ABC News recently did a segment covering unwilling internet sex symbol Angie Verona. The then-14 year old snapped some pictures of herself in panties and bras, as well as in bathing suits for her boyfriend. After dropping the photographs into a Photobucket account, Angie learned that the account had been hacked and the photographs of her went viral. Her parents, who have struggled with the ordeal for nearly four years now, contacted the authorities to learn that they were powerless. Even though Angie was a minor, she wasn’t nude in the photographs which prevents the images from being considered child pornography.
Yet, when ABC decided to cover Angie’s ordeal, they included the more racy photographs in their segment — a lot of them.
As I’ve said before, some of the pictures that Angie took were relatively tame. Very easily the sort of pictures that girls take of one another at sleepovers on dares with pouty faces and cleavage. But ABC felt compelled to include some of the more risque ones, including snaps of 14-year-old Angie topless holding her breasts, and full frontal shots of the teen in bras and panties. It may be no different than a swimsuit, although those shots are in there too, but giving audiences those shots while also lambasting the adults who circulated them is more than hypocritical — its also titillating.
Mind you, this is young girl who has been receiving rape threats for years. If she Googles her own name, she encounters thousands of commentators describing how they would rape her if they were given the opportunity. Angie has admitted to contemplating suicide given what the viral nature of the photographs has done to her life. She and her parents have had to ward of stalkers and predators, both online and in their daily lives. And yet, given the massive risk to the teenager’s safety in agreeing to do this segment, the outlet provides nothing short of an entire gallery of a 14-year-old girl in her bra.
Angie does get in one observation when asked why she took the photographs of herself in the first place. The teary 18 year old says that modern girls feel more and more pressure to be deemed desirable by others, a notion that is no doubt perpetuated by everything from reality TV to advertisements. She regrets the photographs completely, but that doesn’t make her point any less valid.