For dozens of female celebrities, Labor Day weekend took a terrible turn when a massive collection of nude celebrity photos began making the rounds on the internet.
The hack originated with the message-board site 4Chan, quickly spreading to Reddit and subsequently spreading among other social media sites at record pace. And, perhaps just as quickly, developing its own subreddit and being dubbed “The Fappening” — a catchy-slash-disgusting allusion to the slang word “fap” (you can Google it).
Among those affected by the leak include Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence, Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco, supermodel Kate Upton, pop singer Ariana Grande (who maintains hers are fake) and singer/actress Jill Scott — the latter of whom is trending like crazy on Twitter today, but in a mostly undesirable way.
Unlike the seedy but flattering (if you can call perverse come-ons and sexual innuendo such) responses being tossed out in response to Jennifer Lawrence’s nude photos, Jill Scott’s photos were met with a barrage of cruel, body-shaming tweets — despite the fact that only one of the leaked photos of Scott was, in fact, real and actually taken by the star.
Both women are talented. Both women are stunning. So what’s with the wildly dissimilar responses to these women’s photos? Is it due to their inherently different body types? Feminists flocked to the internet to support Lawrence in droves; where’s Scott’s feminist cavalry?
so where are the twitter feminists who were going so ham for jennifer lawrence to defend jill scott? sleeping? ooh, ok ok
— MOODY. (@OLAWUMIII) September 4, 2014
Everything from Scott’s weight to the shape of her breasts has been the subject of ridicule, raising the question: What is wrong with people?
And not just the general public, either. As much as there appears to be a lack of empathy among men on social media in regard to Scott, so has there been a seemingly disparate level of respect given to Scott via mainstream media and social media moderators — a fact many Scott fans have picked up on.
Jill Scott deserves the same respect as Jennifer Lawrence. #Blackwomen are worthy of respect
— Kansas City Babie (@According2MJ) September 4, 2014
"black" twitter is more concerned w/ jill scott being "fat" than the fact that twitter took down jennifer lawrence's nudes & not jill's..
— Summer (@ValeyzOfNeptune) September 4, 2014
— Marcus Roberts (@MarcusRobertsTV) September 4, 2014
so 200k accounts got suspended for the Hunger Games girl's nudes but not for Jill Scott.. okay..
— pls help me find my missing cousin type beat (@bbybollywood) September 4, 2014
The response in the wake of Lawrence’s nude photos surfacing was swift and stern — hundreds of thousands of social media accounts were disabled. The general consensus among the media (judging by the countless articles that sprung up almost instantly on the subject) was one of indignation and disgust at the injustice.
So why is it that most people weren’t aware Scott was even part of the hack until a proliferation of ignorant responses became too humiliating to ignore?
Some say it is a matter of race. Alternatively, according to a male source I drilled on the subject, “The hard truth is there are just some people you want to see naked… and others you don’t.” But could it be something else — something as equally simple as that male perspective, albeit not quite so seedy?
Perhaps it is simply a matter of fame. As in, Lawrence is — as one outlet put it — the most recognizable star affected by the nude photo hack. Whether we all agree on the merit of that, we can surely all concede that Lawrence is a household name these days.
And could the swift response in reaction to her leak be indicative of this, in part at least? When Lawrence’s camp addressed the photos, her lawyer vowed that they would pursue the matter to the fullest extent of the law. So maybe the reaction from social media moderators was more impressive in Lawrence’s case than Scott’s, but maybe that’s because she had her high-profile lawyer on their backs.
For her part, Scott posted a series of tweets in response to the frenzy — a “womanifesto,” if you will, thanking those who have shown support and sending “light” to those who haven’t. The takeaway?
Both of these ladies had something intimate stolen from them — and, yes, the reactions were noticeably different — but, as Scott proves, their dignity and class wasn’t up for grabs. That seems like a pretty good rule of thumb for the rest of us to remember as this scandal continues to unfold.