In a cover interview with Vanity Fair, Jennifer Lawrence asserts that the nude celebrity photo hack is “not a scandal, it’s a sex crime.” Did Lawrence just accidentally offend every victim of a sex crime?
Jennifer Lawrence is a stand-out in the celebrity community for her no-nonsense, forthright, say it like it is (but in a way that people relate to) attitude. She’s publicly denounced fat shaming, loves a good vag joke, is a fan of the “F-word” and is at one with her lack of a filter. Her off-the-cuff comments are generally given in — and taken in — jest, and it is this attitude that has made her a fan favorite.
We can only imagine and sympathize with Lawrence’s outrage over having her most private moments put on a world stage. The mere thought of that happening to any of us is paralyzing — we have to assume those feelings are magnified when the victim is famous. Not that she needs to defend the images, but in the Vanity Fair interview, Lawrence explains, “I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years. It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.”
We’ll leave the topic of Lawrence thinking she needs to compete with porn alone for now. What she did is her business and having an incredibly private moment shared with the world without her consent by sleazy hackers is egregious. One would imagine the victim of such a breach would feel incredibly violated, powerless and degraded.
While feelings of being violated, powerless and degraded are consistent with a sex crime, is what happened to Lawrence and other celebs involved in the hack a sex crime? A sex crime is defined as “a crime involving sexual assault or having a sexual motive.” Who would blame Lawrence if she did want to redefine what sex crime means because what happened to her was wrong. No logically-minded person would argue that point. But would victims of sex crimes such as rape and molestation agree that what happened to Lawrence is a sex crime?
Lawrence doesn’t stop there. She goes on to say in the interview, “Anyone who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual offense.” We completely appreciate Lawrence’s outrage, but is this an accurate statement?
I’m an entertainment editor. I looked. Admittedly, I went in half-thinking it was a hoax (I mean, really, who could pull off a hack on such a grand scale?). I was not at all prepared for the graphic nature of the pictures, and I was shocked. And I did feel dirty afterward once I realized these photos were not your basic boudoir shots. Because of this, I haven’t and won’t be viewing any subsequent leaks. But does my initial viewing mean I perpetuated a sexual offense?
With these types of privacy violations it is time to change the law and punish those who wreak so much havoc in the lives of unsuspecting and innocent victims, and perhaps it is time to broaden the definition of a sex crime. What do you think? Is what happened to Lawrence and the other celebs involved in the hack a sex crime? Are there degrees of sex crimes? Should crimes like rape and molestation be lumped in with nude photo hacks?