In news that must be truly devastating to “Fappening” enthusiasts, the nude photo leak threat targeting Emma Watson earlier this week has turned out to be a viral marketing hoax by a site calling itself Rantic Marketing. Rantic claims it wants to shut down 4chan, but the “social media marketing enterprise” may itself be a fraud.
Initially, the threats to release nude pictures of Emma Watson were reportedly posted on the anonymous, forum-based website 4chan, which has previously been the center of other celebrity photo hacks.
My thoughts at first were that it was a run-of-the-mill hoax. I figured that the 4chan poster was simply bluffing. It’s pretty inconceivable that 4chan would just sit on nude pictures of Emma Watson for weeks or even months waiting for an opportunity to blackmail her for…something. Turns out the truth may be even weirder.
The website surrounding the false leaks, EmmaYouAreNext.com, was threatening to release the nude photographs of the actress and included a countdown clock ending Saturday at midnight ET. The person who posted the website said it was in retaliation for Watson’s well-received speech that she gave at the United Nations on Sept. 20.
By midnight on Wednesday however, the EmmaYouAreNext URL was redirecting to Rantic Marketing’s website. Watson’s face and the countdown clock was replaced with a banner that says, “#shutdown4chan” and an open letter to President Barack Obama that claims celebrity publicists hired the marketing company to popularize a call for Internet censorship and the end of 4chan.
It is still unknown if Rantic Marketing is a even real company or if the Rantic website is simply another stunt in itself. Attempts by media outlets to reach out to Rantic via their email address on its website have only returned failure notices.
Rantic listed “Brad Cockingham,” which I’m just going to go ahead and assume is an alias, as its CEO and founder, but no further information could be found.