TikTok logo in article about Tony Lopez
Will it ever end? (Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash)

TikTok’s Tony Lopez’s Response to Nude Leak Exposes a Double Standard

He has received support from fellow TikTok creators for making light of the leak. Meanwhile, female celebs are on the defensive.

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TikTok logo in article about Tony Lopez
Will it ever end? (Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash)

He has received support from fellow TikTok creators for making light of the leak. Meanwhile, female celebs are on the defensive.

In the past week, a video of TikTok star Tony Lopez was one of many nudes leaked to the public. Several Twitter accounts claimed to have nude content of Lopez and fellow creators Chase Hudson (known as lilhuddy on the app), Benji Krol, Mattia Polibio, Bryce Hall and Cynthia Parker. The others denied that the photos were of them or declined to address them, but Lopez took a different tack and posted several videos making light of the situation.

His nonchalant response to “nudes-gate,” as he calls the leak, appears to be intended to de-escalate the severity of the scandal and make it less about the nudes themselves. Not only was Lopez unconcerned about the leak, he seemed to promote the video and invited fans to laugh about it.

His message seems to be that leaking private photos is not a big deal, something that Lopez — as a young white male internet celebrity — has the privilege to say. Rather than ruining his career, as such a scandal could do to another celebrity, the leak may even have helped his popularity by giving him a signature thing.

This is not the first time that a TikTok celebrity’s photos have been leaked; another Twitter account leaked “TikTok Queen” Charli D’Amelio’s private photos in December of 2019. D’Amelio, who is 15 years old and one of the fastest-growing personalities on the app, did not comment publicly on the leak, choosing instead to post videos of her enjoying time with her family as the leak was blowing up.

D’Amelio’s lack of response is in stark contrast to Lopez’s reaction: a series of TikToks set to songs like Camila Cabello’s “My Oh My,” expressing his lack of concern over the leak. He later posted an image of himself on Instagram wearing a pair of sweatpants reading “stop looking at my dick,” across the front.

He also tweeted, “We love a scandal lol,” “My mom calls Ondre [referring to his brother Ondreaz] and says, where is your pornstar brother…,” and later “Life’s good been trending on Pornhub for 3 days straight wbu?” His brother Ondreaz tweeted about the leak, “Just when I thought cutting my hair would break the internet, Tony had to one up me SMH.”

Tony and Ondreaz Lopez live in “Hype House” in Los Angeles, California with 19 other social media celebrities, several of whom were incriminated in the nudes leak scandal. The others commented their support for Lopez’s lack of concern on his posts and TikToks.

Several nudes leaks have hit the internet in recent years, with celebrities responding differently depending on their gender. When private images of rapper DaBaby were released in 2018, he responded with a simple Tweet: “ion send nudes,” and the internet’s most common reaction was “where can I find them.” When a video of A$AP Rocky was made public in 2019, Twitter could not stop talking about his “stroke game,” while Rocky responded to the scandal that he was not embarrassed.

Instead of attacking whoever released the video, he defended his sexual prowess. YouTuber Logan Paul’s response to a fake nude video was to joke: “100K and I’ll release the full sex tape,” while James Charles chose to post his own “nude” photo after his Twitter account was hacked.

In contrast, when private photos of several female celebrities circulated the internet following the iCloud data breach in 2014, the victims had a very different response. It is worth noting that of the 101 celebrities who were hacked, only one was male.

Jennifer Lawrence called it a flagrant breach of privacy. Kate Upton’s team said the same. Mary Elizabeth Winstead tweeted a message of support to fellow victims and disgust for the hackers. Several others, including Ariana Grande, Victoria Justice and Yvonne Strahovski took to social media to deny the photos were of them.

Most notably, when private photos of actress Gabrielle Union and husband Dwyane Wade circulated the internet in 2014 (unrelated to the iCloud hack), Union said in a statement to TMZ: “I can’t help but to be reminded that since the dawn of time women and children, specifically women of color, have been victimized, and the power over their own bodies taken from them.”

Why is it that male celebrities are given a pass when it comes to nudes being leaked, while female celebrities are on the defensive? Nudes can be equated to pornography, which has by no means a male-only viewership, but is more commonly watched by men than women.

The Cut reveals that Pornhub trends typically follow what is going on in the news at the time and searches for female celebrities are always popular. Female celebrities may be worried that their leaked images and videos will become a commodity online. While male celebrities may be worried about the same thing — and in fact, their private videos and photos do become a commodity online when they are shared — they rarely discourage fans from watching them, as female counterparts do.

Male celebrities have the privilege to laugh about their nudes leaks online because they don’t hurt their image, while women are expected to be more private about sex and face more repercussions for sex-related scandals. Female celebrities are sexualized and objectified for others’ gain, but are rarely allowed to capitalize on that sexuality themselves.

Thus when women’s private photos are publicized, it has more devastating repercussions. It becomes the woman’s fault, as evinced by the trending hashtag #ifmyphonegothacked from 2014 in which people posted images of their food or their dog to subtly shame women for taking nude images in the first place.

Lopez was just the latest in a series of male celebrities taking advantage of the double standard around gender and sex. He and his supporters may have thought that by refusing to be scandalized by the leak he was discouraging future hackers — because they didn’t get a rise out of him — but in reality he was just using his privilege for his own gain. Male celebrities in these situations have the platform to denounce hackers and express support for fellow victims, but rarely do. It’s time for that to change.

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Asha MacKay

Wellesley College

Asha MacKay is, in order of importance: a born-and-raised New Yorker; a lover of podcasts, especially of the NPR/WNYC variety; a thrifter; an oat-milk lover; and convinced she will never learn how to drive.

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