Emma Watson Threatened About Release Of ‘Nude’ Photos That Didn’t Exist

She’s as precious as a gentle wildflower, so why would anyone want to threaten Emma Watson? The Harry Potter actress, who has become the de facto face of women’s rights and feminism, revealed how she was threatened with release of “nude” photos should she attend Sunday’s #HeForShe event and speak on gender equality issues. Well, Emma did, and she shared an interesting take on the vile extortion attempt, according to a People report.

Watson, 24, was a keynote speaker Sunday before a crowd of about 150 at Facebook’s London headquarters as part of International Women’s Day. There, she shared her journey of overcoming barriers in her acting career that women often succumb to.

During the question and answer live session, she also shocked audience members and millions of viewers from around the world about the threat she received no more than 12 hours after she gave a speech for the campaign back in September.

“After I gave my speech in September there was a website set up threatening to release naked photos of me. And I knew it was a hoax, I knew the pictures didn’t exist. I think that was a wake up call to a lot of people that women are receiving threats like this. It really publicized something that was really negative. If they were trying to put me off — they did the opposite.”

Emma Watson didn’t relent despite being threatened, and no naked images were released. It turns out that the entire thing was woven into a media spectacle by several sites that reported what they believed were the intentions of a PR company. Apparently, Rantic, which describes itself as a social marketing and public relations agency, set off a firestorm when it posted a countdown clock and cryptic information about Emma.

Some, even the actress, thought she was being threatened because several tabloids perceived the clock to be evidence of demands — with a deadline. It’s unknown how private photos were thrust into the mix. However, a paradox occurred: instead of the conversation remaining focused on Emma’s “naked” pictures, the chatter morphed into toxic language centered on anti-feminism. It then sparked heated debates between those who support gender equality and those who don’t.

In wake of the backlash, the website that hosted the virtual clock released a statement. Operators tried to explain how the blame for any threats against Emma Watson should be placed squarely on sites that recklessly reported on the clock’s meaning. Rantic expressed its sorrow for inadvertently creating a stream of anti-feminism rhetoric, but are pleased that the overwhelming number of people who support women’s rights outweighed the negativity.

The complete statement that explains in detail how Emma Watson was threatened appears here.

[Photo by: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]