rated litter. “Some workers won’t pick them up, but I do,” she said. “There are lots of kids on the Strip, and some of the cards are very ugly.”

One of the last interviews for this story was with Marino Lozano, a 61-year-old naturalized citizen who offered his real name, adding bitterly that he was “no longer afraid”. We met in an empty lot lined with bushes the handbillers use to store backpacks and boxes of food, items they dig out during a dinner break. Marino, who walked with a limp and held a bag of aluminum cans, claimed that he hadn’t been paid in two weeks.

He couldn’t afford the lost income. The residential motel where he and his wife stayed was ready to kick them out. The couple recycled cans to get by, ate meals at churches and suffered from untreated medical conditions. He claimed that when he confronted his supervisors about the money, they threatened to beat him up if he didn’t let it go.

“I don’t care if they punch me or hit me,” he said. “I want you to tell me what I can do. If they are going to beat me, let it be for something good, something that will help our countries, because this is an injustice.”

Marino’s accusation was consistent with others I heard on the Strip. Many handbillers alleged that the individuals assigned to manage them – fellow immigrants from Mexico – were in the practice of stealing portions of their earnings. Carla called the supervisors “thieves”, while Consuela labeled it “a custom they have to rob the worker”.

José provided the only success story, alleging that when the supervisors failed to pay him for three weeks, he threatened to go to the police. They settled up, and he quit.

The only official means of recouping lost earnings is through Nevada’s Labor Commission. Teri Williams, a spokeswoman for the agency, provided documents showing numerous wage complaints against Hillsboro Enterprises, the largest escort service in Las Vegas. These allegations are nearly impossible to investigate, however. Marino’s only proof of employment was a red shirt with a curvaceous woman on the front.

“Cash workers may feel that they earn more – but they may in fact lose money if they fall victim to unscrupulous employers who are unable or unwilling to compensate them,” Williams said.

The vast majority of these tarjeteros walk away from their claims. Many look for more secure work in the ranks of rival outcalls services – only to find, more often than not, that all the companies are alike.

On my last visit to the handbillers on the Strip, on the sidewalk between Planet Hollywood and The Flamingo I saw Chewbacca, a Roman gladiator in a thong, and José – flicking cards for a new company, a balloon advertising “GIRLS TO YOUR ROOM” rising off his back.

None of the handbillers out that day had seen Marino for weeks, though several had adopted his practice of collecting cans. One worker – a woman with a QR code on her chest who was too anxious to speak with me – had two shopping bags bulging with aluminum hanging from a bicycle by her side.


Jennifer Lawrence

The recently leaked private images of Lawrence and Upton will be featured at a St. Petersburg gallery as a part of Los Angeles artist XVALA’s ‘Fear Google’ campaign Oct. 30.

Jennifer Lawrence’s private images will be featured in a St. Petersburg, Fla., exhibit of works by Los Angeles artist XVALA.

Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton’s recent viral private photos are heading to an art exhibit.

St. Petersburg, Fla., gallery Cory Allen Contemporary Art announced Wednesday that the leaked nude images of the Hollywood stars would “be the latest additions to (Los Angeles) artist XVALA’s ‘Fear Google’ campaign and will be on display to the public,” according to a press release.

The pictures will be “printed on canvas, life-size and unaltered” in CACA’s upcoming show, titled “No Delete.”

The artist has a seven-year collection of “images found on Google of celebrities in their most vulnerable and private moments, that were comprised by either hackers or the paparazzi,” the release continued.

“XVALA appropriating celebrity compromised images and the overall ‘Fear Google’ campaign has helped strengthen the ongoing debate over privacy in the digital era,” the gallery’s Cory Allen said.

“The commentary behind this show is a reflection of who we are today,” Allen said. “We all become ‘users’ and in the end, we become ‘used.'”

A picture of Britney Spears with a shaved head along with hacked naked photos of Scarlett Johansson will also be displayed.

“In today’s culture, everybody wants to know everything about everybody. An individual’s privacy has become everyone else’s business,” XVALA said. “It has become cash for cache.”

“No Delete” opens Oct. 30.


Jennifer Lawrence

If you have spent any time on the internet in the past few days you have probably heard that over the weekend, anonymous hackers leaked stolen images of over 100 female celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Kirsten Dunst. While some commentators are shaming women for snapping explicit photographs of themselves, having simple passwords and/or trusting a flawed technological infrastructure, others are more focused on the perpetrators of the crime.

As smartphones increasingly become a staple in our digital lives, their use during intimate moments will only become more prevalent. According to a new Pew study, 20 percent of users reported having received a nude photograph. If the other factors at play here, like the fascination with the female body and the existence of savvy hackers remain constant (and why wouldn’t they?), it’s safe to assume more leaks are on the way. So what is being done to stop this from happening? One emphasis is on prosecution.

According to the Daily Mail, the chief hacker who orchestrated the current cyberattack is on the run. The FBI confirmed late Monday that they have begun an investigation, and history suggests that if the perpetrators are located, they will be prosecuted.

In 2011, the FBI arrested a Florida man named Christopher Chaney for hacking the email accounts of 50 celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson, and posting the nude images he discovered online. Chaney was charged with 26 counts of identity theft, unauthorized access to a protected computer and wiretapping, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

But the legal tools available at that time did not help all victims of what is sometimes called “revenge porn.”

In “Criminalizing Revenge Porn,” Danielle Keats Citron and Mary Anne Franks share a story of “Jane,” a woman who allowed her boyfriend to take a nude photograph of her, assuring her that it would remain private. After the couple’s split, Jane’s ex-boyfriend posted the image and her contact information on a popular “revenge porn” website. After being messaged by strangers, many of whom were soliciting sex, she realized what had happened and contacted the police. Officers informed Jane that the details of her case rendered them unable to help. Since it was an isolated incident, her ex- could not be found guilty under that state’s criminal harassment law and because he took the image with her consent, it was legally obtained and belonged to him.

Situations like this led 11 states to enact new laws aimed at better tackling revenge porn. But opinion is split, and not along the typical ideological fault line, as to whether such legislation will impinge on First Amendment rights.

Privacy advocates suggest these laws represent a step toward properly protecting the public and that some free speech sacrifices are necessary collateral damage. But free speech advocates argue existing laws are sufficient and the potential First Amendment infringements outweigh the privacy gains.

In 2013, California decided that taking an intimate and confidential picture or video and distributing it with the intention of causing serious emotional distress to the victim is “disorderly conduct.” In reaction, Lee Rowland of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project told NPR “the reality is that revenge porn laws tend to criminalize the sharing of nude images that people lawfully own.… That treads on very thin ice constitutionally.”

Privacy advocates, however, criticized the law for failing to cover a large portion of the population—those who have taken pictures of themselves, but had them disseminated without their consent. California updated its law last week to include selfies.

As these state laws broaden in scope, and an anti-revenge porn bill awaits introduction on the national level, critics worry that the definition of revenge porn will become increasingly unclear. Is a Facebook user who stumbles upon the images and posts them on his wall guilty? Lawrence’s reps hope so, saying in a statement, “The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence.”


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