• Wed, Dec 5 2012

Is This Legal? Revenge Porn Guru Hunter Moore Wants To Publish Victims’ Addresses

This is hands-down the creepiest and most disturbing thing I’ve read in a while: Hunter Moore, peddler of something known as ‘revenge porn,’ is launching a new website that will not only post naked photos of women sent in by their exes but also include links to their social media accounts and possibly their home addresses.

Jessica Roy profiles Moore in the New York Observer following his visit to NYC “to serve a community service sentence following an incident in which he’d headbutted a go-go dancer.” That right there probably tells you most of what you need to know about Moore. But it gets worse. Apparently Moore was the proprietor of a website called Is Anyone Up, which boasted the web’s biggest cache of “revenge porn.”

WTF is revenge porn? Exactly. I think I was happier in the world not knowing this was a thing. But it is, it is a thing where disgruntled and possibly sociopathic exes send in naked or pornographic photos and videos of the women they used to sleep with. Against these women’s wills, obviously, and mostly unbeknownst to them. Roy tells the horrific story of Sarah, “a consultant in her mid-twenties” whose ex uploaded nude pictures of her, along with her full name and a link to her Facebook profile, on hundreds of revenge porn websites.

For months afterward she continued to receive harassing emails from revenge porn aficionados who had seen her pictures online. … Sarah’s ex also sent them to everyone she worked with from an email address he had rigged to appear to come from her. “In the end, I decided to leave my job there because the pictures were all up in association with my position and the company,” she said. “I continued to receive harassing emails at my email address there, and honestly feared that sooner or later I would be physically stalked at work.”

She ended up also having to change her name, because things on the Internet never fully disappear and the Internet will outlive us all. But back to Moore — last spring he sold Is Anyone Up to James McGibney, founder of an anti-bullying site called Bullyville, and wrote an apologetic letter saying he was done with revenge porn. His motivation?

“I literally had a half pound of cocaine on a fucking table with like 16 of my friends and we were busting up laughing taking turns writing this stupid letter,” Mr. Moore said of the incident. “I think bullying is bullshit and it’s just a soccer-mom fad.”

Now he’s launching a new revenge porn site, HunterMoore.TV, that will include all of the old content plus new material. He told Roy it will also allow users to post the home addresses of women whose photos they upload, then display the info on a map of where revenge porn victims live.

I almost feel like dude has to be just trolling us, because there’s no way possible that’s legal, right? It’s complicated. Roy says a few days after her interviews with Moore, he told Salon he was coked up and drunk during their interview and only he would be posting addresses, not users (meanwhile, Anonymous — published Moore’s home address and names of his family members). But hosting and disseminating revenge porn is legally murky. Victims have sued “on a host of legal grounds, including copyright infringement, privacy and publicity statutes,” writes Roy. But Moore has thus far been protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects websites from being held liable for user-generated content.

“No one can do shit and I don’t give a fuck,” Mr. Moore said. “I have a legal team and we’ve never even heard of these fucking people [suing us].”

University of Maryland law professor Danielle Citron told Roy state and federal cyberstalking laws cover the behavior of Sarah’s ex, “which is repeated online behavior designed with the intent to cause substantial emotional distress.” But, she says, it’s  not enforced.

“So often cops say, ‘Oh, just turn off your computer, you’ll clean up your online search, boys will be boys, they’ll just forget about you.’”

It also still leaves people like Moore off the hook.Citron thinks more states should enact video voyeurism laws like one in New Jersey that criminalize publishing “pictures that are sexual in nature and naked pictures of sex acts” without their consent. As far Moore’s potential revenge porn map goes: Revealing the addresses of women along with naked photos would amount to “a map to facilitate stalking,” Citron said, and could therefore be considered cyberstalking under federal criminal law.

You can sign a petition supporting anti revenge-porn effots at Sarah’s website EndRevengePorn.comPhoto via End Revenge Porn’s Facebook page

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  • Lauren Lever

    What a grade-a scumbag! You can cry free speech all you want to, but this has to be one of those exceptions where it would cause harm to someone, and therefore should be illegal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/park.danielle Park Avenue Danielle

    This is the logical outcome of Section 230 immunity, the same one that GOOGLE enjoys. I guess women like Googling people when it turns up dirt on some guy they are thinking of dating, but when they are the ones targeted, now they wonder why the law doesn’t do anything. Remember when you guys said all this time: “sue the original poster.” Name-changes are the only real way to fight this, sadly, unless we repeal Section 230.