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Matt Gaetz, Nonconsensual Porn and You

S.E. Cupp, Tribune Content Agency on

Whether you consider them a tribute to body positivity and sexual liberation or a sign of civil and social decline, they are inarguably a hallmark of the modern era: nudes.

Thanks to the internet and social media, the advent of easily shareable nudes, or sexually explicit photos and videos, has created both a billion-dollar boom in cyberporn and a troubling space for victimization and exploitation.

One such space is nonconsensual porn, or as it’s problematically referred to as, “revenge porn.” That’s when sexual images are shared without the permission of the subject, often, but not always, by a scorned or former lover.

The posting of these nonconsensual images, never meant to be shared publicly, often has the intended effect — to humiliate and shame. It’s a hideous practice that has ruined lives.

Hustler magazine is often credited with commercializing it in the 1980s with reader-submitted photos in a feature called “Beaver Hunt.” A number of victims successfully sued Hustler after proving their photos were stolen or submitted without consent.

In 2014, a collection of nearly 500 photos of celebrities, many sexually explicit, was posted online, obtained illegally from an iCloud hack. Multiple perpetrators were eventually charged and sentenced to prison.

 

Today, with laws prohibiting the distribution of nonconsensual porn on the books in 46 states, Washington, D.C., one U.S. territory and the U.S. military, it’s hard to imagine anyone defending it.

And yet, according to a report by the Orlando Sentinel, one Florida lawmaker was adamantly opposed to a bill meant to stop it. You may have heard of him, he’s been in the news recently: Rep. Matt Gaetz.

The report details the former state legislator’s opposition to a bill outlawing nonconsensual porn, a bill sponsored by fellow Republican state Rep. Tom Goodson, who says Gaetz “was absolutely against it.”

“He thought the picture was his to do with what he wanted,” Goodson continued. “He thought that any picture was his to use as he wanted to, as an expression of his rights.”

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