By Sarah Griffis
Gawker recently published an article spotlighting the man behind the infamous Violentacrez Reddit troll persona. Violentacrez is known as champion of the offensive, taking an active role in establishing and moderating such subreddits as /r/jailbait and /r/creepshots. Both of these pages have been taken down by Reddit Admins due to community and public outcry, but not without a heated discussion amongst Reddit users about how far we will protect free speech rights before drawing a line, and whether that line shows hypocrisy on the part of an oppressive majority. Jailbait featured mostly non-sexual pictures of underage females. CreepShots was a page dedicated to posting non-consensual, frequently sexualized photos of women taken in the public sphere. In response to the invasive, yet legal, images, Katie M. Baker of Jezebel writes that one young woman created a Tumblr page, Predditor, posting identifying information, scraped from the web, of the Reddit users who post these sorts of pictures.
The firestorm sparked by the controversy has led to the Predditor page being taken down (then put back up, taken down again, etc), Violentacrez’s profile being removed, and polarized arguments on both sides of the issue. Severe discomfort at having their online persona linked to their “real-life” identity plague the people being outed as Creep Shot posters, while the people digging up identifying information feel little to no sympathy for their pain. The Awl writer, Choire Sicha, points out that when posting on the internet, there is a severely decreased privacy interest, just as when walking on a public street.
Public shaming of creeps has also recently shown up in a more traditional forum. A prostitution ring/Zumba studio in Kennebunk, Maine maintained detailed records of the liaisons before getting busted, including unauthorized videos of the acts. Police in the area plan to release the names of the men involved in the market by publishing lists in the local newspaper, reports The Washington Post.
The questions cut both ways: on the part of Creep Shot takers and/or posters, and Creep outers. Is this legal? Ethical? Desirable in our society?
Image used, licensed without consent via CC BY 2.0. Image taken by flickr user Sister72.