Practically every other week the front pages of tabloid magazines are still splattered some celebrity’s hacked iCloud and private photos getting leaked: The famous leak with Emma Watson, Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Hudgens and Scarlett Johansson wasn’t an isolated incident, nor was it the last.
It’s devastating that such intimate pictures are being shown to the world without permission, and even more depressing is the response from some quarters to this cruel invasion of privacy is that these women — and therefore all women — shouldn’t be using their phones in the first place. On Sunday night’s (March 19), “The Arrangement” delves into nude photo scandals, and what, if anything can be done to stop it from happening.
While it’s true that no leaks would happen if there weren’t any photos to leak, it’s short-sighted and silly — where does one draw the line? Should women stop wearing dresses because a breeze might flow by and kick up the skirt? Apparently our TVs and microwaves are secretly spying on us — should everyone stop walking around their home without a couple layers, in fear of Big Brother snapping some pics? It’s no more ridiculous than blaming the victim — while the person who actually committed a crime gets rewarded with cash.
Aside from the sad fact that there’s no greater clickbait than a “nude photo” headline, the sad truth is that having stuff like this “leaked” doesn’t even launch careers anymore — of formerly unknown reality stars or anybody else. That trend is, at least, a thing of the past — it’s too transparently thirsty. But society’s obsession with celebrity rages on, the desire to see naked photos is insatiable, and there’s still a strong undercurrent of blame for the victims… Who more often than not are already targets of misogyny, racism and other hate.
When actress Jennifer Lawrence’s private photos were leaked for all the world to see, instead of trying to come up with an excuse, she proudly owned up to it — and refocused the blame where it should’ve been the entire time: The person who hacked into her iCloud.
“It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime,” Lawrence said to Vanity Fair. “It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change.” The pictures in question were from a period when she was with now ex-boyfriend Nicholas Hoult. “It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.”
Lawrence further clarified to Glamour, “Even I’ve defended myself, by saying I was in a relationship with a wonderful man for five years. But even if I wasn’t, even if I [just] went on a date with a guy — it doesn’t matter what the situation is. It’s your body. And you can do whatever you want. If I was quiet, it would have seemed like I was ashamed. And I wasn’t ashamed; I was enraged. Not once have I felt like I ‘learned a lesson.’ I didn’t do anything wrong!”
In “The Leak,” nude photos of Megan Morrison (Christine Evangelista) are suddenly all over the internet — and it’s depressing how many people might’ve been the culprit of the leak:
It could’ve been the studio heads of the blockbuster film she was initially supposed to star in with boyfriend Kyle West (Josh Henderson). Refusing to remove what is called a “morality clause,” these unsavory photos from Megan’s past flooding the news made it easy for them to replace her with a name actress instead…
And Megan could’ve leaked them herself, but since she’s already spiraling with her desire to be taken seriously as an actor, it’s unlikely. All fingers seem to point towards Terrence (Michael Vartan), head of the Institute of the Higher Mind, who doesn’t seem to be huge fan of her sudden, all-consuming presence in Kyle’s life. We also suspected it could be Megan’s ex-boyfriend Nic (Matthew Kevin Anderson).
But in the end, the person who leaked the photos is Megan’s best friend Hope (Katharine Isabelle). Due to a mixture of jealousy, highly inebriated, and being at a pretentious Hollywood party where she felt isolated as a nobody — and finally getting kicked out of the event altogether — this was her jealous revenge. We’re not a huge fan of the series taking such a cliche negative representation of female friendships, but the feeling of how quickly people can turn on anyone who finds success does resonate.
However, taking a page out of Lawrence’s handbook, Megan takes the reins and reroutes the narrative: She and Kyle pose completely stark naked and post a positive, empowering spin on nude photos. Redirecting the focus to finding out who leaked the photos, it gets fans fawning over how much Kyle has Megan’s back. Garnering over a million likes in less than an hour, the photos got people forgetting they’d ever thought of slut-shaming Megan, and writing “#relationshipgoals.” Fame is fickle, my friend. It takes a steady hand.
“The Arrangement” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the E! Network.