The story behind the Rob Kardashian & Blac Chyna incident that began last week has eclipsed media outlets. On July 5th social media exploded when Rob posted a photo of Chyna on Instagram kissing another man. Rob alleges that Chyna sent him the photo in an effort to taunt him and continues his triad by posting several nude photos of Chyna captioning them with accusations of being an absent mother to their child, who abuses alcohol, and drugs. Although Chyna’s indiscretions which include allegedly charging over $300,000 worth of jewelry to Rob’s credit card cannot be overlooked, and should be investigated, the real issue of privacy in the backdrop of this debacle is the story worth talking about.
Cell phones, social media, and the internet has changed the way we communicate, and how we engage in relationships, however the use of this evolving technology combined with our personal and intimate interactions has produced unprecedented privacy issues. Rob’s use of Chyna’s nude photos as a means of attacking her reminds me of the internet hackers who leaked photos of Kate Upton, Jennifer Lawrence, and Ariana Grande in 2014. Unfortunately the practice is all too common with an endless list of victims, Abigail Spencer, Ashley Green, Avril Lavigne, Dwayne Wade, Kirsten Dunst, Meagan Good, Rihanna, and thousands of other victims who don’t make the news have found themselves in similar positions. It’s easy for us to have a lack of empathy for high profile celebrities with finances, and opportunities uncommon for the majority of the world. It may even seem humorous and entertaining to watch, but the destructive effects of the practice, are well documented as in the case of Jessica Logan.
Ms. Logan, hung herself from her bedroom in 2009 after an ex boyfriend began circulating a nude photo of her around their school in Ohio. She was 18. She began to skip school after being mocked and tormented by her classmates, and by the time the severity of the situation was uncovered, it was too late.
Jessica’s story is one of several tragic examples of the damage that can be inflicted by such a violation of basic human rights to privacy. Men and women alike trust their peers, and partners with some of their most intimate moments, a trust that shouldn’t be broken under any circumstances. Since these and other events have occurred, several laws have been enacted to punish the publishers of “revenge porn” and in states like California, offenders can face up to six months in jail, and a $1000 fine under Senate Bill 225.
I implore men, and women who’ve thought about “exposing” their former lovers in an effort to get revenge, realize there are several exposures taking place. Although you are “exposing” that person to a myriad of financial, emotional, and physiological problems, you are also ironically exposing yourself, as an untrustworthy, and immature individual , a sentiment rapper T.I. echoes in a recent TMZ interview.
Whether or not you think the allegations against Blac Chyna are true or not, and regardless of your feelings about her character, or anyone else’s, as far as the law is concerned, she still has rights, as do all men and women who’ve shared a private photo. Online bullying however trivial you think it may be, have real and lasting repercussions for the victim, and the perpetrator. Next time you think of sharing private photos, first image if it was you or your own child on the other end of that violation, and remember that once an upload takes place, so begins the downloads, and the likelihood of it ever being permanently deleted from the internet’s vast landscape, is improbable at best.