6 Sad Things We Learn About Humanity Through Sex Tape Leaks
By now you've probably "heard about" the Hulk Hogan sex tape which axe-bombed $140 million out of Gawker's sweaty hands. And if you haven't, then you probably "heard about" that staged sex tape Farrah Abraham made with James Deen. And if you haven't, then you probably "heard about" that scumshit "Fappening" hack of nude celebrity photos.
Good thing you had this tissue to clean your ears after all that hearing you did!
In fact, whether you're a Paraguayan orphan or a millionaire Russian prizefighter, there's like an 80 percent chance you've seen Scarlett Johansson's butt. And that's weird. Not just for Scarlett Johansson, but for the entire world. Because while it's publicly understood that leaking someone's sex tape is immoral as fuck, that hasn't stopped us from trivializing it in the same dumb ways every single time. For example ...
We Treat Male Celebrity Sex Tapes Like A Joke
When news broke that Hollywood Hogan humped his homie's honey on camera, the media couldn't help but to report it with shit-slathered smirking.
Keep in mind that this was before we learned that Hulkamania was also a big racist-face, which means these people were taking pot shots purely because they thought this guy looked funny. And while you might not care about the feelings of some rich idiot, when you imagine spending a day of your life reading everywhere about how wizened and silly your dick looks, it's not hard to figure out why he was awarded money for emotional damages.
Because male celebrity sex tapes are treated like a joke. Especially when they are leaked by rubbish, snide sources ...
It's hard to be impressed by a dude's junk when you're a giant dick.
I've lost count of how many times I've called Gawker an exploitative, lying, condom heap of a news organization. But with their recent legal problems, here's hoping I won't have to much longer. And with the risk of agreeing with a bunch of dipshit MRA forum commenters, there's no denying the glaring hypocrisy they implement toward male celebrity nudes.
We've talked about this lack of outrage before on the site, but the problem expands into the entire Internet blatantly mocking any male celebrity who gets their willy leaked. When Fred Durst sued Gawker for carrying on over the size of his limp bizkit, Gawker responded by bravely doubling down.
You know you suck when, between Fred Durst and lawyers, you're still the biggest asshole involved.
And the weirdest part? Durst apologized to Gawker for the lawsuit -- an apology they then published so they could continue making fun of him.
Nothing. Just say fucking nothing.
Because this goes way beyond the media being dicks to dick pics to a larger problem about male celebrities not being allowed to get upset over it. When Justin Bieber's eenie meanie found its way online, his own father publicly made a joke about it. When Pete Wentz's boy fell out, he blamed himself and said he laughed it off a day later. Even Kanye West addressed his nude leak by lamenting that the photo had cut off part of his junk.
And before you say that "men are simply less sensitive" about having their johnsons exposed, try to watch this video of Chris Brown being ambushed about his penis leak after previously hanging up on an interviewer for bringing it up:
Ignoring what he's saying and the overall depressing fact that Chris Brown exists, you can tell by his fidgety eye-covering body language that he's clearly embarrassed and uncomfortable, but afraid of losing face. Because no one likes having their naked bodies paraded against their will -- not even girlfriend-beaters and do-rag-wearing bigots.
Are you happy, Internet? THESE are the people you've forced me to defend.
We've Been Using The Same Stupid Justification Forever
Even if you agree with this column so far, you're no doubt having trouble avoiding the small part of your brain that keeps repeating, "Who gives a shit about these rich assholes? If famous people didn't want their nude pictures on the internet, they shouldn't be stupid enough to take them in the first place!" That part of your brain is called the Douchephalon, and it controls your higher asshole functions.
It's between the Shituitary and Hypoassholemus.
But I get it. Chris Brown certainly deserves zero of our concern, right? The problem is that this line of thinking turns Batman-level insane when applied across the board. We can't pick and choose which celebrities deserve what embarrassment ... even though that's totally what we're trying to do.
This random commenter's opinion is actually shared by Bloomberg View, and was used during the trial by Gawker's defense. It simply goes that if Hulk Hogan openly discussed his sex life to the public, then shouldn't a video of him having sex be considered newsworthy?
Quick lesson in what's newsworthy versus what's not newsworthy: When Hulk Hogan was taped admitting he's a racist, it was newsworthy because the story was about a heavily influential performer and entrepreneur having a serious bias that could affect his business relations and decisions. When Hulk Hogan was taped railing his friend's wife, it was not newsworthy because the story was about a heavily influential performer and entrepreneur railing his friend's fucking wife.
