Just how far does the Communications Decency Act go? A group of women who have signed on to a class action lawsuit against the owners of revenge porn site Texxxan.com — and its hosting company, the always-charming GoDaddy — are about to find out. Their suit seeks to prosecute for invasion of privacy and mental anguish, claiming the site shared intimate photos of them submitted without their consent.
Of course they're going after Texxxan.com, but why GoDaddy? I mean, other than the fact that they're the legit worst.
"GoDaddy is profiting off of it," said John S. Morgan, the lawyer for Hollie Toups, one of the women bringing the suit. He tells BetaBeat, "The reality of it is at some level this issue of revenge porn has to become a public discussion and a legislative discussion and it raises issues of corporate responsibility. Why would an organization like GoDaddy want to give its name to this type of website?"
Even more amazingly, when Toups asked the Texxxan's (I feel like such an idiot every time I type that) site administrators remove her pictures, they asked for her financial information.
Ms. Toups said she was "in a straight panic" for days upon first seeing the photos, and emailed the site's owner to get them removed. "They replied and said they would be happy to remove the pictures for me if I would enter my credit card information," she said. "I went from being depressed and embarrassed to being really pissed off."
No, but for real. Even though we really shouldn't be surprised, other shitty sites have done it before.
Because these site owners often claim they're protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that websites are not liable for content submitted by users, they feel free to continue to publish photos even after the women themselves ask for removal. However, this case is arguing that these sites are doing so knowing that women aren't giving consent, which is clear because they use this fact for advertising. And, you know, don't take the pics down when the women ask them to.
"I think 99 percent of victims get told no [by lawyers] so they give up," Toups told Betabeat. "I apparently was born with a hardheaded trait that came in handy for once, and I refused to accept the fact that there was nothing that could be done."
I hope they win, and I hope the Hunter Moore's of the world who pull this shit will get their rightful comeuppance. Getting off to non-consensual women isn't owed to you, and these images don't belong to you. They're not yours. Wouldn't you rather sexually gratify yourself with willing participants, it's just as easy to find millions of photos online of women who welcome your interest. The gross sense of entitlement involved with contributing to revenge porn is unsexy, depressing, and indicative of potentially scary behavior. Knock it the fuck off.
The piece ends with a sobering reality check of the truths involved with this type of privacy invasion:
"I've been trying to figure out why this happened," Ms. Toups said. "Maybe it happened to me so I could help someone. Several of the girls that I've been in contact with have been suicidal and I feel like if I had reached them sooner they would not even have attempted that. I'm one of the older ones–most of them are younger–so I felt somebody has to start it. And I knew that once I did even the ones who were scared would end up coming out."