Online hackers have threatened to display nude pictures of star Emma Watson after her stirring speech for gender equality to the United Nations on Sunday. Just hours after her U.N. address, members of the online forum 4chan had allegedly responded with the creation of a website that contains personal threats against the actress.
The website, titled “Emma You Are Next” shows an edited image of Watson wiping away a tear next to a countdown which will end in approximately four days. While the message gives no clear indication of what happens when the timer run’s out, it has been posted by the same image-sharing site that was responsible for the leaked photos of other celebrities earlier this month. Many have observed that the four-day countdown will give ample time for online users to Photoshop fake images of the actress.
Watson, who rose to fame as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, has recently been appointed as the United Nation’s Goodwill Ambassador. She gave her first major speech since her appointment on Saturday in New York, where U.N. members have gathered ahead of this week’s climate change summit.
During her address at the U.N., Watson took the opportunity to launch the “HeForShe” campaign, which will focus on achieving gender equality for women across the globe. Watson drew on her own personal experiences of gender discrimination and received several rounds of applause from the members of the U.N. at intervals throughout the speech. Emma spoke passionately about the need for gender equality for both sexes and called on men and boys to join the struggle. Gender equality, she said as she addressed males around the globe, “is your issue too.”
In response to Watson’s speech over 700,000 men have already pledged their support online, according to the “HeForShe” campaign website. One of the main objectives of the “HeForShe” campaign is to sign up over one billion male advocates within 12 months. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon became the first as he pledged his support on Sunday night.
While Watson’s call for gender equality has been applauded world-wide as a stirring and pivotal moment, there are some who have begun to vilify the actress online. After declaring herself a feminist during the speech, the hackers who threatened to post nude pictures of Watson have been joined by many online users. Watson has since been the subject of much slander and many anti-feminist comments.
The actress has so far chosen not to respond publicly to the online threats. She did respond via Twitter however, expressing her outrage not only at “seeing women’s privacy violated over social media,” but also at the “lack of empathy” shown in many of the accompanying comments online.
The Harry Potter star is not the first victim of the 4chan online forum. The hackers that have threatened to post nude pictures of Watson have previously targeted Hollywood stars Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton through the web-page. Watson has been an adamant supporter of her friend Lawrence throughout the scandal after several images of the Hunger Games actress were leaked onto the 4chan website. U.S. media has also reported that Rihanna and Kim Kardashian have been targeted by hackers over the weekend.
By Mathew Channer