Celeb Nude Picture Theft Suspect Denies Involvement, While Another User Claims Responsibility & We're Officially Confused
By now, it's likely that pretty much everyone is aware that dozens of female celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, were the victims of a major hack that resulted in their personal nude photos being posted publicly without their consent. It's an awful story that, unfortunately, has resulted in some awful exploitation attempts as well, but it seems like some suspects who may have perpetrated the crime are beginning to be named. According to Buzzfeed, a collective effort by Reddit users has led to one man, Bryan Hamade, being named as a suspect — though he's denying all involvement.
I should preface this by first saying that it's important to remember that this man is innocent until proven guilty. The Redditors, though well-intentioned, are not law-enforcement professionals, and online witch hunts like this one have historically gone south fast — remember when Reddit falsely accused an innocent man of being behind the Boston marathon bombings? So, no blame should be placed on anyone at this point until solid evidence that's proven to be real is presented.
That said, here's what Redditors claim to have found, via Buzzfeed :
According to a post that’s circulating on the photo-sharing site Imgur, Hamade — who goes by the the username BluntMastermind — posted a screenshot of his computer to show off the leaked picture folder, accidentally exposing his hard drive and network drive. A few Redditors then went through Hamade’s previous Reddit posts and recognized the hard drive and PC name, outing Hamade as the one responsible for the original 4chan leaks.
Hamade is quick to deny the allegations, saying that he was simply faking his involvement online in an attempt to make quick cash off the situation. In an interview with Buzzfeed, he said: "I am not behind this. It was so stupid — I saw a lot of people posting the actual leaks and bitcoin addresses and I’ve read a lot about bitcoin and how they’re are valuable and I thought, oh cool I’ll get free bitcoins...I am just an idiot who tried to pull one over on 4chan and lost big time and stupidly left this identifying information." He continued, "They took my proof and back traced it — it isn’t remotely true. I am not a hacker. I have no idea how the hell someone could hack into all those accounts."
Similarly, in an interview with the Daily Mail , Hamade said, "I only reposted one thing that was posted elsewhere and stupidly had my network folders visible...The real guy is on 4chan posting intermittently. He's most likely the one behind it but it does seem the photos passed around to multiple people before being leaked, so it may just be someone who has them and didn't hack to get them. I'd never in a million years know how to hack into any of the accounts listed. 4chan just attacked me because they like to attack anyone in situations such as this."
Hamade added that his family is being harassed by 4chan users after the reveal of his private information, and that he's currently trying to find a lawyer to handle his case.
Meanwhile, another user who, at this point, is virtually anonymous, is actually claiming responsibility for the disgusting hack, saying that they were the ringleader of a group who perpetrated the attack against the female celebs. This screencap (via Daily Mail ) is from a 4chan thread:
Not much more info is known about this user, except that they are known as "Original Guy" by other posters.
In other words, as of now, though there are leads, no one is really any closer to figuring out who really pulled off this gross violation of privacy against dozens of women. While Reddit's sleuthing efforts were undeniably impressive, the witch hunts, and mob mentality that are easily brewed in situations like this, need to stop, though — it's not known if Hamade is innocent or guilty, but harassing someone who has not been convicted of a crime is still wrong, even if they're a suspect.
Law enforcement should be left to deal with finding the perpetrator, as they are trained to do — and perhaps the rest of us should focus on condemning the behavior of those who choose to perpetuate the crime and cycle of abuse by sharing the photos on Twitter and other social media platforms. After all, when we live in a world where the women whose privacy was violated are being shamed because the female body is still considered more offensive than being the victims of a massive sex crime (while others are attempting to exploit their violation), perhaps there's an issue that needs to be addressed.