By Dhruv Arora:
A few days ago, Emma Watson delivered a game-changing speech at the UN #HeForShe launch event. Emma spoke about feminism and why it is important for all genders to understand the concept and support gender equality. The speech was widely appreciated and praised, but came under immediate heat when news started circulating that a user of the infamous 4chan website, where the initial celebrity nudes were leaked, had issued an open threat to leak Emma Watson’s nude pictures if she continued to speak up about feminism. The gravity of this threat was quite high, considering similar nudes had already been leaked from 4chan. This resulted in a massive uproar across the internet and it seemed like a majority of the internet was standing with Emma Watson against this ridiculous threat. A website by the name of emmayouarenext.com was launched, undoubtedly by the people who issued this threat, with a countdown to when the nudes will be leaked.
Turns out, the entire thing was a hoax, Â a ploy by a marketing firm that I refuse to name in this article.
You can, of course, find out about the firm in question quite easily by visiting the now-defunct website (that now redirects to their own website). The website, that was initially launched as the threat, now carries a laughable banner that talks about how the entire idea was to “raise awareness” about how problematic 4chan is (irony, oh sweet irony). Another banner on the firm’s website brags about how many visits and social media mentions they got (shown below). They are now appealing to the public to message the White house about shutting down 4chan. Because, you know, the firm is ethical and stuff.
The very fact that these marketing firms think they can actually get away with something as ridiculous as this is testament to how idiotic they seem to think the internet is. Let me break it down for you: they actually released a threat to Emma Watson about releasing her nude pictures, put up a countdown on a website to garner publicity, and then redirected that website to their personal website after it had garnered millions of hit. They did all this to raise a voice against how unethical it was of 4chan to release nude pictures, hoping to come out of this entire debacle as the saviours of these poor woman while actually issuing a real threat to a real person. Take a moment to let it sink in how absolutely ridiculous it is.
I’m not entirely sure, but I have a feeling (and honestly, I hope) this might even qualify as a threat under law, and should attract legal charges.
The absurdity of how morally bankrupt this particular firm seems to be is not the only problem with this entire fiasco. A bigger, much more easily ignored problem that this brings up is the idea that they considered, as many other people do, that the biggest threat to a woman would be a threat to her sexuality. This idiotic firm actually believed that the best way to ‘expose’ 4chan (read: promote their own brand) was by issuing a threat to a woman targeting her privacy and sexuality is absolutely ridiculous.
I genuinely hope that the internet calls them out on the ridiculousness of this entire nonsensical scheme ultimately targeted at self-promotion, and they do not get away with this apologetic pseudo-moralistic garbage.
UPDATE: It seems that the “marketing firm” in question is fake as well. A gang of internet spammers that call themselves Social VEVO came up with this entire thing. The best way to sum this discussion up would be how The AV Club puts it:
“So in summation: A group of viral “pranksters” used Emma Watson’s speech to manufacture a fake threat of retaliation, one that was meant to stoke outrage aimed at the sort of people who regularly victimize women on the Internet–all by actually victimizing a woman on the Internet. (But you know, in a “prankster” way.)”