Apparently, Spirit Airlines Thinks Sex Crimes are Hilarious

I wrote an article for the Daily Dot about Spirit Airlines’ tasteless joke about the stolen celebrity nude photos.

As the Internet continues to debate whether or not it’s acceptable to hack into someone’s online account, steal nude photos of them, and spread them all over the Internet without their consent (spoiler: it’s not), Spirit Airlines decided to take advantage of the buzz by sending its customers the following promotional email yesterday morning:

The email, which had a subject line that said, “Our Selfie Leaked Too…,” read in part:

We feel naked; you were never supposed to see this Bare Fare! It was meant for a special someone (who isn’t you). Now it’s all over the Internet for you to take advantage of as you see fit. Scandalous! We thought the cloud was our friend, y’know, because we spend so much time flying with ’em. But now our private prices are on display! Bad for us; GREAT for you.

The joke makes light of the experience of having private photos stolen and disseminated for hundreds of thousands of people to leer at, perpetuates the idea that this is a “scandal” rather than a crime and an act of violation, and implies that something “GREAT” happens when someone else’s privacy is violated. Yeah, sure, it’s “just a joke.” But I’m not laughing.

Contrast Spirit Airlines with the Prostate Cancer Foundation, which stood to profit from the stolen nude photos in a much more direct way. Users on the subreddit r/TheFappening, which has been disseminating the photos, set up a fundraiser for the foundation as a “joke,” based on the myth that masturbation helps prevent prostate cancer and the Reddit users are masturbating a lot, so, hey, why not donate to help prevent prostate cancer even more.

But PCF wasn’t interested. Even though the Redditors raised over $6,000, the foundation removed their fundraising page and refunded the donations, releasing a statement that read:

A post appeared on Reddit late Monday afternoon, September 1, 2014. A Reddit user directed other Reddit users to make a donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation without the Foundation’s knowledge. We would never condone raising funds for cancer research in this manner. Out of respect for everyone involved and in keeping with our own standards, we are returning all donations that resulted from this post.

Read the rest here.

Apparently, Spirit Airlines Thinks Sex Crimes are Hilarious

11 thoughts on “Apparently, Spirit Airlines Thinks Sex Crimes are Hilarious

  1. 1

    That reddit sub has almost 150K subscribers. I don’t get it. Yes, Jennifer Lawrence is a pretty 24 year old, but there are lots of pretty 24 year olds who have consented to pose naked on the internet.

    Can any of the fappers explain to me the appeal here? Is there a performative element? Do you have a celebrity fetish? Is part of the thrill the lack of consent itself?

    1. 1.1

      Hmm… reading through The Fappening, I think the performative aspect is a dominant factor. In fact, I think there are a lot of participants in The Fappening who aren’t fapping at all.

    2. 1.2

      I think it’s primarily two things, not mutually exclusive:
      1) As you suggested, people don’t care so much about the pictures as about the fact that they aren’t supposed to see them.
      2) Entitlement leads people to feel their desire to see Jennifer Lawrence naked overrides her desire for them not to see her naked.

      I’m not comfortable calling it “performative,” which to me is a word that provides strong evidence of unchecked typical-mindism on the part of the speaker

  2. 2

    based on the myth that masturbation helps prevent prostate cancer…

    Actually, that doesn’t seem to be entirely a myth. There are some studies that support its truth.

  3. 3

    I can’t say there is a huge difference between what motivates the readership of US magazine and The Fappening, other than the amount of clothes being worn by the celebrities involved. There is a market for salacious details about celebrities.

      1. That is true, though I was speaking more on the perspective of the victim. Given the choice, would people rather have their private lives be exposed, i.e. dating, children, family, etc. or their naked pictures exposed? I don’t know that there is a clear answer.

  4. 4

    Related to the whole lack of consent angle, I feel like there may be a semi-unconscious power play here. Lawrence is rich and famous and beloved, one of the most powerful actresses in the business. When she speaks, people listen; to a lesser degree, the same is true of all the other celebrities in the photo leak. I can’t help but think that, at least for some people, viewing and/or masturbating to the photos is a way of asserting a sort of abstract dominance over a person with exponentially more social capital than them.

    1. 4.1

      Er… I should note this is just speculation, and I certainly don’t think it holds true for everyone who has been getting off on the leaked photos. But I think it may well be true for a minority, and I also think that it might be an unconscious aspect in why these photos are so appealing to… at least a more significant minority. But I could be wrong.

      I’ve been posting in this thread too much. Sorry, I just find the situation interesting.

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