Mischa Barton on How Being a Victim of Revenge Porn Continues to Haunt Her

For the Scarlet Letter Reports, Mischa Barton sits down with host Amanda Knox and recalls the moment she found out a nonconsensual sex tape of her was being shopped around to porn sites.
May 30, 2018, 4:01pm

In this episode of The Scarlet Letter Reports, I sit down with actress Mischa Barton who, in 2017, filed a lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend for secretly recording the two of them having sex and subsequently selling the sex tape to porn sites. Though Mischa eventually won her case, the revenge porn lawsuit put her most personal, intimate self in the center of the media’s attention.

This also was not the first time Mischa found herself the subject of media scandal. For years, her private life has been combed for any and every misfortune and mistake, and the tabloids have scrutinized her sexuality, body, and even mental health. And today she knows the revenge porn case may also continue to haunt her. “Yes, it will always be there—an aggravation, an annoyance, a shame that could potentially rear its ugly head again,” she said, explaining how women continue to be harassed even long after a case may be considered resolved.

As someone who was also thrust into the public spotlight for something I didn’t do, I have to ask: Why is this considered an appropriate way to treat female public figures? In my experience, you learn to live with a very particular form of dread, knowing just how much your notoriety puts you at risk.

I never asked for the spotlight and Mischa did. Does that matter? Why is it that a non-consensual sex tape will ruin a woman’s reputation or career but rarely a man’s? Why do we feel a false sense of entitlement to the private moments of people who’ve crossed into public life?

You can watch the full episode of The Scarlet Letter Reports now on Facebook Watch.