The removal of Jennifer Lawrence’s nude photos, among other celebrities, from an art gallery has shown the power of the people. Artist XVALA admitted that it was due to numerous petitions and an outcry from the general public that led to him deciding that he would remove the photos. Instead, he will show his own nude photos.
It was just last week that Cory Allen Contemporary Art announced the “Fear Google” exhibition that would include the hacked nude images. The idea was to show how there is a lack of privacy in the digital age. However, a number of people were angry at the decision. Many question whether it was right that an artist could use stolen images in this way.
Part of the decision to remove the images came from the understanding that the images were stolen. Lawrence’s images, among those belonging to other celebrities, were stored on Apple’s iCloud. The hacker breached the security, and invaded the privacy of female celebrities. These were not images posted online by the owners of the photos for the world to see. Using them would not show the lack of privacy with the digital age, but more the lack of security with some systems.
There are questions over whether XVALA decided to remove the images due to legal reasons. Shortly after admitting that the photos belonged to The Hunger Games actress, her publicist announced that legal action would be taken against those who posted the photos online. The idea that an artist could benefit financially from the stolen images may have led to talks of legal action against him. However, he denies that there was any threat of legal action against him.
It is clear that the power of the people led to Lawrence’s nude photos being removed from the art gallery exhibition. People banded together through petitions and individual requests, with the idea that the man was profiting from the victimization of female celebrities. Some even suggested that it was immoral for him to profit through the use of stolen images, and he has admitted to having a change of heart morally.
He failed to realize just how much people would connect with the victimization, and it was extremely persuasive for him. This is certainly a positive sign for other needs.
Many times, people have shown that they have power when they group together. Petitions are started on a daily basis, and they can lead to changes to laws and regulations. In 2012, petitions were started to stop the SOPA bill being passed. It even led to a blackout day online, where a number of websites shutdown for 24 hours. So many were involved that it led to the government having to rethink the plans to prevent online privacy, because the proposed bill took away the freedom of information and the use of the internet.
People power has proven to be extremely useful on numerous occasions. It can stop proposed bills, art exhibitions and take TV shows off the air. The latest shows just how powerful the people can be, since Lawrence’s and other celebrities’ nude photos have been removed from the “Fear Google” art gallery exhibition.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham
Photo credit: CC-2.0 Gage Skidmore