Today the Edge website – owned by Media Works – published fully naked photographs of Jennifer Lawrence without her consent. Then when they found out there were legal actions pending and that it was a without-consent act, they still tried to share the photos by linking to images hosted elsewhere, because they do not care about consent.
It is not OK to publish naked media of any woman without her consent, full stop.
It was absolutely disgusting to see this on The Edge website in the wake of the Roastbusters incident which specifically involved without-consent publishing of media in order to “expose” women. If mainstream media outlets fail to have a basic comprehension of what consent is, how are the public supposed to understand? Celebrity-or-not every woman has the right to be protected from without-consent publishing of naked photos or similar.
The explicit private images were illegally stolen from Jennifer and released on website 4-Chan. Jennifer is taking legal action about the release of her photos, which clearly indicates how affected she has been by the incident. Complaints were made to The Edge – who were informed of the legal action but initially refused to act. When I spoke to representatives they said that they were within their rights and the photos would stay. It seemed at that time that all of the staff that I spoke to knew about the photos and were comfortable with them saying that “only one person has complained” so it was OK to leave them online. This was bearing in mind the photos had been up for only 3 hours at that stage. To me it seemed that Media Works would be unlikely to remove content unless there was public outrage, however this isn’t the right way to make a call about whether or not to publish. They should have prior-knowlege of what consent is and base their actions around it. If their staff don’t understand consent they should receive training on the issue.
This is an example of the same kind of cultural values that saw the Roastbusters incident occur. Displaying her photos without her consent is an example of rape culture; again we see the normalisation and trivilisation of without-consent behaviour. The Edge just see this as every-day “laddish” behaviour, and only uptight people complain, without considering that permission has to be at the core.
The images have now been removed after the public had plenty of time to copy and republish them, however the Edge decided they still wanted people to be able to see the photos – because it’s fun, right? – and they do not care about consent, so they issued a media article with links to the photos hosted elsewhere; which is a cynical and distressing response that still indicates they think it’s perfectly acceptable action to distribute stolen naked photographs without her permission.
It’s not good enough. Please let Media Works Know what you think about their inability to grasp the concept of permission: firstname.lastname@example.org. I also encourage you to call their sponsors.
Here is a basic guide for media:
Before you publish…
Did she consent? Yes? Publish if you choose.
Did she consent? No? Don’t publish.
Did she consent? Dunno? Ask or don’t publish.
Not that hard.
UPDATE: The Rock is still displaying the images and laughing about this kind of without-consent behaviour. Please let them know what you think, email: email@example.com