TV & Movies

The Emily Post-Sanctioned Response to Leaked Nude Photos

As Kate Upton and Jennifer Lawrence recently discovered, there's no formal etiquette in place for dealing with this situation

Jennifer Lawrence at the 85th Annual Academy Awards (Photo: Getty Images)

Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and every other woman (A-list or no list) that’s been the victim of a phone-hacking creep, we’re talking to you. You’re hurt, embarrassed and angry—and you have absolutely no idea how to respond.

That’s understandable. There is, unsurprisingly, no formal protocol for dealing with the situation. “It definitely starts to fall outside of the territory of etiquette,” says Daniel Post Senning of the Emily Post Institute.

To negotiate the violation/humiliation, draw on your principles and values—specifically honesty, consideration and respect, he advises. Your first response should be to take ownership of the items in question, when asked.

Second, be considerate of others and reach out to anyone who is directly involved or impacted by the breach. If necessary, prepare them for how they’ll have to deal with the fallout too. You might even want to give them a bit of a script for responding—Yes, that happened, but that’s all I want to say about it.

After this, you’re perfectly within your right to shut down anyone else who wants to engage you on the topic, says Post Senning. Don’t fight the drama and don’t feed it, he adds. Answer the morbidly curious with a polite but firm, This is a private matter, as I’m sure you can understand.

Unfortunately, this type of situation also comes with its fair share of negative judgments and vile attacks on your character. Even the most well-intentioned person might fault you for taking the photos in the first place, a just plain wrong judgment that entirely discounts the true crime at hand.

This can be infuriating, obvi. But it’s here where you need to draw on reserves of strength and courage—and common sense.

If you want to address this injustice and the unkind observations of others, think long and hard about it first, says Post Senning. Only weigh in if you intend to do so calmly and if you understand that this will only amp up the volume on the discourse.

Instead, consider weathering out the emotional storm offline, while contemplating how you might best use your voice on this topic going forward—as an advocate on behalf of other people who have been similarly victimized, perhaps?