The other day we reported that Emma Watson’s speech on gender equality at the UN resulted in a 4Chan user threatening to reveal nude pictures of the star. Many commentators were hoping that the threat was a hoax. It is. And it was designed to shut down 4Chan. The site “Emma You Are Next”, which went viral after getting millions of hits on Tuesday, has been revealed to be a hoax site set up by Rantic Marketing. Visitors to the site today are presented with a hashtag #SHUTDOWN4CHAN. The site includes the message “Join us as we shutdown 4chan and prevent more private pictures from being leaked. None of these women deserve this and together we can make a change.”
The website also includes an open letter to President Obama. “Dear Barack Obama,” it reads, “We have been hired by celebrity publicists to bring this disgusting issue to attention. The recent 4chan celebrity nude leaks in past 2 months have been an invasion of privacy and is also clear indication that the internet NEEDS to be censored. Every Facebook like, share & Twitter mention will count as a social signature — and will be step closer to shutting down www.4chan.org.” On Twitter, Rantic posted the message “We fully support Emma and her campaign #heforshe. Hopefully 4chan users will convert to feminism right before it goes down.” Is this a laudable case of celebrities fighting the Fappening on social media to protect their privacy? Or a risky and slightly unnverving publicity stunt?