Distributing Homemade Porn without Ex’s Consent Could Land Man in Jail

by Cara on February 18, 2008

in Asia, assholes, International, misogyny, objectification, pornography, sex and sexuality, sexual exploitation and harassment, slut-shaming, violence against women and girls

This greatly pleases me: a Hong Kong man who posted sex videos of his ex-girlfriend online without her consent could face jail time.

A jilted Hong Kong boyfriend who posted video clips on the internet of his ex-lover having sex with him was warned on Monday that he could face jail.

Lee Wing-fung, 29, uploaded nude photos and video clips in an act of revenge when his former girlfriend refused to get back together with him.

He was sentenced to 240 hours community service in September after admitting criminal intimation and publishing indecent material.

However, the prosecution claims the sentence was too lenient and is now seeking a jail sentence for Lee.

It says the fact that he threatened the woman beforehand and published her name and work address with the video clips deserves a jail sentence of at least 12 months.

In the earlier hearing, the defence claimed Lee resorted to the action because he was devastated when his girlfriend ended their three-year relationship.

A true threat of punishment for such an action isn’t exactly one that you see often, even if the practice itself is becoming more and more common. We’ve long had people who steal and release homemade sex videos by celebrities. Then came the camera phone phenomenon of taking pictures up women’s skirts and posting them online or passing them around to friends. Now, the practice of posting sex videos without one person’s consent has increased, with the success of sites like xTube and YouPorn. For those who don’t know, these sites are the YouTube of porn — anyone can upload videos to the site, so long as they own the copyright to the material. They are designed specifically for amateur porn, and though the sites have a rule that the consent of all participating parties in the video must be obtained to legally publish it, there isn’t exactly any way to enforce such a requirement.

Though I’m sure that this kind of thing has happened to men as well, with straight men being the primary consumers of porn, women are mostly the ones getting screwed over. No matter how much a woman is comfortable and unashamed of her sexuality, as a general rule, she still wouldn’t want images of herself engaging in a sexual act available for anyone to see — particularly without her consent. Beyond simple modesty concerns, this is a highly rational worry, seeing as how one’s entire career can be unfairly jeopardized for even the most benign photographs (of course, it’s also a huge violation of personal and sexual rights).

But not only are women’s photographs more likely to be spread around without their consent, when they are, it is of course much more likely for women than men to suffer. Sure, Pete Wentz was mocked. People alternately snickered at and ogled Colin Ferrell. But I never heard anyone call them sluts — a highly misogynist and meaningless insult that is also unfortunately one of the worst you can throw at a woman. I also didn’t hear about them losing big jobs or ostracized from social circles. With the partial exception of Paris Hilton, that kind of shit happens to women all the time. Just look at what happened to the young woman who starred in High School Musical. Or the crotch-shots of Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, and who the fuck knows who else, anymore, even though those photographs weren’t even their ideas. And haven’t plenty of female celebrities been blackmailed by men who have possession of old topless photos?

Something similar happened in Hong Kong recently, which is perhaps why this guy here could be getting the book thrown at him. A collection of videos of a very popular actor having sex with 9 different actresses was stolen and distributed by a computer repair shop. And while the actor has reportedly lost an acting job, the women have been all but shunned by society. One actress is now separated from her husband, another’s engagement was broken off (in neither case do we seem to know if the women were in these relationships when the videos were made), and yet another attempted suicide but thankfully failed. It doesn’t quite seem like all parties are being punished equally (and what the hell are they being punished for again, anyway?).

You’ll often here people warn women that this is why they shouldn’t take racy photographs or videos of themselves. And though it’s certainly decent advice to be careful about who you do those things with and to determine ahead of time how the material be used, who will get to keep it, etc., it hardly seems fair to tell women that because there are a lot of assholes in the world, they can’t trust their sexual partners. It also doesn’t seem fair that yet again, women’s sexuality is being disproportionately stifled because of arbitrary social ramifications. To me, that sounds a bit like telling women that they shouldn’t flirt while wearing short skirts, because one of those times, maybe, there’s a relatively small chance that a man will take that as an invitation for rape.

Are the videos and photos always women’s idea? Of course not. But sometimes they are, and sometimes both parties have equal enthusiasm. I hope that even the most anti-porn people out there can agree that making a video for profit and having it distributed with the consent of all involved is a hell of a lot more ethical than making a video consensually for personal use and having it later distributed without one person’s knowledge. And, of course, more ethical than making and distributing such a video without a person’s consent.

It’s vague here in both cases whether or not the authorities are upset about the non-consensual nature of the distribution or the fact that pornographic images were distributed at all. My best guess would be for the latter. But it’s certainly a positive sign that the prosecutor is arguing the case on the basis of the harassment, threats and impact on the woman involved. The whole “he was devastated” excuse doesn’t hold up for the reasonable and non-misogynist among us. Can the trauma of a breakup make people do some pretty uncharacteristic and fucked up things? Yup. There’s also a big, bright fucking line that it is never acceptable to cross, no matter how upset you are, and stalking, threatening and non-consensually distributing pornographic images of your ex is on the bad side of the line.

Lee Wing-fung is clearly having an example made of him. I also don’t have any sympathy for him on that basis. And I’m happy that the matter is being taken seriously. It would just be better to know that it’s for the right reasons.

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{ 2 comments }

1 sharon June 8, 2008 at 4:53 am

my ex has been distributing private images of a sexual nature around the net to other people.
i am quite distraught as i thought these images were of a private nature and never thought in a milllion years these would be shown to all

where do i stand legally as to him destroying all pictures so they are no risks in the future of them being distributed again?

How would i know he will delete all pics?

2 leanna August 20, 2009 at 9:09 pm

i just found out my ex posted videos under my full name on NUMEROUS websites without my permission. he had previously threatened to distribute a year and ahalf ago when we split after a few months of dating. do i have any legal recourse? preferably in criminal court, not civil. if i sue, it will be his parents money and he will probably continue to do this to girls in the future.

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