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Comedian Whitney Cummings recently flipped the narrative for victims of cyber sexual harassment in a series of tweets.
On Monday, she posted about being blackmailed by people online who claimed they had a photo of her nipple that she accidentally posted on Instagram in April.
1) In April I accidentally posted an insta story that showed nipple. Once I realized, I deleted. The people who took screen grabs are trying to get money from me, some said they have offers to sell them, some are asking for money to not post the photo.— Whitney Cummings (@WhitneyCummings) August 12, 2019
Her fans and friends immediately jumped to her support, with some sharing creative ideas on how to deal with this: “add glitter to the photo and send it back to them,” user Preston Watson.
An idea from this, as a breast cancer survivor myself, repost the pic again with an apology and shame these people. Offer to make a donation to a breast cancer charity, and remind everyone to check their breasts regularly.— MosesG68 (@mosesg68) August 13, 2019
add glitter to the photo and send it back to them.— Laura Dodson (@ButterflyForge) August 12, 2019
Add Tim Allen to the photo and send it back.— Preston Watson (@Master_P2) August 12, 2019
But most were just appalled that people still think threatening to expose nipple photos is a thing, and some ended up sharing private photos publicly in solidarity:
I stand (lay)in solidarity with you. pic.twitter.com/18a8MgELoc— NoodlyPrayers (@RevMDBuckner) August 13, 2019
It's a nipple, big whoop pic.twitter.com/QHPPThZQ4w— husker nc 2019 (@BeaninHonest) August 12, 2019
It also encouraged other women to share similar stories. According to research from Pew, women are much more likely to be victims of cyber sexual harassment than men.
In my 20s, I was @ an employee party for a restaurant I worked in. While on the dance floor, my dress had slid up and the side of my butt cheek was showing. A male employee took a pic (without consent) printed out over 30 copies & gave it to other male employees. People are neat.— Anne Wheaton (@AnneWheaton) August 12, 2019
And it eventually led to #IStandWithWhitney that’s basically a series of private photos from people’s phones, and some got creative with their definition of dick pics:
Cummings eventually shared the original photo with a very important message: “If anyone is gonna make money or likes off my nipple, it’s gonna be me. So here it all is, you foolish dorks.”
2)They all must think I’m way more famous than I am, but they also must think I’m way more easily intimidated than I am. If anyone is gonna make money or likes off my nipple, it’s gonna be me. So here it all is, you foolish dorks. pic.twitter.com/cet4YEXVyG— Whitney Cummings (@WhitneyCummings) August 12, 2019
“Now I’m getting threatened with ‘we have access to your iCloud.’ I’ll be honest, I stand by most of my nudes,” she wrote. “Frankly I’m way more embarrassed by all the inspirational quotes I’ve screen grabbed.”
She said she didn’t want to expose names of those threatening her because they’re likely teenagers being dumb and deserve a second chance. She also acknowledged the reality of women having to address these threats.
“When a woman in the public eye is extorted, we have to spend time, money and energy dealing with it, hiring lawyers and security experts, and living with a pit in our stomach about when and how we will be humiliated,” she wrote. “Y’all can have my nipple, but not my time or money anymore.”
Moral of the story: It’s 2019 and women don’t have the time to feel humiliated over nip-slips.
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque