January 24, 2013

Lawsuit Takes Aim at Revenge Porn


What two consenting adults do in the privacy of the bedroom is, of course, strictly private. If the couple wants to take some racy photos or videos for their own personal enjoyment, where is the harm in that? Well, in the wake of a bad breakup, some people are willing to go to pretty despicable lengths to get revenge on their exes. This has led to the creation of, believe it or not, “revenge porn” sites. But one Texas woman is striking back by taking one of these websites to court.

The idea behind the website is that scorned (and reprehensible) men who wish to get revenge can submit sexy images of their exes. Well, one man’s good laugh with his buddies is another woman’s ruined reputation, as these images are most certainly not posted with blurred out faces. When a fan of the site recognized 32 year-old Hollie Toups in a Texas store, she quickly discovered that her ex had indeed submitted pictures of her to the site, and those images were now out in cyberspace for anyone to see.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Toups’s first strategy was to approach the website and ask for the images to be taken down. The site refused to do so unless she paid a fee. So, Toups then decided to take the company to court. She joined forces with 25 other women to sue the owner of the website. The legal hurdle, according to the Dallas/Fort Worth CBS affiliate, is that the website operator will likely claim that the site is a bulletin board and therefore the company has no control over content.

There are some who like to talk about the World Wide Web as a kind of lawless, Old West on the Internet, but I strongly believe there have to be some lines that cannot be crossed. It is an act of trust when a person agrees to take private pictures of this nature, and betraying that trust in such a public way for petty revenge is abominable. It sickens me that sites like this can make money off of this trash, and it angers me that there are men out there who would contribute to the site and others who would take voyeuristic pleasure in viewing these images.

I hope this lawsuit sends a message to other sites and shuts this practice down. I would be happy if the site’s owner loses his pants in the lawsuit… and someone posts a picture of it online.




Edited by Jamie Epstein



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