LONDON: Experts on sexual assault have criticised LA band Yacht for creating a fake sex tape to promote their new album, something activists say may make it harder for revenge porn victims to be believed.
Bandmates Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans, who are in a relationship, announced on the group’s Facebook page that a sex tape had been released online “without our previous knowledge” nor consent. “We hope you understand that this is not a delicious scandal. This is exploitation,” wrote the electro dance duo.
The band announced it was going to try to make the best of the bad situation and sell the video for $5 on its site. On Tuesday, Jezebel revealed that the whole thing was a scheme weeks in the making to advertise a new music video. Yacht quickly admitted that the whole story was fiction.
“We created a story that was quickly revealed as fiction by the internet. We expected interest, skepticism, and laughter. We didn’t anticipate the outpouring of genuine support, due partially to the credulity with which this story was so extensively and immediately reported,” the band wrote.
“We did make a sex tape, and we want you to watch it. We released it as a slowly-unveiling conspiracy, inspired in equal part by The X-Files, Nathan for You, and The KLF. It’s a project that allowed us to play with science fiction, the attention economy, clickbait journalism, and celebrity sex tapes all at once.”
“This is a bullshit marketing stunt,” said lawyer Carrie Goldberg, whose New York City law firm focuses on internet harassment and sexual assault litigation. “As somebody who spends all day, every day working with actual victims of nonconsensual porn and rapes that have videos and gone viral, I just thought: where are these guys, I’m going to come and hunt them down,” said Goldberg.
Nonconsensual porn, often known as revenge porn, is a growing and disturbing phenomena where sexual videos, photos and messages are leaked online without consent. In 2014, video of a Houston 16-year-old woman passed out and half-naked after being raped went viral on Twitter. Now 31 states have legislation against the distribution of revenge porn, with 28 of those states introducing legislation since 2012.