Why Stealing Anyone's Nude Photos is Wrong

by Amber L. Wright The question of how much privacy celebrities are entitled to has dominated th...

by Amber L. Wright

The question of how much privacy celebrities are entitled to has dominated the internet as the recent influx of leaked nude pictures from their hacked accounts hit screens all over the world. No matter if the celebrity were Black or white, mainstream or urban, in many conversations I was privy to about this issue, I saw the same commentary. Statements like, “Just don’t take nude pictures if you don’t want them leaked” or “They should have seen it coming because they’re celebrities” were plentiful and repetitious.

That kind of attitude toward these situations frustrates me because I believe that celebrities owe us their art, not their privacy. We live in a society that is obsessed with celebrities and all of the trappings that come along with fame. We crave the most intricate and even mundane details about the lives of our favorite celebs, in the hopes of finding some morsel of information that will normalize them and essentially make them regular folk like us.

It has always been this way; except the tabloid magazine in your grocery store checkout stand is now the gossip blog you scroll through on your smart phone or read online. There is an insatiable thirst for celebrities to be one of us – shot down from their high horses, glitzy homes, and globe-trotting for just one second, and be real people with real problems.

Instead of starting at that place though – seeing them for the flawed human beings that they are (no different from the rest of us) – we let their jobs serve as a reason for an all-access pass into what they’re really like behind the scenes.

Yes, if it weren’t for consumers, our favorite actresses, singers, musicians, and entertainers would not have careers. We buy their albums, go to their shows, and see their movies. In some respects, you can say that the fans are “bosses” of the celebrities. Depending on the quality of their work, we evaluate and appraise them with our time, money, and attention.

Keeping that in mind, let’s reframe the scenario.

You get a job – one that you love and have devoted your entire life to achieving. You come to work and bust your butt on the daily to make sure that those invested in your career and your successes are pleased with your work. You get a raise, a promotion, and some level of notoriety within the company with your own parking spot. Winning!

Then one day you come to work and your boss calls you into her office and demands to know what you ate for dinner the night before. She wants to know who that person was you were seen out on a date with the other day. She then lets you know that she’s formed a committee of people to follow you around and take pictures of you and your family without your permission.

Another day at a staff meeting, she releases the pictures that the committee took of you in the privacy of your own home, in addition to some nude pictures that you took on your phone to send to your sweetie in advance of a steamy date night you had planned.

Everybody in the office has seen your lady parts. Everybody.

How would you feel about that?

Would it be okay, because you applied for the job and worked hard for it? Would you willingly oblige your bosses’ requests solely because she signs your paycheck and you want to be able to continue to do what you love to do?

Absolutely not! You’d be incensed and ready to cuss some folks out and start flipping over tables, raising all kinds of hell in that office! Why? Because you don’t owe your boss any of that information.

Your life outside of your job is your business.

The same is true for celebrities.

Granted, they do experience a level of visibility that comes along with being famous. I totally get that! I think that for the most part, they accept and understand that to be true as well.

Beyond that however, should they not be entitled to live their lives how they please (so long as they are not a danger to themselves and others), just like you expect to be able to do? Is releasing nude pictures of them any less cruel of a thing to do simply because they’re famous? I think not.

Let me clarify by saying that I specifically mean those that endeavor to keep a line of demarcation between who they play onscreen versus who they really are. Some celebrities revel in the attention and welcome it with open arms.

Some on the other hand (like Kerry Washington for example), desire to be known for their work and their work alone. That is what they owe us – work and art that moves, inspires, excites, and entertains us. That and nothing more.

Amber L. Wright, M.A.  is an adjunct professor, writer, communication coach and creator of TalktoAmber.com. Her personal mission is to teach you how to hear and be heard in every area of your life - from the boardroom to the bedroom. Wright’s areas of interest and expertise are in communication, relationships, marriage and popular culture.

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