Emma Watson says threats made by Internet trolls to release naked photos of her last year were not only empty, but made her "so much more determined" to keep speaking out about feminism and gender equality.
The 24-year-old Harry Potter and live-action Beauty and the Beast star is an advocate of the HeForShe campaign and a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador. She made headlines last September when she gave a powerful, emotional speech at the United Nations about feminism. Days after her appearance, a website popped up with a countdown, threating the release of naked pics of the star. It never happened.
She talked about the cruel prank on Sunday in a HeForShe webcast, in which she answered fans' questions, to mark International Women's Day. The sit-down took place in London and was posted on her Facebook page, which is liked by more than 30 million people.
"I knew it was a hoax. I knew the pictures didn't exist," she told the male interviewer. "But I think a lot of people that were close to me knew gender equality was an issue but they didn't really think it was that urgent or particularly, you know, 'We live in Great Britain, this is a thing of that past'....and then when they saw that the minute I stepped up and talked about women's rights, I was immediately threatened—I mean, in less than 12 hours I was receiving threats—and I think they were really shocked and particularly one of my brothers was very upset.
"So I think it was just a wake-up call of, 'Oh, this is like a real thing, it's really happening now. Like now.' Women are receiving threats in all sorts of different forms. That was just one specific one," she said, adding, "If anything, it made me so much more determined. I was just raging. it made me so angry that I was just like...'This is why I have to be doing this!' So if anything, it actually, if they were trying to put me off it, they did the opposite."
During the chat, she also talked about gender inequality in the workplace, telling a fan, "Argh, just don't let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do or can and cannot achieve. Just don't allow it. Just do not allow it. It's wrong. It's so wrong. Be whatever you want to be."
In January, she dished out inspirational advice to a fans on Twitter, including one who said her father told her should couldn't become an engineer because the professional was for "men."
Watson also talked about chivalry.
"I love having the door opened for me," she said. "Isn't that just polite? Isn't that just a nice thing to do for someone else?...But I think the key is, would you then mind if I opened the door for you?"
She said she recently treated a man to dinner at one of her favorite restaurants and that it evening was "awkward," adding, "But the cool thing about it was that we were both willing to have the conversation about why it was awkward, why it was uncomfortable. We were able to have this dialogue."
Watson said she told him that next time, he would choose the restaurant and he would either pay or they would split the check.
"Chivalry should be consensual," she said.
Watch the webcast below.