Reimer: Why Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn must prevail in legal battle over leaked nude pictures

Alex Reimer
August 22, 2017 - 4:17 pm

Allan Henry-USA Today Sports

Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods are preparing to wage legal battle over their leaked nude pictures. We should all be rooting for them to prevail. 

Old photos of Woods and Vonn, who dated from 2012 until 2015, surfaced Monday on the smut website Celebrity Jihad. Graphic selfies of singer Miley Cyrus, actress Kristen Stewart and model Stella Maxwell were posted as well. Woods’ representatives told TMZ Vonn's phone had been hacked.

"Lindsey will take all necessary and appropriate legal action to protect and enforce her rights and interests. She believes the individuals responsible for hacking her private photos as well as the websites that encourage this detestable conduct should be prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law,” Vonn’s team said in a statement, per the New York Daily News

Woods has reportedly threatened to sue Celebrity Jihad if the pictures aren’t removed. 

Previously, the most infamous celebrity photo breach happened three years ago, when pictures of actress Jennifer Lawrence, model Kate Upton and others were leaked. To their credit, Lawrence and Upton opted to have their nude shots featured in an art exhibit

Thirty-eight states and Washington D.C. have revenge porn laws, which explicitly prohibit the distribution of private photos or videos of others on the Internet without their consent. In other states, perpetrators can be slapped with lawsuits alleging invasion of privacy, copyright infringement and a myriad of other violations. 

It’s easy to dismiss Vonn’s and Woods’ legal caterwauling. “Why would anybody, especially celebrities, text pictures of their junk?” But humans have always engaged in self-destructive behavior. Except now, much of it occurs in cyberspace, and is easily traceable. This isn’t because people are becoming more perverted, either. Technology just makes it easier for folks to succumb to their vices. 

Most people have sent messages that would embarrass them if released publicly. Maybe you text crude inside jokes, or rip co-workers over email and Google Chat. You don’t need to have nude pictures floating out there to feel sympathy for Woods and Vonn. They are fighting for everybody’s right to express themselves freely in cyberspace, whether it’s in the form of sexually deviant selfies or explosive text messages. 

Leaking photos sent over text is akin to taking pictures of somebody in their bedroom and sharing them with the masses. Oftentimes, we communicate with friends and loved ones virtually instead of in-person. That may be sad, but it doesn’t lessen the importance of privacy. 

Woods has won 14 majors and Vonn is an Olympic gold medalist. But winning this impending legal fight would be their most important victory of all. 

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