Late Night TV Hosts Joke About Nude Photo Leak: Is That OK, or Offensive? — VIDEOS
Whenever something bad happens in the world, there are going to be people making jokes about it. A lot of times these jokes are insensitive and posed by Twitter trolls. But other times, jokes make it into a wider audience through vessels like the late night talk shows. So after watching Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Conan O'Brien spoof the nude photo incident, it made me wonder, are we allowed to joke about something that brought harm to so many people?
Yes and no. We've already seen examples of bad jokes and decent jokes when it comes to this situation. Ricky Gervais got it absolutely wrong when he "jokingly" said, "celebrities make it harder for hackers to get your nude pics of you from your computer by not putting nude pics of yourself on your computer."
How funny to blame the victim. But there have been actually decent jokes like the one from Victoria Justice who was one of the people whose photos were leaked. She tweeted, "These so called nudes of me are FAKE people. Let me nip this in the bud right now. *pun intended*" As Bustle's Jamie Primeau pointed out, "Even though she throws a pun in there, it’s not at anyone else’s expense."
That's what's key when it comes to joking about the serious breach of privacy: Don't blame the victims. Here are three of the late shows that dared to joke about the issue and what they got right and what they got wrong:
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON
What it got right: He started the sketch off on a good note introducing himself as "former iCloud user Jimmy Fallon," which was fine. Making light fun of the system that potentially allowed for this leak is fair game. But from there it was all downhill.
What it got wrong: His jokes seemed to imply that Jennifer Lawrence was a victim, while Kim Kardashian was not because she had previously made money by being naked. For one, when Kim's sex tape was leaked in 2007, that was a breach of privacy that she didn't want. Secondly, I'm gonna go with you need consent every time. Just because you may have benefited from a previous leak doesn't mean you waive the right to be upset about any future ones.
Sorry Fallon, but if your jokes are going to continue like this, you shouldn't be allowed to make light of the serious situation anymore.
What it got right: Conan O'Brien took a very serious tone with the news that he was glad the hacker was being investigated. Most of his segment was centered around calling out the hacker, which is how it should be. After all, it's the hacker who is the criminal here, not the women who took the photos.
What it got wrong: O'Brien's sketch was based around showing strange photos of the hacker to get even. "It's only fair right? Let's see how this guy feels about me sharing his embarrassing photos," O'Brien said. It's a small point, but I think it's important to note that the women's photos were not embarrassing; they shouldn't be embarrassed that they took them. It was their right to do so and share them with their lovers or keep them for themselves or whatever. I don't think O'Brien intended to place some shame on the women's shoulders, but he did a bit, and it's worth noting.
On the whole his skit was OK. I didn't find it particularly funny, but I also didn't find it particularly offensive either.
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!
What it got right: Almost everything. Kimmel made a lot of good points while also making jokes. He compared telling women not to store photos on iCloud, to telling someone whose mail gets stolen that they shouldn't trust a flawed system. "They would blame the guy who did it," he said of the latter example.
What it got wrong: There's one moment where Kimmel says the incident also involved his photos and then the screen shows a picture of a woman's butt with a prominent lower back tattoo. It seems kind of odd to be sharing this photo and objectifying this woman during a sketch about violating women's privacy. I just have to hope Kimmel had permission to use that photo in that context.
Of the three, Kimmel was the most on point as he used his monologue to draw attention to the issue and the ridiculous shaming the women involved have been subject to. If anyone continues to cover the incident, I hope it's him.