Fans of the popular TikTok creator Megan Eugenio — more wildly known by her handle, @overtimemegan — noticed that her accounts disappeared in late April. Now it’s come to light that Eugenio may have been the victim of a private photo and video leak after a hacker allegedly broke into her phone.
Noah Glenn Carter, a popular TikToker known for covering internet controversies, broke the story on April 28 in a video that has since accumulated almost 9 million views. Carter explained that Eugenio had been the victim of a leak and that’s why she either deleted her social media accounts or made them private.
“I honestly feel really bad for her and I would not wish this on anyone,” Carter concluded.
Now Eugenio has made a statement of her own, posting on TikTok on May 2 that her personal content was allegedly stolen from her phone and was “sold, reproduced and posted everywhere on the internet.” She did not specify whether the person behind the hack had been caught or identified but warned viewers that sharing the content was “participating in a crime.”
“I’m a victim,” she added. “It’s not my fault. It doesn’t define my self-worth. And I know, as a woman, that that was not meant for the public eye. That was meant for me.”
The experience, however, has been “very hard,” according to Eugenio.
“It’s been super hard to look at my private images all over the internet,” she said. “People are not realizing that this is a real person you are messing with. I have friends, I have a family, I have a job.”
Her statement has been viewed over 6.8 million times.
While comments are turned off on Eugenio’s video, Carter, who covered Eugenio’s response in a separate TikTok, did not turn off comments on his recap of her statement. Unfortunately, the majority of the comments on Carter’s video do joke about Eugenio’s private images or claim that she was wrong for taking the photos in the first place.
But Eugenio is the victim in this case and ridiculing her or sharing the leaked images contributes to victim-shaming her.
“Everyone can take whatever photos of themselves that they like,” Affinity Magazine wrote in 2016, amid the slew of celebrity private photo leaks. “When somebody takes a nude photograph of themselves, it is in their own right. When it is shared with the world without that person’s permission, then it becomes an issue.”
Sharing or publicizing private images or videos without consent goes against civil and criminal law. It’s categorized as “nonconsensual pornography” — even if you are over the age of 18 or you took a photo of yourself or you intentionally sent it to someone, if it’s shared without your consent or stolen from your phone, it’s a crime.
Questioning why Eugenio would take the photos in the first place is like asking someone who got pickpocketed why they had their wallet in their back pocket.
“Any time someone defaults to questioning what a victim could have done differently to prevent a crime, he or she is participating, to some degree, in the culture of victim blaming,” the Atlantic wrote.
Eugenio is, unfortunately, not a unique case of being a public figure whose private images were leaked. In fact, the statistics for a woman — famous or not — were stacked against her. Refuge, a U.K.-based domestic violence charity, found in a study that 1 in 7 young women have experienced threats to have their private photos or videos shared.
“One thing I know for sure is, you can take whatever from my phone, you can take all those images, whatever you want,” Eugenio continued. “[But] you can’t break my spirit.”
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