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Leslie Jones has become the latest female celebrity to become a hacking victim, making her another woman on a long list of stars who have had the unfortunate experience of having their privacy invaded and shared with the masses.
Jones' public website, JustLeslie.com, which has since been taken down, was hacked to reveal not only Jones' naked photos but also her passport information and driver's license. E! News has confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security is investigating the incident. Jones has been a target for online abuse as of late, notably when Internet trolls sent her scathing and racist messages on Twitter.
The Ghostbusters actress hasn't commented on the hack, but it's very apparent that Hollywood is on her side. Many celebrities, including director Paul Feig tweeted support for Jones, calling the hack an "absolute outrage." But what is it about these hacks that are so set on exposing women's bodies?
Let's look back on Aug. 31, 2014, otherwise known as the day The Fappening (or Celebgate) happened. A hacker exposed dozens of female celebrities' nude photos, which they had obviously taken for themselves, just to give ooglers a look at what's underneath Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna and more stars' clothes. When male stars get hacked, it always seems to be on Twitter where odd statements and tweets are posted, but never any naked pictures. The exception, however, would be when Chantel Jeffries' Instagram was hacked and a Photoshopped naked picture of Justin Bieber was released.
Otherwise it always appears to be female celebrities and their naked bodies. Several stars have launched a #FreeTheNipple campaign, urging Instagram to stop taking down photos in which a woman's nipple appears. But yes, there is a difference between an on-purpose photo with a nipple and a head-to-toe nude meant only for private eyes. Some of the other victims of The Fappening included Kate Upton, Selena Gomez, Cara Delevingne, Vanessa Hudgens Kaley Cuoco, Dave Franco and more—noticeably, the majority of victims were women.
J.Law spoke out about the hack to Vanity Fair, explaining how she not only felt violated but also scared—for herself and her career. "It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime," she told the magazine. "It is a sexual violation. It's disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change. That's why these web sites are responsible. Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody's mind is to make a profit from it. It's so beyond me. I just can't imagine being that detached from humanity. I can't imagine being that thoughtless and careless and so empty inside."
She didn't stop there. Lawrence also went after the people who viewed the pictures after they leaked.
"Anybody who looked at those pictures, you're perpetuating a sexual offense. You should cower with shame," she said. "Even people who I know and love say, 'Oh, yeah, I looked at the pictures.' I don't want to get mad, but at the same time I'm thinking, I didn't tell you that you could look at my naked body."
The Pennsylvania man received five years in prison, but he wasn't the only one to do this, either. Just look at the man who was sentenced to 10 years for releasing private photos of stars like Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera and more. "I have been truly humiliated and embarrassed," Johansson said at the time. "I find Christopher Chaney's actions to be perverted and reprehensible."
Whether it's a Twitter hack that plays into a celebrity feud, or a photo hack that exposes a woman at her most vulnerable, when is it going to end? Yes, shocking data reveals how easy it is to hack someone—celebrity or not—but what's the point? It's a crime. It's illegal.
But what's sadly even more typical is the digital double standard that's in play.