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Jennifer Lawrence says she’s “taking something back” after nude photo leak

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Emily Reynolds
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The actress opens up on revenge porn, abuse and Harvey Weinstein.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence has opened up about the 2015 leak of her nude photos – and she says it’s time for her to “take something back”. 

Speaking to Oprah Winfrey in an interview for the Hollywood Reporter, Lawrence described the leak as “violating on a sexual level” – and that it had even prevented her from taking on “sexy or sexual” roles.

“I haven’t done anything sexy or sexual…since 2014, when I got my pictures hacked,” she said. “I just thought ‘I’ll never do that again, I’ll never share that part of myself ever since it got shared against my will’. And then when I said yes to Red Sparrow, I felt like I was taking something back.”

“I would much prefer my whole house to have been invaded,” she continued. “That’s what’s so scary about electronic [things]. I have such fear with my phone and my computer and electronics. It’s taking somebody’s intellectual property but also my body. It was violating on a sexual level.”

The interview also touched on abuse: “I don’t know a woman who hasn’t been touched by some sort of abuse”. But Lawrence also describes her “excitement” by “the change that’s going to come from [#MeToo].”

“The rule book is being rewritten right now,” she said. “Men need more social awareness. But this comes down to equality, and until all women in every job are paid equally for the same amount of work, how are we ever going to be thought of as equals? As long as there is one group of humans that is overruling another one, there’s going to be abuse, [and] why would we be thought of as equals?”

“My political passion has almost turned into an obsession. I mean, I don’t think you ever do feel settled, [but] as soon as you feel settled with your home and your personal life, you’re looking at the world and going, “How in the hell do I fix this? What do we do?”

The photos were part of a leak of hundreds of private pictures of celebrities – the majority of whom were women. Originally posted on 4chan, the images quickly spread to other websites, with celebrities including Kate Upton, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kaley Cuoco and Kirsten Dunst impacted.

But it’s not just celebrities who are affected by nude photo leaks. One BBC analysis found an increasing number of cases of so called “revenge porn” – with some victims as young as 11.

Only 11% of reported offences resulted in charges, with 61% of reported offences “resulting in no action being taken against the alleged perpetrator”.

The figures came from 2015, the first year it became a criminal offence to “share sexual images without the subject’s consent”.  US statistics suggest that 90% of the victims of revenge porn are women. 

Facebook have even been trialling a new project to combat revenge porn – asking users to send in nude photos of themselves to “prevent any other attempts to upload the same pictures”. 

According to The Guardian, those concerned about revenge porn can “use Messenger to send the images to be ‘hashed’” – converting the image into a “unique digital fingerprint that can be used to identify and block any attempts to re-upload that same image.”

Revenge porn can have a horrifying impact on the mental health of victims, with many left feeling violated, ashamed and depressed. One victim described how her photos being leaked left her “ostracised and ridiculed” and that it “made [her] really suicidal for a while”.

If you find yourself the victim of revenge porn, you can contact the Revenge Porn Helpline on 0845 6000 459. The helpline is open from 10.00am - 4.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Emails can be sent at any time to help@revengepornhelpline.org.uk