Saying that Hulk Hogan's sex tape is up for grabs because he uses sex in his persona is like saying that you should be able to legally punch Johnny Knoxville because he gets hurt on camera. It's like saying you should be able to rape a porn star because they do rough sex scenes (which is something that has actually happened, you guys). It's insanity when applied to literally any other situation.
It was also a completely legitimate argument in the eyes of the law back in 1997.
When a disgruntled electrician broke into their safe and released the sex tape he found inside of it, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee couldn't legally stop Penthouse from publishing the stolen images because the court decided that the actress regularly talking about her sex life in public made her case invalid. Holy. Fucking. Balls.
Are you starting to see how fucking greasy this argument becomes when you take it to the logical limits? People pretend that there's a gray area, but the line couldn't be more clear if it was made with screaming light bulbs covered in lava. But of course, that part of your brain is already thinking the thing I think it's thinking, which is, "Boo-hoo! How sad that these poor rich folks got even richer off their sex tapes!"
Well your brain is a sarcastic prick, sir or madam, because ...
Assuming All Sex Tapes Are Secret Publicity Stunts Is Glaringly Dumb
It's true that sex tapes have boosted or even jump-started the careers of a few people who made them. And because of that fact, we like to imagine that everyone leaks them on purpose to stay relevant and make money. And yes, after the phenomenon kicked off, there were porn companies specifically seeking out B- and C-listers willing to bang on camera. But "stars" like Dustin Diamond and Farrah Abraham ended up making somewhere between "a little" to "the ghost of money" from it.
Hope all that Internet hate was worth the price of a 2008 Ford Fusion.
But let's explore those two motivations (profit and publicity) by looking at the highest profiles of Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. As we learned from Pamela Anderson, sex videos are surprisingly hard to fight in court. So both Hilton and Kardashian ended up seeking some kind of not-dogshit settlement instead.
Try to name any other crime where the awarded settlement is referred to as "profit." The amount in question, by the way, was five million dollars for a video that has gone on to become the highest-grossing video for the defendant, Vivid Entertainment. Paris Hilton, meanwhile, didn't accept a single dime from her video, which ended up putting the distributor on the map with 600,000 DVD copies sold (it was a different time). But of course, why would either of them want money when their families are supervillain-rich?
See, the people who actually profit from leaking sex tapes aren't the stars having sex, but the assholes who leak them in the first place. It's a business venture, which is why the rich celebrities aren't the people secretly leaking them, but rather people like Colin Farrell's ex-girlfriend, who leaked their fuck video by claiming the rights as a "co-creator."
It's not foreplay; it's a "content strategy meeting"
But of course, there's that second motivation of publicity. After all, both Kim and Paris had conveniently-timed reality shows that got huge ratings from their tapes. There's absolutely no denying that fucking on camera gave them a career boost ... and no one else. Because every time we scoff about people who are only famous due to a sex tape, we're actually citing the 0.01 percent of cases where that actually happened. Statistically speaking, it would be wiser for any hot new debutante to use that sweet family money for billboards or a Super Bowl ad than to get famously penetrated.
But let's say it's all true, and both Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian purposefully agreed to have their sex tapes leaked for publicity. Is it possible to still consider them victims? Lord, yes. Here's why ...
Has Everyone Forgotten What It's Like To Be Young And Stupid?
I have a confession: When I was 23, I lived in a degenerate apartment as part of a clan of punks who often imbibed substances and fought each other for amusement. During that time, people took photos of me which I'll now "leak" from my Facebook page.
We called it "Garbage Haus" because it was fucking garbage. And while many mistakes were made, I still wear my time there like a brand. Not figuratively; we branded ourselves like drunk cattle.
Now I'm like 31, complain about my taxes, and remain thankful that I didn't document anything stupider in my youth. Because people do dumb things when they are 23, which coincidentally is the same age Kim Kardashian was when she filmed her sex tape.
Farrah Abraham was 21 when she got down on camera. And when news broke of the possibility of multiple Paris Hilton sex tapes, their release was kept pending over whether she was of legal age when the videos were made. Because the one we did see was her at 20 years old -- aka the age at which I drank nine Sparks alcoholic energy drinks and wandered Boston in a waking nightmare.
Discontinued in 2008, for some reason.
Go ahead and do a mental tally of all the good decisions you made in your early 20s. Or if you are in your early 20s, take a moment to reflect on how awesome you are and how nothing you do will matter someday. Maybe make a clumsy fuck video of yourself and get Beyonce-famous ... because there's no way you'll be regretting that forever down the line.
