'The Fappening' Part 2 Hoax: Leaked Photo Threat Following Emma Watson UN Speech A Publicity Stunt, Rantic Marketing Wants To Shut Down 4chan?

The Internet was taken by storm on Monday, when a post emerged on 4chan threatening to leak nude photos of Emma Watson. The thread linked to a site titled EmmaWatsonYouAreNext, which featured an image of the actress – who had just delivered a speech to the UN on gender equality – wiping away a tear, next to a countdown clock. Well it turns out that the whole thing was just a bizarre stunt created by an online marketing group who say they aim to get 4chan shut down.

When the clock ran out at midnight on Wednesday, no nude photos of the actress emerged. Instead the site redirected viewers to the homepage for Rantic Marketing, a self described “social media marketing enterprise that has participated in some of the most viral campaigns and videos.” On it is a letter to President Obama, demanding that 4chan be taken off the Internet. The group claims they have been “hired by celebrity publicists to bring this disgusting issue to attention.”


The actual existence of celebrity clients is highly questionable at best. Mashable reports that the group, which used to go by the name Swenzy and before that SocialVEVO, has a history of creating online hoaxes. At one point last year, they created similar website for the character Brian on Family Guy. The site, also featuring a count down clock, was titled Brian’s Announcement, and appeared to suggest that the talking dog would get his own spin-off show. According to the Daily Dot, as Swenzy the group’s real business was selling fake Facebook and Twitter followers to companies.


It is clear, as many had guessed, that Watson was targeted specifically because of her role as a feminist activist. While it was generally assumed that the nude photo threat was an act of retaliation against the actress for speaking out on the issue, Rantic claims that they support her current campaign to get men involved in the fight for gender equality, and that is why they used it as a platform to draw attention to their cause. They tweeted, after revealing the hoax, “We fully support Emma and her campaign #heforshe, Hopefully 4chan users will convert to feminism right before it goes down.” They also wrote, “Shut down 4chan prevent suicides and violence towards women, Support the cause, End the problem!”


Not surprisingly, the general consensus among the online community is that neither Rantic’s methods nor their intentions are sound. The group has been widely accused of stealing focus from Watson’s important cause for the sake of their own agenda. As Twitter user Haley M. Steven’s put it, “Hey @RanticMarketing, shame on you for derailing the He for She campaign message to make you anti-4chan point. Utter shame on you.” 


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