When a female celebrity’s sex tape gets leaked online, you typically don’t hear about it from the starlet herself.
However, that’s what happened in the case of X-Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos. Best known for an especially cloying combo of hip-hop and pop, the actress took a pragmatic approach on Twitter and YouTube by directly addressing her recent sex tape.
A few days after rumors of a tape began, the 23-year-old British performer used her official Twitter account to direct over a million followers to a YouTube video called “Tulisa talks.” In a dimly lit room that may be the singer’s apartment, Contostavlos shares “her side of the story.”
In the video, Contostavlos holds up photos of herself with her ex-boyfriend, verifying both actors’ identities in the tape. She goes into detail about the fling, explaining that the two had been incredibly close and that she’d “practically moved in with him.”
"When you share an intimate moment with someone you love, that you care about and trust, you never imagine that at any point it will be shared with people... around the world.”
She asserts that having sex with somebody she loved and taping it isn’t something she should be shamed for.
"It's a pretty tough time for me, but I don't feel I should be the one to take the heat for it. … This is something he took upon himself, to put the footage online. ... I'm not going to sit here and be violated or taken advantage of."
The video, which has been tweeted 25,000 times and viewed more than 3.5 million times, marks a shift in the typical celebrity post-sex-tape narrative. For example, when Scarlett Johansson’s leaked nude photos popped up on Reddit, the actress made no response.
Contostavlo’s unique response is one that could only have come out of the social-networking era, in which celebrities are less removed from ordinary people than ever before. By facing her audience directly about the tape, The Guardian argued that Contostavlo gave a bad situation an empowering, “feminist” slant.
The feminism doesn’t seem to have reached YouTube trolls, who are still deriding Contostavlos with 23,000 different variations of the word “slut.” However, her unusual response has resonated with Twitter.
“Never thought I'd say that Tulisa is a feminist icon, but good on her for fighting back vs ‘sex tape shame,’” tweeted @laurenloquax.
Photo by Beacon Radio