comScore

Amber Heard Speaks Out in Support of a Bill to Make Revenge Porn a Federal Crime

The actress was one of the many victims of the 2014 celebrity hacking spree.

amber heard speaks out about revenge porn.

Amber Heard is using her celebrity and influence to support a new bill that aims to make revenge porn a federal crime. The SHIELD Act (Stopping Harmful Image Exploitation and Limiting Distribution), sponsored by by Rep. John Katko (R-NY) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), would mimic revenge porn laws that have already been enacted in several states, including New York and California. The law would make the non-consensual sharing of nude images or videos punishable by a fine, up to five years in prison, or both.

Heard has a personal relationship to the cause, as she was one of the targets of the 2014 hack that targeted several high profile actors, including Jennifer Lawrence. At the time, Lawrence said, “It was so unbelievably violating. I feel like I got gangbanged by the fucking planet—like, there’s not one person in the world that is not capable of seeing these intimate photos of me.”

Heard spoke about the importance of the bill, saying,

“My stolen and manipulated photos are still online to this day, posted again and again with sexually explicit and humiliating and degrading headlines about my body, about myself … I continue to be harassed, stalked and humiliated by the theft of those images. The consequences to my personal safety, dignity and livelihood are severe … My relationships, my family, my profession, my opportunities, and moreover, my expectations for bodily autonomy and liberty are forever compromised.”

Heard elaborated not just on her personal experience, but the experience that all its victims face, saying, “Nonconsensual porn is one of the worst violations of privacy and it doesn’t discriminate, instead it disproportionately affects women around the world with devastating consequences … It can result and often does in devastating and economic, social psychological consequences.”

The bill has support from senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris, who told Vice’s Motherboard, “I’m proud to join with my colleagues in the House to reintroduce legislation that will give prosecutors important new tools to bring perpetrators to justice and further deter them from committing such an egregious violation of privacy.”

Revenge porn is not only a vindictive, cruel, and criminal act, but it is also bolstered by a society that continues to shame women for having any sexual freedom or agency. Public outrage at the 2014 iCloud hack was peppered with “well actually” opinions from people who blamed the victims for taking nudes in the first place. It’s the same kind of thinking that powers misogynistic catchphrases like “she was asking for it.”

The response is part and parcel of a culture that often victim-blames and slut-shames the survivors of sex crimes, from rape and assault to harassment to workplace discrimination to revenge porn. It’s a toxic pattern of thinking, of abdicating responsibility and shifting the onus of justice and defense onto the survivor. It’s all in service of a patriarchy that systemically devalues a woman’s lived experience.

(via Jezebel, image: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Create & Cultivate)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? tips@themarysue.com

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.