09/25/2014 10:55 am ET

The Emma Watson Nude Photos Threat Was A Hoax -- But It Was Still A Threat

Dimitri Otis via Getty Images

When we thought 4chan had threatened to leak nude pictures of Emma Watson as retaliation for her United Nations speech on feminism last week, it was outrage-on-internet-business as usual. After all, women being verbally attacked and sexually threatened for speaking up is nothing new. Finding out that it was all part of a hoax, however, means He-for-She-gate is a full-blown meta-misogynist clusterfuck.

Rantic Media (also known as Social VEVO), the supposed marketering bros behind the threat – hoax or no, it was still a threat – swears that the goal was to bring attention to the sexism of 4chan and the recent celebrity photo leaks. But sexually threatening an outspoken woman to shine a light on how outspoken women are sexually threatened – well, that’s idiotic at best. The Emma Watson hoax was a cravenly opportunistic move to gin up attention using a real issue, a real woman and real fear that women and marginalized groups across the internet face constantly. That’s not marketing or consciousness-raising: it’s harassment.

Read more on The Guardian