The first lawsuit has been filed under a new revenge porn law in New York City

  • 17.04.2018, 12:54,
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What appears to be New York City’s first suit under a new revenge porn law was filed last week by a CUNY associate professor of public health against an ex-boyfriend and a group of anonymous individuals that allegedly used Tumblr to distribute pornographic images of her, reports Motherboard.
While New York state law currently protects individuals when sexually explicit images are taken and shared without their knowledge, that does not apply when the images were willingly shared. The state senate passed a bill that would criminalize the latter as well in March, but it is still waiting on the state Assembly for consideration. New York City, however, passed its own measure in November, which went into effect in February. It makes the non-consensual sharing of intimate photos or videos a misdemeanor, and offenders can face up to a year in prison and a $1000 fine.
The complaint was brought by Dr. Spring Chenoa Cooper, who says her ex, Ryan Broems, harassed her for weeks after they broke up in November. According to the complaint, the two had argued previously about his "proclivity for masturbating to online revenge pornography” and that after their breakup, he continued to harass her with invasive questions about her sex life and demand explicit photos. When she blocked his text messages and Snapchat account, she received a message from a Tumblr user named Calidaddy26 — whom she toldThe New York Post she believed to be her ex — that threatened to "post you on my slut-exposing blog” if she did not agree to "be my personal webslut.” The user then allegedly uploaded multiple intimate images of her, which she had shared exclusively with Broems, to Tumblr.
Although she was granted a Temporary Order of Protection against Broems from the New York County Family Court, the complaint says the harassment continued on Twitter. "When Dr. Cooper blocked one Twitter account he was using to contact her, he would simply create another; each time, Dr. Cooper would block the account.” After a Facebook threat that similarly threatened to post more explicit images, Cooper filed a police report — and eight more images she says were exclusively available to Broems were then uploaded to Tumblr. After Broems was arrested in February, the complaint alleges that he or someone under his direction created more Tumblr pages with explicit images of Cooper, including a screenshot of her faculty page at CUNY.
In addition to Broems and Calidaddy26, it names Tumblr user Inriskwetrust as well as John Does 1-100, alleging that they further shared the images on Tumblr. The complaint is significant beyond just being the first under New York City law: it attempts to create real consequences for users who retweeted and shared the images.
The incident also demonstrates some deep-seated flaws within social media sites such as Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter, and their ability to stop ongoing harassment and revenge porn. While a spokesperson for Tumblr told Motherboard that the company is committed to enforcing its Terms of Service, and that non-consensual imagery is prohibited, Cooper notes in the complaint that she has been forced to spend several hours a day to locate and request that the images be removed, and that Tumblr can take "days or weeks” to remove the content. In her suit, Cooper says that Broems inflicted severe emotional distress and attempted to harm her reputation and career, causing "economic harm,” and seeks punitive damages.
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