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Emma Watson faces backlash after gender equality speech

By Lisa Respers France, CNN | Posted - Sep. 23, 2014 at 10:03 a.m.


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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — Emma Watson is experiencing the ugly side of advocacy.

According to reports, Watson's recent impassioned speech for gender equality at the United Nations has drawn backlash, including a threat to leak alleged nude photos of the star.

Business Insider reports that a 4chan user posted a countdown which hinted that the "Harry Potter" actress could become the next star to have their iCloud hacked and personal photos dispersed for the world to see.

Several celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian and Gabrielle Union have recently had their private and intimate photos splashed across the Internet. On 4chan an anonymous user posted "Emma You Are Next" with a countdown timer and a picture of Watson appearing to wipe away a tear. The site is where the hacked, nude photos of other female celebrities initially appeared.

So far there is no evidence that nude pictures of Watson actually exist; the online message board has become known as a place where pranksters have posted hoaxes before.

Writing for the Washington Post, Soraya Nadia McDonald tied the threat, as well as false Internet reports that Watson had died, to "a long history of this sort of bullying aimed at women on the Internet, especially feminists."

"It's just the latest in a long history of online efforts to intimidate, belittle, threaten and cow women into hiding and shutting up --- the message, of course, being, if you dare to do or say something we don't like, we'll expose you in return," McDonald wrote.

Watson's speech, delivered as part of her role as goodwill ambassador for U.N. Women, drew a great deal of attention for her poignant remarks about the need for equality and for men to embrace feminism.

"If men don't have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won't feel compelled to be submissive," she said. "If men don't have to control, women won't have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong. ... It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideals."

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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