Wronged: Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton were among the female celebrities targeted
Wronged: Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton were among the female celebrities targeted Credit: Getty/WireImage

三级成人视频In August 2014, Jennifer Lawrence’s phone began acting up. She was locked out of her email, and a message claiming to be from Apple said that her iCloud account had been accessed in Moscow. To prevent any breach in security, the message read, she should change her password immediately. She forwarded the message to her assistant and promptly forgot about it.

Days later, dozens of nude photographs that she had sent to former boyfriend Nicholas Hoult, and that she believed were deleted from her phone after they were taken, were splashed across the darker corners of the internet. During an interview with the FBI, she would become “very distraught” and “visibly shaken”, a 2015 affidavit reads. She told the agent interviewing her that she was having an anxiety attack.

The hacking of Lawrence’s phone, and those belonging to Kirsten Dunst, Kate Upton, Amber Heard and dozens of other actresses, pop stars, models and athletes, sparked a widespread social dialogue about sex, gender, pornography, privacy and the internet.

Six years after the hacking, dubbed “the Celebrity iCloud hack” or “Celebgate”, it serves as the real-world backdrop toa new black comedy series starring Billie Piper and written by Lucy Prebble, which starts tomorrow. In I Hate Suzie三级成人视频, Piper plays a teen pop star turned B-list sci-fi actor whose iCloud account is hacked just as she’s about to sign on to a big Disney movie. It sparks a personal unraveling, as her marriage, career and sanity all begin to curdle.

Piper’s character, the brilliantly named Suzie Pickles, flickers between shame, anger and defiance in every episode. Sometimes those shifts occur mid-scene, Piper all frayed nerves and chaos. It makes for great and fizzy tragicomedy, but also feels appropriate considering what inspired the show itself. It’s been more than half a decade since the celebrity hack, and discord still exists in how we should talk about it. It’s right there in its various names. One of its less salubrious names, “The Fappening” – “fapping” being slang for masturbation – was coined by the trolls and nerds of discussion website Reddit; it’s knowingly juvenile, conjuring images of spotty teenage boys and tube socks. Even “Celebgate”, as it was known in the FBI records, seems to put the onus on the victims rather than the perpetrators.

The media outlets that referred to it as a “Hollywood scandal”, the kind of term used for affairs or star feuds, seemed to undermine the criminality of the circumstances. Calling it a “leak”, rather than a “hack”, also seemed to neuter it somehow, as if all those photos innocently slipped out of people’s phones, instead of being deliberately targeted and uploaded maliciously.

Truthfully, we’ve never settled on a consistent vocabulary when it comes to celebrity nudity. If it’s not captured on film, for release in a not-too-embarrassing movie, nudity has often been spoken of as a source of shame. High School Musical actress Vanessa Hudgens was chastised by Disney when a nude photograph depicting the star hit the internet in 2007. “Vanessa has apologised for what was obviously a lapse in judgment,” Disney said in a statement. “We hope she’s learned a valuable lesson.”

三级成人视频Paparazzi sneaking cameras under the skirts of actresses tended to lead to conversations not about their predatory tactics, but how apologetic actresses and pop stars were meant to be about it. “Seen a lot of you lately,” remarked the now-disgraced US TV host Matt Lauer in a 2012 interview with Anne Hathaway, shortly after she experienced an upskirt “wardrobe malfunction” in front of the paparazzi. “What’s the lesson learned from something like that?” he added.

Celebrity peril: Billie Piper in I Hate Suzie Credit: Sky

Tabloids salivated over the X-rated sensationalism of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s honeymoon sex tape, but not the fact that it was stolen from their home and distributed against their will. That seems to be forgotten. Likewise that Paris Hilton, forever incorrectly described as someone who used a sex tape to launch a mainstream career, had no intention of marketing the tape she made aged 19 with her 33-year-old boyfriend. He distributed it with a porn company himself.

For a while, the celebrity hack seemed to be following the same pattern. It was the women themselves who were at fault, all of them foolish to have stored compromising photographs on their phones in the first place. In truth, many of the women targeted didn’t know that their apparently deleted photographs were stored in “the cloud”, a sort of ephemeral data hub where all deleted photographs go, unless you un-tick a specific box in your phone settings. The event was also talked about as some grand statement on Hollywood depravity, as if taking sexual photographs of yourself or your partner were exclusive to the rich and famous, and not most people who dated in the 2010s.

三级成人视频“Celebrities, make it harder for hackers to get nude pics of you from your computer by not putting nude pics of yourself on your computer,” tweeted Ricky Gervais. American Idol alumni Clay Aiken, at that point running for a US congressional seat, told reporters that “anybody who takes inappropriate pictures of themselves deserves exactly what they get”.

The Hunger Games: Lawrence was among the most eloquently angry victims of the hack Credit: AP

What the jokes and condemnations seemed to miss, or chose to ignore deliberately, were the disturbing specifics of how the hack unfolded. “Ground zero” appeared to be AnonIB, a message board for the sharing of images, most of them pornographic in nature. It would be shut down in 2018, following the arrests of its administrators amid an investigation into its publishing of “revenge porn”, or nudes of women published without their permission and used to blackmail or humiliate.

In 2014, anonymous users first began to offer celebrity nudes in exchange for money, or in trade deals for other nudes. They claimed that the images had been “ripped from iCloud”, and offered up master lists of female celebrities they said they had hacked. Sports blog Deadspin was contacted by an anonymous tipster who claimed to have been offered, over a Facebook private message, a number of celebrity nudes of stars including Lawrence and gymnast McKayla Maroney; he was told that he could have them in exchange for naked pictures of his girlfriend. Discussion on AnonIB led to discussion on the notorious internet shock site 4Chan, with users increasingly hungry for the promised images.

On August 31, a dump of images and videos finally appeared, spreading from 4Chan to Reddit and then to Twitter. Gossip blogger Perez Hilton published Lawrence’s nudes, before deleting them and begging for forgiveness in a video blog after receiving backlash. Many stars confirmed that the images were authentic, with a representative for Lawrence threatening legal action against sites that published the images. Maroney’s publicist released a statement confirming the authenticity of their client’s images, while adding that Maroney was also underage in them – only deepening the illegality of what had occurred. Birds of Prey actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead tweeted her disgust at those viewing the images: “To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, [I] hope you feel great about yourselves.”

Meanwhile, on 4Chan, the hack had long become a kind of parlour game. Further lists were drawn up of names that had allegedly been hacked, and the nudes awaiting publication. Fact and fiction began to blur. Fakes or more overtly pornographic photographs of non-famous women were slipped into folders of authentic nudes; authentic pictures were photoshopped or enhanced; untruths became gospel. Ariana Grande’s name is often mentioned in lists of women affected by the hack, despite her confirming in September 2014 that an oft-referenced nude image claimed to be of her was of a different woman entirely.

Emma Watson became a popular target, with hackers repeatedly claiming to possess explicit photos of the star. A site called “Emma You Are Next”, which consisted of a red carpet photograph of Watson alongside a countdown clock, turned out to be the work of a marketing company, which was itself a front for a team of internet spammers earning ad revenue from sponging off Google search trends. Over the course of just a few weeks, hundreds of women had been targeted, preyed upon by Bitcoin-crazed basement dwellers and publicly humiliated, and that was before they were made the subjects of any number of probing thinkpieces about morality, the internet and 21st-century sex.

Lawrence was the first to comment extensively on the hack, sparing no prisoners in an understandably furious interview with Vanity Fair in October 2014. “Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this,” she told the magazine. “It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime. It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting... Anybody who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual offence. You should cower with shame. Even people who I know and love say, ‘Oh, yeah, I looked at the pictures.’ I don’t want to get mad, but at the same time I’m thinking, I didn’t tell you that you could look at my naked body.”

Action was swift. The FBI were speaking to women affected by the hack a day after the first drop of images, Reddit began immediately deleting boards used to share the images on their site, and Apple promised greater transparency when it comes to iCloud storage and the data that goes there, as well as increased use of “two-factor authentication” to verify accounts. They also launched an investigation into their security systems. The hackers had claimed they had accessed images via a loophole in Apple’s security settings, but that proved to be false.

While we imagine internet hacking to be like something out of a movie, full of Matrix-esque green digits on a screen that only the most studious of boffins can understand, the celebrity hack came about via incredibly dull means. Rather than penetrating airtight Apple security systems, the hackers would email female celebrities using addresses disguised to look like Apple or Google administrators (such as “secure.helpdesk0019@gmail.com”) and trick them into re-entering or changing their usernames and passwords. Once inside the stars’ accounts, hackers had free rein to explore files, emails and private information.

When the mask slips: Billie Piper in I Hate Suzie Credit: Sky

Even more mundane were the identities of those responsible. To no one’s surprise, all were men, with one quite literally a 28-year-old man living with his mother. As of 2020, five men have been found guilty of participating in the hacks, with the individuals sentenced to between eight and 32 months in prison. One of the men, self-described “computer nerd” Edward Majerczyk, was ordered to pay an unnamed star $5,755 for the counselling sessions she attended following the hack. It is believed that all the men worked independently, and that it was impossible to discern whether any were personally responsible for spreading the hacked material online, or whether they only hacked into accounts.

三级成人视频The discourse fallout from the nude hack seemed to be generational – a kind of “if you know, you know” ambivalence from the young, and exasperated contempt from the old. And that’s despite the historic ubiquity of naughty photographs sent to lovers, the only difference being that where once they were hidden at the bottom of sock drawers, today they’re stored in secret, password-protected folders on people’s iPhones.

There’s also an argument to be made that culture seemed to get over it rapidly. There have been similar hacks in the years since, also involving high-profile actresses (if not Lawrence at peak Hunger Games star power), including, most recently, Bella Thorne, but none have created the ripples of the original. Perhaps no one cares any more; or, perhaps, the first hack sparked a collective realisation that there’s something embarrassing about calling out stars for banal indiscretions when many more serious things in society are at stake.

三级成人视频I Hate Suzie spirals off into similar tangents as it goes on, the hack of Suzie’s nudes becoming almost incidental. By the midpoint of the series, the images seem like a mere launchpad for gnarlier subject matter, and the things that we really ought to care about. For a series that so often blurs fantasy with reality, and features big musical numbers and projectile diarrhoea, it is the most truthful and lifelike aspect of the entire thing.