By now, you’ve probably heard that possibly genuine nude photographs of someone who may or may not be Scarlett Johannsen [NSFW, unless you’re showing this to and high-fiving with your boss]have floated to the top of the Internet cesspool.
Name one person who is surprised by this turn of events.
Me? Nope. You? I hope not. Scarlett Johannsen? Well, if those photos are genuine, she’d better not be. There are multiple fan sites dedicated to espousing on her beauty. This is what we call demand. When it exists in enough quantity, something called “supply” has a high likelihood of rearing its nipple-and-arse-filled, fuzzy mobile phone-snapped head. Especially these days. Here’s why:
So, there’s this other thing. Called the internet. And it’s powerful. I was working at WIRED during Chris Anderson’s famous plagiarism scandal, and even after Anderson owned up for what ended up being a mistake, trolls across the Internet started digging up all sorts of dirt on him. We were talking one day and something he said there really stuck with me: “If you achieve a single shred of notoriety, and you have even a single skeleton in your closet, the internet hive-mind will find it.” Truth.
Well, if you’re a major celebrity, that’s notoriety; and a digital photograph (or video) of yourself is like a giant skeleton shaking your closet doors and moaning TMZ at all hours. Especially when it’s a mobile phone photo. Think of how many people have access to your mobile phone in a given day: co-workers, acquaintances, tech support people, etc.
And if you think your photos are safe on your home computer, consider this sentence you might have recently uttered to a friend-of-a-friend you hardly know: “The bathroom? It’s down the hall to the right.” Congratulations: You’ve just let a stranger loose, unsupervised, in your apartment/hotel suite. Better hope your laptop isn’t idling near the crapper.
And this doesn’t even count serious hacking. Fact: Celebrities’ email accounts get hacked. Hell, celebrities’ email accounts are targeted by hackers. So if worrying about the security of your fat celebrity bank account isn’t enough, please, by all means email your boyfriend of the moment some photos of that perfect body. KTHXBAI.
Of course, not every leaked photo or sex tape is an accident (*cough* Kim Kardashian *cough*). And in some cases, some home-grown pr0n is made before a celeb is a celeb (bum luck, Hoopz [NSFW] ). But those cases are the exceptions rather than the rules. Or maybe not! Maybe making a sex tape is better for your ailing career than getting a role in a Tarantino flick 10 years after your prime has passed.
But I’m just saying: If you take a photo of something millions of people want to see, there is no way you can keep it from being seen. Not anymore.