“If anyone is gonna make money or likes off my nipple, it’s gonna be me. So here it all is, you foolish dorks.”
Earlier this year, comedian Whitney Cummings posted an Instagram story of herself eating a lychee fruit in the bath, without realising that part of her breast and nipple were in the frame. After noticing, she deleted it. And that should have been the end of the story.
Someone sent a screenshot of the deleted post to Cummings, alongside the message: “How much would it cost not to share this photo?”
Rather than be bullied into submission, though, Cummings decided to reclaim her agency in the ultimate power move.
“In April I accidentally posted an insta story that showed nipple,” tweeted Cummings. “Once I realised, I deleted. The people who took screen grabs are trying to get money from me, some said they have offers to sell them, some are asking for money to not post the photo.
“They all must think I’m way more famous than I am, but they also must think I’m way more easily intimidated than I am.”
Tweeting the photo out to the public for herself, Cummings added: “If anyone is gonna make money or likes off my nipple, it’s gonna be me. So here it all is, you foolish dorks.”
It’s not the first time we’ve seen this kind of stance taken by a woman in the public eye. Earlier this year, Bella Thorne similarly made the decision to tweet her own topless photos after being threatened by a hacker.
Cummings didn’t stop at simply releasing the photos. Instead, she took the opportunity to comment on the toxic internet culture surrounding women and their bodies.
“When a woman in the public eye is extorted, we have to spend time, money and energy dealing with it, hiring lawyers and security experts, and living with a pit in our stomach about when and how we will be humiliated,” she said.
“Y’all can have my nipple, but not my time or money anymore.”
Cummings also showed the ultimate compassion for her bullies, tweeting: “I’m not posting the names of the people trying to extort me because some of them might be dumb kids.
“I wouldn’t want the stupid ideas I had when I was a teenager to follow me around forever or else every time someone Googled me, they’d see me shoplifting a NO FEAR t-shirt.”
The result of her powerful stance? An outpouring of support from friends and followers alike.
“Someone tried to extort @WhitneyCummings by threatening to post her nudes online and I won’t post my own nudes in solidarity but I’ll do something way more embarrassing and post my teenage scene phase. #IStandWithWhitney”
“Here’s a photo of a stretch mark I got from stress eating burritos. It’s the most embarrassing thing in my phone other than my career bio. #IStandWithWhitney”
“I don’t care what y’all say but I’m loving this #Istandwithwhitney hashtag! It’s so sweet and empowering. Don’t let anybody make you feel ashamed of your body. You’re all beautiful inside and out!”
Responding to the waves of support, Cummings tweeted: “I woke up to so much support around the nipple photo incident. It means the world to me and I’m sorry that the pic I had to release looks like I’m having a home birth.”
She added: “Thank you everyone who sent me embarrassing pictures of yourselves to make me feel better about my embarrassing photo.
“It means the world to me, but I wouldn’t freak out if you stopped sending me photos of your hairy balls.”