Nude Photo of Liberty Activist Leaked. Is It A Crime?

Nude Photo Leaked of Liberty Lady, Drama Ensues

by Avens O’Brien

People in the libertarian movement active on Facebook and other social media may have witnessed a dumpster fire of drama occurring over several status updates, group posts and screenshots on Thursday morning and afternoon.

The subject in question was an allegedly topless photo of anarchist activist Josie Wales, shared without her permission.

It appears that Josie’s ex-boyfriend Adam Freeman had a topless photo of Wales, which he then shared with Virgil Văduva.

Freeman has admitted to his actions, and his comments on the subject can be found here:

Yes I made a mistake and I'm willing to accept the responsibility for it. I'm more than willing to do my best to make right with Josie and i never meant for this to happen. We may not be together but I never want to hurt anyone like this.  I can't comment from my regular account so I'm not avoiding this. I admit I made a mistake and have reached out to make right.”
Post by Adam Freeman.
I did not give the picture to Cantwell. And I didn't give them to anyone knowing they'd be published. Obviously that was my mistake as well and this is the reaction to it. I accept it and hope over time people can see that in my actions. Ostracize me if you want, but I hope if I correct my behavior, make right with Josie and continue to grow as a person people will find the ability to forgive me. Mostly Josie.
Post by Adam Freeman.


Virgil Văduva took it upon himself to share the photo more widely, in what was already tasteless behavior but even more so when considering his claims that somehow this was justifiable by actions allegedly committed against him by other activists:

“Would you white knights masturbators please lay off Ademo and Cantwell? Neither one of them shared a picture with the public. I DID. I shared the shot with someone else then it got distributed from there. If you need to hate on someone, please feel free to hate me, but you are only showing your hypocrisy through your actions.  Where were you all when I was getting death threats from Jose [sic] Wales' followers and I was getting doxed by Cassandra Fairbanks who was exposing private information about me and my family? Nowhere to be found. So by all means, feel free pound sand. If there is a contractual violation or NAP violation anywhere, please provide evidence. Otherwise get lost.”
Post by Virgil Vaduva.

Now, let’s just take a minute to recognize a few things:

I can’t comment on the validity of Văduva’s allegations that he was doxxed or that his family was exposed (I’ll come back to privacy a bit later…). I have no evidence in either direction, and he has never provided any proof of his claims – but even he says in the above post that it was “followers” of the Wales, not Wales herself. Apparently this activist is happy to suddenly hold people responsible for actions of others, how very liberty-minded of him! I wonder when he’s going to start supporting the claim that modern white people in this country owe reparations to descendants of slaves? Guilt by association? No, thank you, you collectivist twerp.

Committing immoral actions against someone and rationalizing it by claiming that someone connected to them committed an unrelated immoral action against you previously is not a valid excuse. Because nothing is. Welcome to non-aggression.

Here’s the deal:

A photo was in Văduva’s possession. It was originally taken privately and sent to one intended recipient. That recipient violated an implicit agreement not to share the photo further. The subject did not give permission for the photo to be further distributed.

He distributed it anyway. There is no excuse for that.

Why is my ire directed more at Văduva than Freeman? Freeman committed a terrible violation of personal trust. But Freeman has apologized. He has publicly apologized and has stated that he is trying to make amends. Wales can decide at her own preference and standards whether or not to accept that apology or ask for some sort of restitution. That’s her right, and none of the public’s concern – this was a violation of her privacy and trust, and he has at least taken ownership of his part in it and apologized for it. Not that it helps repair any of the damage he did.

Văduva is completely unapologetic. As someone who doesn’t tend to advocate for the government to involve itself in the disputes of individuals, I think those of us paying attention and trying to make the very libertarian society we aspire to, have to step up and recognize social consequences. I hate stepping into other people’s personal drama, but he made this public and I’m glad to see all over the internet many people defending Wales and chastising Văduva, because his behavior was completely inappropriate, and he doesn’t appear to be sorry about it.

Now, I’m into naked bodies. I think we should embrace them and enjoy them if we want and the subjects are consenting. There is no shame in naked pictures of individuals. You can find topless pictures of me on the internet, on my own website. The difference is, for example, that I choose to share them in a public space. They were not intimate photos intended for a single recipient – they were publicly shared with my consent.

We can warn people all day about the dangers of sending another individual a nude photograph. There is absolutely risk there, and yes, the only 100% foolproof way to ensure a nude photo of yourself isn’t publicized is to never, ever have a nude photograph of yourself taken. However, there is nothing immoral about taking a nude photograph, nor in sharing it with the world or sending it to a select number of individuals – provided the subject has consented to it. The number of people who seem to want to make this about assumptions about a woman’s sexual activities or proclivities are beyond my interest or reach: that has absolutely nothing to do with any of this, and I won’t entertain the distraction beyond this sentence of dismissal.

“Don’t take nude pictures if you don’t want them leaked” is about as logical as “don’t buy nice things if you don’t want them stolen.” Sure, pictures aren’t strictly a physical property, and an awful lot of people are sighing about how this is a perfect example of the argument against intellectual property – that the subject of those photos has no claim to the exclusivity of those photographs, and is not losing anything by their distribution.

But privacy is a concept that libertarians tend to be fond of. Văduva himself has indicated he abhors violations of his own (and family’s) privacy. Why the hypocrisy? People defend Văduva by claiming that Wales shouldn’t have taken or sent a photo she didn’t want exposed to the public, and that she should simply assume it will become public. Does that mean that if Văduva or his wife emails a friend their address or personal information that it’s suddenly fair game for public distribution? If so, how can he complain about doxxing?

Sharing a photo that was originally taken privately and sent to one intended recipient and the subject did not give permission for the photo to be further distributed? That’s a violation of privacy.

You know who else violates privacy regularly? The government.

So, here’s the deal everybody:

If somebody sends you nude pictures, or intimate photographs of any variety, unless they explicitly tell you “HEY YOU SHOULD TOTALLY SHARE THESE WITH OTHER PEOPLE” they are for your eyes only and handing them to other people may not be an illegal act, but it’s sure as hell an immoral one. Sharing them with other parties makes you a terrible person.

Don’t be a terrible person. You’re only making awful people decide there “ought to be a law” instead of showing that adults are capable of making free, moral decisions without the force of a gun at their backs. Show some goddamn f*cking respect for other people. 

Virgil Văduva is on my blacklist until he apologizes to Josie Wales. Seriously. There is no excuse for his behavior, and the appropriate voluntary response, at least in my opinion, is to not associate with individuals who would seek to violate the privacy of others. I encourage others to consider doing the same, if you even know who the hell he is.

The rest of you, if you’re sending nudies, send them with Wickr.

For the consequentialist argument, stop sharing nudes or this’ll happen:


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