It really does pay to have a reputation as a nice girl in Hollywood.
Especially when you're Scarlett Johansson and you need a little help—like, say, getting some leaked nude photos of yourself removed from a website.
"I usually never remove images I get from hackers or third parties," TheDirty.com founder Nik Richie exclusively dished to E! News about his decision to comply with a cease-and-desist letter from the actress' attorney regarding leaked nude pictures of the star. "When you're a public figure, you're looking for attention as far as press and media. But in Scarlett's case, I felt for her."
The FBI is currently investigating an alleged hacking ring, a member of which could be responsible for breaking into Johansson's phone or computer and stealing the private pics.
But Richie insisted it wasn't the legal consequences that were tugging at his heartstrings.
"In this case, Scarlett Johansson's images were definitely an exception. I actually felt bad," he said.
In his opinion, "these images were a little more personal and private. Scarlett doesn't need to leak photos, she's pretty established. So this wasn't a press play. This was someone hacking into her phone, stealing her text messages and leaking them onto the Internet."
Richie said that he sensed that whoever leaked the pics was just "trying to make a quick buck."
"When I got the cease and desist from [Johansson's attorney] Marty Singer, I wasn't really afraid," he recalled. "I've gotten cease-and-desists from him before previously with other celebrities."
"It wasn't Marty that motivated me to take things off the TheDirty.com. It was the more I looked at the images, I really thought they were hacked. I really felt bad for Scarlett Johansson in the situation, so I thought, 'Let's take them down, let me be the bigger person for once.'"
And he hopes that other sites take the high road, as well.
"It's not that I feel bad for the person," Richie mused. "If there's a justified situation, where I know it could damage or ruin their career...I'm not really here to hurt somebody. I'm here to make people see the real world and know what's going on, no matter who you are.
"Scarlett didn't know these pictures would get stolen...For Scarlett, I thought it was in her best interest and our best interest to remove the images."
Hey, in this business, it never hurts to have a big star like Johansson not hate your guts. Not getting sued probably doesn't hurt, either.
(Originally published Sept. 15, 2011, at 6:49 p.m. PT)