Rob Kardashian wants revenge on his ex-fiancee, Blac Chyna, and he could go to jail in pursuit of it.
Kardashian made that clear Wednesday when he relentlessly posted nude images designed to shame and embarrass Chyna on social media. The pair, who have an infant daughter, are again fighting in public, this time over accusations involving infidelity and betrayal.
While nonconsensual porn is terrible no matter who shares it, Kardashian bears a higher level of responsibility given that he used his fame and social media megaphone to exact revenge. By posting the private images, Kardashian endorsed the practice of shaming a woman for her sexuality.
He already owes Chyna an apology for his social media abuse, but the public deserves one too.
The saga began when Kardashian posted a series of explicit images that he appeared to have taken, or Chyna sent to him, on Instagram. When his account was disabled, presumably for violating the platform’s terms of service, he turned to Twitter. Within about 30 minutes, Twitter had removed the nude images of Chyna that Kardashian shared, though his account remains active.
While Kardashian can still reach his 7.4 million Twitter followers, he may land in jail for the juvenile outburst. Nonconsensual porn or “revenge porn” is illegal in California and can be punishable by jail time and a fine, though not all states have similar laws. In California, images or recordings of intimate body parts meant to stay private cannot be distributed with the intent to cause emotional distress, according to the law. If the victim is indeed psychologically harmed, the perpetrator may be guilty of a misdemeanor.
You might think that violating the companies’ terms of service, doing something potentially illegal, and terrorizing someone you once loved in front of an audience of millions could convince Kardashian to take a deep breath and step back from social media. But his string of text-only tweets documenting Chyna’s alleged betrayals suggests he thought only of channelling his rage and disappointment.
“But she couldn’t remain loyal and cheated and f**ked way too many people and she got caught and now this is all happening and it’s sad,” Kardashian wrote on Twitter.
So in case it wasn’t clear already: Don’t be like Rob Kardashian. Don’t use your heartbreak to justify emotional terror. If you feel manipulated by a partner, think of a more productive way to address that pain than resorting to the age-old misogyny of calling her a slut in the public square. Therapy, anger management — even a long walk in the woods could help.
Neither Instagram or Twitter would comment on Kardashian’s individual account. “We want to maintain a safe and supportive environment on Instagram, and we work quickly to remove reported content that violates our community guidelines,” a spokesperson for Instagram said.
Two high-profile lawyers who specialize in nonconsensual porn cases both tweeted about Kardashian’s posts. Carrie Goldberg, founder of the firm C.A. Goldberg, told People that Kardashian faces an uphill legal battle.
“This is sort of the classic, quintessential revenge porn,” she said. “Rob has made the work of a prosecutor or a victim’s attorney quite easy so far as to even post about the very motive behind his outrageous act of posting these private and nude photos of his ex.”
But you shouldn’t need lawyers to convince you of why nonconsensual porn is so devastating. There are countless first-person accounts, many from women who won’t share their last name on dates, never know what prospective employers will find out about them in a Google search, and who are even stalked and harassed by strangers who saw their picture and personal information on the internet. If such a threat doesn’t seem real, just pick up a recent issue of Time, which documented those experiences in horrifying detail.
Despite the work of victims and advocates to raise awareness of nonconsensual porn, Kardashian’s cruel tantrum arguably just gave people in possession of intimate images an excuse to feel satisfied — vindicated, even — in making those pictures public.
For that he owes everyone a sincere apology — at the very least.