This Utah Mommy Blogger Plagued By Fake Revenge Porn Proves That No One Is Safe

Mommy blogger revenge porn

An argument I often hear in defense of revenge porn is that if the victim didn’t want people to see the photos, they should have kept their clothes on. The line of thinking is that anyone found on a revenge porn website is some kind of exhibitionist slut-o-rama anyway, so if they complain it’s probably just sour grapes. Utah mom Melissa Esplin‘s situation proves that this rationale is bullshit. Esplin is a calligrapher, parenting blogger and mom of two, and recently she’s been fighting to get numerous sexually explicit and 100% fake photos of her taken down from a well-known revenge porn site. The way I see it, if it can happen to her, it can happen to any of us.

Like many other revenge porn victims, Esplin didn’t realize this was going on until she woke up one morning to an inbox filled with perverts propositioning her for sex (or worse). The worst part is that whoever targeted her took legit and totally innocuous photos she had posted on her website, MelissaEsplin.com, and photo-shopped in the nudity. Esplin quickly contacted the site to have the photos removed, only to be asked to pay a $400 fee.

This type of obvious extortion is nothing new. Revenge porn king pin and all around douche bag Hunter Moore was recently arrested for running a similar scam, and according to reports he or an associate may have been behind many of the fake, photo-shopped photos. 

Obviously Esplin is concerned about how these photos will impact her business. Her blog is popular with both parents and craft fans and she also runs an online calligraphy business (she’s super talented too, you should check out her work). Still, Esplin has refused to kowtow to cyber-bullying and says she won’t be extorted. She has some excellent words of advice for anyone else going through this nightmare:

“My hope is that anyone who has been victimized by cyber-bullying in the past, present or future will know they’re not alone.There are things we can do about it (although I wish DDOS-ing the website in question were an option). Speak up and don’t take crap from bullies!”.

Esplin has done everything she can to rectify this situation, including getting the FBI involved, but unfortunately there is little they can do. The site is registered overseas, as most revenge porn sites are now, so the onus is on the country where the site is hosted to take action.

I wish there were more I could say or do to help Esplin, but there isn’t. What I can say, to all the  lovely pieces of humanity who try to write this subject off as “bitches getting their comeuppance,” is that this could happen to anyone. As I think this whole mommy blogger revenge porn saga proves, it could happen to your sister, your mother, your wife, your girlfriend. Hell, it doesn’t just happen to women, men are targeted frequently too. It could happen to anyone. Even you.

(Photo: YouTube)

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    • EmmaFromÉire

      This is beyond horrifying. Particularly because she is doing everything possible to rectify it and there’s fuck all she can do about it. What did she do, obnoxiously calligraph something????

      • Kheldarson

        Nah, somebody in the company saw her pic and that she ran a business and went “next mark!” Which almost makes it worse than a simple revenge act.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        I think these d-bags see an attractive, successful woman on the internet and think “Oh HELL NO, she needs to get back in the kitchen.” Then they get in their Revenge Porn-mobile and start photo-shopping everything they can get their hands on.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      And this is why groups like Anonymous are so necessary. When the legal powers in place are powerless to stop predatory types from victimizing and extorting you, you need help from outside the law.
      I wish some hackers would break into that website and flood it with incurable viruses, perhaps steal some personal information and use it as leverage to prevent similar websites from cropping up again. You know, since even the FBI can’t do anything about it.

      • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

        I wish I could up-vote this comment a thousand times. I totally agree.

      • Kheldarson

        Clarification: White Hat Hackers (some of whom are in Anonymous). Anon covers activities from the good (stopping asses like this or revealing major cover ups) to the asinine (DDOS attacks against sites that just bug them or they think would be funny to mess with).

      • the_ether

        Technically they’d be grey hat hackers – doing illegal stuff, but altruistically.

    • Valerie

      I will NEVER say that people should not post photos online but honestly, things like this freak me out enough that I left Facebook 2 years ago and do not use Instagram or anything else involving photos. Im too paranoid of me being out there for anyone to see and not having any control over my own images. I’m sort of not a techie person anyway so it doesn’t feel so crazy for me to abstain from this stuff. I don’t even have a Smartphone. Crazy, I know. :-)

      I do think its terrible that people posting photos for such innocent purposes find themselves the victim of something like this. Technology is so much in our faces now that I think people tend to forget that the internet can be dangerous. And very very permanent.

    • Jessica Miller

      People are so quick to judge the naked person in the pictures that they forget there is a scumbag posting with ill intent private pictures of a naked person.

    • G.S.

      Back when I was in Grade 9, someone made a fake facebook account of me, threatened my cousin’s then-boyfriend with a knife under my name, and apparently photoshopped some fake naked photos of me. It all got deleted the day after or something, since I was never able to find the facebook page or the photos in question. I consider myself to be lucky that it all disappeared so fast (I suppose it helped that my best friend pulled the “my dad was a cop and still has connections” card, and when people realized that it wasn’t me, they all got upset that someone would do something like that).

    • Taxes Make Kittens Cry

      If (when) Eve bans me, I’m totally gonna do this

      >:P