On The Fappening, Kate Upton, ethics and all that

You may have heard about “The Fappening” recently. It’s also been called “Celeb-Gate,” and essentially it refers to the hacking of various celebrities and nude photos / sexualized images being displayed of them. The two biggest names are probably Jennifer Lawrence — there might not be a bigger name than her right now — and Kate Upton, although dozens of others have been afflicted. A lot of it began on 4Chan, but Reddit has been a source of information for a good deal of people as well. There are a couple of ways this could have happened — it could be an iCloud hack, or it could be a trading ring that’s existed for years. No one completely knows. The FBI is involved now, though.

A couple of thoughts:

The Ethics

There are a lot of very passionate views out there on this topic, like Lena Dunham:

I don’t really know the legal side of how this all works — whether a photo you take is necessarily your property, etc. — but obviously from an ethical side it’s fairly scummy.

There are basically two ways to look at it:

1. When you’re a celebrity, you have to realize this stuff might happen, so you shouldn’t do it in the first place.

2. What you do with your own phone / your camera / etc. is your business, and no one should be sharing that with the broader world.

I mostly agree with (2) above — more on that in a second — but the argument for (1) is simple: there will always be hackers so long as there’s an Internet. If you want to completely avoid a situation like this, just don’t tape yourself having sex or shoot yourself naked in a bathroom mirror. Even if you’re sending it to a person you think you love at that moment, you have no idea what could happen.

All that said, apparently you can still delete and have this stuff happen — which speaks again to (1):

Kate Upton 

I looked at a couple of the photos — it was hard to avoid them in Twitter streams, although Twitter did ban users who shared the stuff (which brings up First Amendment discussions, I’d reckon) — and here’s my one thing with Kate Upton. She’s attractive, and yet she doesn’t really do nudity. She does basic nudity, though — look at most of her magazine shoots or her “Cat Daddy” stuff. When these photos/videos leaked, you’re mostly just seeing another 2-3 inches of her that you’ve never seen. It’s cool in some ways, sure — I’m a red-blooded American male and it’s hard to immediately look away — but it’s not really that much different than even what you’d see in The Other Woman or whatever, so calm down.

Another thing: there’s been a ton of Justin Verlander / Kate Upton public appearances recently. There was even this special moment a few weeks ago at a Yankees game:

They did their Ice Bucket Challenge together, etc. Even though they’re both busy and have to travel a lot for work, they’re clearly making time for each other. Point being: they’re young, attractive people who love each other (presumably). So they take some naked photos and have sex and record parts of it. Who cares? It’s moderately hot, sure, but this is what a lot of young people — often not famous — do to make things hotter.

Look at this timeline of Verlander’s hacked photos. One of the sexier but tamer Upton photos — her basically topless wearing a men’s tie — was taken in Minneapolis while the Tigers (Verlander’s team) were in town. Minneapolis is not NYC or Los Angeles. She flew there to meet him, and probably to have some personal adult time. That’s not a crime, and we shouldn’t really be that fascinated with what happened therein. (Yes, I realize saying that and admitting I looked at some is a double standard.)

All that said, if you’re really into speculation on Kate Upton’s life, here’s a more interesting one for you. Remember this tweet back in the day?

Or this whole thing with Gronk and Upton?

Follow the bouncing ball here:

Sean Avery once tweeted at Kate Upton in a flirty manner (details here), and she smoked him back (“I wasn’t looking at you,” etc.) With Gronk, she playfully flirted back. See that tweet above? That’s playful. In that link above, you see stuff like “Someone’s confident … on Twitter.” Little jabs. 

Point is: if you’re interested in Kate Upton’s sex life solely for the visceral thrill involved, focus more on whether she had sex with Gronk — because honestly, we’ll never know. Who cares about what she does with Verlander? That might be the dude she ends up marrying. That’s love, and sex comes with that.

The Future

This stuff won’t stop, despite whatever privacy laws or Internet capabilities come into play. (Some no doubt will, especially if the names get bigger.) It’s just too hard to regulate. Dark corners of the Internet do exist, and will continue to. (That’s basically how things like ‘child porn’ became industries, honestly.)

I’m not sure what the next steps are — perhaps harsher penalties, or more secure clouds, or whatever — but I do think an intermediate step is that everyone should assume the world really isn’t all that private, and they shouldn’t make/do/save things they wouldn’t want to see in The New York Times. That’s a cop-out reasoning, sure, because I’m saying “Do this because this other thing will never stop,” but hey … reality.


Ted Bauer