The purported Emma Watson nude photos don’t seem to exist and the threat to release them appears to be based on a hoax.
The threat was reported to have emerged after Watson gave a speech about feminism at the United Nations.
The purported threat came as dozens of women have fallen victim to the massive celebrity hacking scheme in the last few weeks, with hundreds of images circulating online.
Watson was reported to have been targeted by people who got mad at her speech, with a website called “Emma Watson is Next” appearing. Reports about the threat featured comments from 4chan and Reddit users claiming that they would target Watson, with the primary focus of the reports being the website.
But the website appears to be a hoax, with the countdown clock moving up three days, then hitting 0. No pictures emerged–instead it turned into a website for a marketing company.
A Reddit user had said earlier Tuesday that after doing some digging it appeared that the website was created by a marketing company Rantic, in conjunction with a pseudo-news outlet Fox Weekly.
“There is evidence that the emmayouarenext.com website is hosted by Rantic and that they have a recent history of inventing stories of this nature, they even reused the 4chan + hacker angle from a previous promotion,” the user said.
“It seems the whole point of marketing these days is to sell lies to as many people as possible and this particular campaign appears to have done that very successfully.”
Multiple news outlets reported on the website as if it were legitimate, including the Washington Post and BBC.
After the countdown clock struck 0, the website turned into the website for Rantic.
The website says at the top #ShutDown4chan
“Dear Barack Obama,” it has in a letter form.
“We have been hired by celebrity publicists to bring this disgusting issue to attention. The recent 4chan celebrity nude leaks in past 2 months have been an invasion of privacy and is also clear indication that the internet NEEDS to be censored. Every Facebook like, share & Twitter mention will count as a social signature — and will be step closer to shutting down www.4chan.org.”
Another user had come to the same conclusion, pointing out that Rantic Marketing claimed to have been hacked by 4chan before.
In that case, a story popped up that Grand Theft Auto V’s PC release was possibly going to be canceled, based on an interview from Fox Weekly with the chairman of Rockstar North’s alleged marketing company–Rantic. But it was determined to be false.
Many users said that they knew it was a hoax to begin with but a few were saying that there still might be photos of Watson.