By JEFF IHAZA
On Saturday, actress Emma Watson delivered a stirring speech in front of the United Nations advocating her #HeforShe campaign calling for men to take an active role in feminist politics. The speech quickly went viral and, for the most part, was met with widespread acclaim.
Members of the online forum 4chan were allegedly none too pleased.
Railing against what they call "Social Justice Warriors," a group of 4chan users were reported to have conspired to leak nude photos of Watson in retaliation to her speech. The controversy brought 4chan's torrid history with sexism back to the fore just weeks after the largest leak of celebrity nude photos was discovered on the 4chan forums.
A website titled EmmaYouAreNext.com emerged with a countdown ticker ending this weekend when, presumably, the photos would be leaked.
Early Wednesday morning, EmmaYouAreNext no longer displayed the countdown to the scheduled leak. Instead, it pointed users to the homepage of Rantic, which according to its website, is a "social media marketing enterprise that has participated in some of the most viral campaigns and music videos."
Rantic, founded by its current CEO Brad Cockingham, is also responsible for FoxWeekly and the popular Family Guy hoax "The Save Brian Campaign."
The company appears to take issue with 4chan's proliferation of celebrity nude photos. On the Rantic homepage an open letter to President Obama is featured in which they call for the elimination of 4chan as a whole.
" We have been hired by celebrity publicists to bring this disgusting issue to attention. The recent 4chan celebrity nude leaks in past 2 months have been an invasion of privacy and is also clear indication that the internet NEEDS to be censored. Every Facebook like, share & Twitter mention will count as a social signature -- and will be one step closer to shutting down www.4chan.org. "
Rantic's campaign goes further: the company's Twitter account, only active for about a week, is almost exclusively dedicated to the cause of shutting down 4chan. The group's first tweet is somewhat ominous, too.
Many people think this tactic is distracting from Watson's points about equality. In any event, it surely got everyone's attention.