Online anger at Emma Watson naked photo countdown hoax

24/09/14

Emma Watson screengrab

There's anger on Facebook after a website that had threatened to reveal naked photos of Emma Watson was uncovered as a viral marketing hoax.

The EmmaYouAreNext.com now redirects to the front page of a social media company in the US called Rantic.

A message on the firm's front page calls for anonymous online message board 4chan to be shut down.

The website was blamed for hosting the threat to Emma Watson with a countdown towards the release of nude pictures.

However, when the timer ended it started to link through to the marketing company's website.

The fake threat to Emma Watson was posted online just hours after the 24-year-old launched the HeForShe campaign in a speech at the UN on Sunday in which she appealed to men to speak out over gender equality.

Emma Watson

Speaking on a Facebook thread on the Rantic website, Steven Dixon said: "So Rantic threatened to leak Emma Watson's nudes in order to frame 4chan in a coordinated effort to shut the website down and limit freedom on the internet, and you do this under the guise that you're doing a good thing? Are you kidding me? Do you not understand how ethically bankrupt that is?"

Another user, Simon Smith, wrote: "What a bunch of low-lifes Rantic, if your emmawatson leak site is what you consider professional PR then my god you guys have no souls."

Luiz Ricardo added: "Don't you guys have a heart? Don't you guys feel ashamed of yourselves? Don't you think about how these girls may be feeling? And if it was your daughter? Or your sister? Perhaps your mother? Put yourselves in their places."

Rantic
Rantic
Rantic

On its Twitter feed, a group calling itself Rantic Marketing said: "We fully support Emma and her campaign #heforshe, Hopefully 4chan users will convert to feminism right before it goes down."

We've tried to contact Rantic directly, but its email address bounces back and a contact form on its website isn't working.

The Rantic site also contains an open letter to US President Barack Obama claiming they have been hired by celebrity publicists to highlight the leak of celebrity photos.

A thread on Reddit was the first to reveal that the Emma Watson countdown website was a marketing stunt.

The redditor, called BetterKorea, also claimed that Rantic and EmmaYouAreNext.com were hosted on the same computer server.

Rantic

A series of private pictures were released at the beginning of September after an apparent hack with Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Kate Upton, Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian some of the stars targeted.

They were then posted to anonymous online message boards like 4chan, Anon-IB and Reddit.

A second set of photos was released at the weekend but it's still unclear who's behind the hack.

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