The string of celebrity nude leaks that jolted the Internet back in September – or “The Fappening” as it is now called – may have already been forgotten by some, but not Gabrielle Union. In an open letter penned for Cosmopolitan, the actress detailed her entire experience, from anticipating being the next victim, to becoming the next victim, to life after the leaks.
Sharing the story of how she caught wind of the nude leaks, Union wrote that she and her husband Dwyane Wade were on vacation with her stepsons when the photos surfaced. She included in her letter that after she sent them to Wade, they both deleted the photos from their phones. Union also defended her friend Meagan Good, another victim of the leak.
Read an excerpt of the letter below:
I knew there would be more to come. I wondered how a photo that was shot and deleted three years ago could be found. Sure enough, later that night, more pictures started popping up, one after another. All of them had been shot and deleted years ago. Yet there they were, online for the world to see. I felt extreme anxiety, a complete loss of control. I suddenly understood that deleting things means nothing. You think it’s gone? It’s not. What is the point of even including a delete function on a phone if it doesn’t really delete? I had deleted the photos from my phone, but apparently they had remained on some server somewhere, unbeknownst to me, where hackers could find them.
I called my reps and attorneys, pleading, “Get the photos taken down.” They said it takes time — the shots were spreading fast, to some 50 sites within the first few hours. Nude pictures of other celebrities were appearing in this second wave too, including Rihanna and a new round of Jennifer Lawrence shots. I thought, this is a targeted attack, a hate crime against women. Photos of my friend Meagan Good showed up as well, and that really hurt — she’s like my little sister. We had become close while filming Deliver Us From Eva. She’s married to a pastor. I wanted to protect her from the inevitable character assassination. She was the target of a crime and did not deserve to be attacked.
Union also talks about Apple’s iCloud, being raped in college and the reactions she got from fans who had seen the photos. “You might feel like nothing will ever be the same. And that’s true — nothing will be the same. Take that and change things,” she ended.
Read Gabrielle Union’s entire open letter here.