Emma Watson “Immediately Threatened” With Nude Leak for Supporting Women’s Rights

Emma Watson
Emma Watson spoke about gender equality.  David M. Benett/Getty Images

Hear her roar! Emma Watson made headlines this past September when she gave an impassioned speech to the U.N. about gender equality, and she took her platform a step further this past weekend.

The Harry Potter actress, 24, participated in a question-and-answer session on Facebook on Sunday, March 8, in recognition of International Women's Day. During the chat, Watson touched on her talked-about U.N. speech and the shocking backlash she faced because of her stance. 

"After I gave my speech in September, there was a website set up threatening to release naked photographs of me with a countdown," the British star spilled, referencing shallow threats from alleged hackers, who promised to release nude photos of the actress in retaliation for her feminist words. "I knew it was a hoax — I knew the pictures didn’t exist — but I think a lot of people close to me knew gender equality was an issue, but they didn’t really think it was that urgent." 

The threat followed the widespread celebrity photo leak of 2014, in which many stars, including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton, saw their naked, private photos make their way online. The hack targeted female celebs almost exclusively, and raised many questions about privacy and gender issues.

"The minute I stepped up and talked about women’s rights I was immediately threatened — in less than 12 hours I was receiving threats," Watson continued. "I think that [men were] really shocked. One of my brothers was very upset. So, I think it was a wake-up call of, 'Oh, this is a real thing that's really happening now. Women are receiving threats in all sorts of different forms, that was just one specific one.'" 

"It’s funny because people went, 'Oh, she’s going to be disheartened by this,'" the celebrated actress added. "If anything, it made me so much more determined. I was just raging. It made me so angry that I was just like, 'This is why I have to be doing this!'"

After a slew of famous women distanced themselves from the feminist label, Watson was one of the first and most vocal to align herself completely with the term and its definitions. She went on to encourage men to identify as feminists as well through her U.N. He for She Campaign.

Asked why she believes so many women and men feel uncomfortable taking on the identity, the Beauty and the Beast actress responded, "Because I think people associate it with hate — with man-hate — and that’s really negative." 

"I don’t think that’s what feminism is about at all," she explained. "I think it’s something incredibly positive… I'm aware of a lot more male feminists now than I was a few years ago, and it's really heartening. People have come back to what the actual definition means, which is 'equality politically, culturally, socially, economically.' That’s it. That simple." 

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