It's easy for the Douchephalon to say, "Oh, they're just saying that because they have to!" Especially for someone like Abraham, who is young and still looking for fame ... which is why her claims of being drugged and raped while making the tape were met with media skepticism and jokes.
Yeah right, teen mom! Who is this imaginary rapist you claim to--
Right, it's James Deen -- the guy accused of sexually assaulting multiple women who was coincidentally in Abraham's sex tape. Turns out we needed multiple women to come out before we could go back and take her claim seriously. Which I'm sure has only convinced some people that she is so starved for fame that she created an elaborate rape-spiracy.
The People Who Leak Sex Tapes Truly Think They Are The Underdogs
There is a certain minority of people whom this column will never reach -- the same ones who've been completely hijacked by that nasty, vindictive brain voice that believes these celebrities undeservedly have something the world owes them. They are the same people who either think that Hogan deserved it and/or that stars like Emma Watson are bitches for standing up for themselves.
"Two points, Pieces of Shit."
While revealed to ultimately be a hoax threat, saying that you're going to release someone's naked pictures for speaking about feminism is still a threat. It's social terrorism ... and like all terrorists, the people doing it actually think they are fighting for a cause. The hackers behind "The Fappening" and Scarlett Johansson's nude leak were also involved in revenge porn with women they knew -- women who, in their minds, had hurt them. And so, like all revenge porn, this was about assholes who thought they were "reclaiming power." Because as Rick & Morty's Dan Harmon once intoxicatedly said, everyone thinks they are the underdog.
So let's look at Gawker from what I assume was their underdog perspective. We have a climate in which, in their eyes, irrelevant celebrities will occasionally leak a sex video to get back on top. By spreading the video, they are simply partaking in the tired dance between a company seeking headlines and a celebrity pretending to be outraged over a leaked video. There might be a weak lawsuit here or there, but that's the price of admission for a game that both parties are playing.
Only Hulk wasn't actually playing a game, and Gawker interpreted that as him unfairly changing the rules. To them, Hulk had "promoted" the sex video by talking about it. And, being the clear victim of his whims, they fought back.
"We can be heroes
Just for one day"
How brave of you, Gawker, to hold strong in the face of insurmountable opposition. You're like Aragorn convincing Theoden to ride out at Helm's Deep.
See, what Gawker didn't factor in was that Gawker is fucking terrible. Their methods are terrible, and they are run by terrible people. The employees, most of whom I'm sure are decent people, are unfortunately bubbled in a culture in which Hulkamaniac's wang is their Watergate scandal. Even after all of the resounding legal backlash, they still claim to be bravely standing up to racist tyranny, like the Harriet Tubman of watching blowjobs. This lawsuit might demolish Gawker, but it shouldn't demolish the people Gawker employed. Because they aren't to blame.
Well, actually, they are to blame ... because, technically everyone is to blame.
At One Point, We Were ALL Of The Problem
Society has evolved since 2008, the golden age of cynical fuck videos which saved us from $5,000 pirated Rob Lowe VHS tapes. This was when D-list stars like Tonya Harding made whoopee for cash, and the general consensus was that everyone was in on the joke.
Then something new happened ...
Thanks to the magic of phone hacking, A-list celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett Johansson suddenly became targets -- and the question of whether or not they wanted "publicity" or "money" fell apart. These were victims who fought back instead of smiling through it, and they made us question all those past occasions we laughed off. Suddenly this was a crime, and one that -- thanks to technology plowing ahead at a neck-snapping rate -- affected all of us. Suddenly, we were all Paris Hilton, living on a Paris Hilton planet like a drunk Twilight Zone episode.
No celebs here.
But none of this is a new problem. The worst realization here is that this has always been the case with these videos. From Pamela and Tommy's VHS tape being "hacked" from their personal safe to Hulk Hogan's friend vindictively recording him in secret, it's always been revenge porn.
We can talk all day about whether or not these celebrities made mistakes, but the change ultimately begins with us. We as a culture fed this machine by trivializing the pain it caused, and we now need to own up if we ever want to accept the solution -- which is obviously for everyone to film themselves fucking and leak it online so it's not a big deal anymore.
Post videos of yourself fornicating wildly on Dave's Twitter, and we can finally start building a new world. Special thanks to Lucy Randall Knipe for the GarbageHaus photos. And if you're interested in the sex goings-on of historical celebrities, do check out Napoleon's Rosebud on Amazon Kindle.
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For more on our extensive knowledge of sex tapes, check out The Top 10 Celebrity Sex Videos Nobody Wanted To See and If This Is The Kind Of Sex Gene Simmons Has Had 4,000 Times, I No Longer Envy Him.
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