Blac Chyna Birthday Celebration And Unveiling Of Her 'Chymoji' Emoji Collection

Source: JB Lacroix / Getty

On Wednesday, reality television personality Rob Kardashian took to Instagram to air his frustrations with the mother of his child, Blac Chyna (who allegedly sent him a video of her kissing another man) by posting nude images she had previously sent him during their relationship. His account was shut down by the social network and he took to Twitter to continue his tirade.

In response, Blac Chyna took to Snapchat to claim that Kardashian had physically assaulted her. While we cannot verify Chyna’s claims, its worth noting that Black women are three times as likely to experience intimate partner violence than white women, and less likely to seek help. Also, a scene from an old episode of Keeping Up with The Kardashians appears to show 30-year-old Kardashian abusing ex-fiancée Adrienne Bailon while his mother, Kris Jenner relaxed on a living room couch.

CASSIUS reached out to Carrie Goldberg, a Brooklyn-based lawyer who specializes in non-consensual pornography, also known as “revenge porn,” to understand Kardashian’s actions are not only harmful to Blac Chyna (and women in general) but also illegal.

CASSIUS: Can you explain what you do and why you do it?

Carrie Goldberg: Our firm fights for victims of online harassment, sexual assault, and blackmail. So basically we sue assholes, pervs, and psychos. Sexual humiliation has always been a way to abuse people, but with the Internet, the scope and audience that witnesses that humiliation is exponentially greater. The Internet makes humiliation convenient, accessible, and effective. Many of our clients are people getting out of abusive relationships, but we also have individuals who are attacked because of so-called ideological reasons — such as for being abortion providers or a female gamer. We de-anonymize accounts, get restraining orders, sue, remove images from social media and web sites. Whatever our clients need.

CASSIUS: What kind of cases do you tend to see?

CG: Our cases run the gamut. Many of our cases involve the jilted ex who feels wronged and can’t handle emotions in a mature way and decides to post naked images of his ex online. Many of our clients also are very successful men who are being blackmailed by somebody they had a sexual dalliance with. We have some celebrity clients who were hacked and their nudes spread. We are in litigation in several cases involving nonconsensual porn or sexual assault. We have seven cases against K-12 schools where our client was sexually victimized and she was suspended after reporting it.

CASSIUS: Did Rob Kardashian break any laws by posting those images?

CG: Over two thirds of US states outlaw the nonconsensual distribution of sexually graphic images. In California, where Rob and Blac Chyna live, it’s a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail.

CASSIUS: “Devil’s advocates”  have cited a lot of excuses for Kardashian’s behavior: she allegedly cheated on him, he may have paid for her surgeries and rent, among them. One claim in particular that continues to come up is that since she’s a former stripper and posts semi-nude photos of herself on social media, she’s can’t really be a victim of non-consensual pornography. Why are they wrong?

CG: Everybody has the right to control their sexual privacy. There is never a justification for somebody to usurp that. This is about consent. Blac Chyna did not consent to her pictures being published. Period. Any excuse Rob makes does not mitigate the damage done. While Rob may claim that her prior consent to nudity — by being a stripper or posting sexy pictures voluntarily — justifies this, the law won’t see it that way. It’s not a defense. Plus, because of Blac Chyna’s high profile image and sexiness, one could argue that Rob is liable for even greater damages since there is a commercial value to her nudity.

CASSIUS: It’s pretty common for folks to send nudes and other sexy photos to a partner. But if someone sends them around to friends or posts them online, how can you fight back?

CG: Screenshot everything and call a lawyer. Assholes who are spiraling to this extent after the end of a relationship can be dangerous and retaliate in other costly ways. Lawyers experienced in nonconsensual porn can assess the situation, report the images on social media and get them hashed so they don’t pop up, and take other more extreme actions if necessary such as coordinate an arrest and petition the court for a Order of Protection.

CASSIUS: You tweeted that California, where Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna live, has great civil and criminal revenge porn laws. Can you explain what makes those laws strong and which other states have them?

CG: Nonconsensual porn is a misdemeanor punishable up to six months in jail and/or monetary fine. I’m in favor of the states that make this behavior a felony. This follows victims around for the rest of their life — impacts their future employment and relationship prospects forever — and warrants a strong law. With California’s civil nonconsensual porn law, Blac Chyna could sue Rob. The damages could be astronomical. A recent case in Washington State awarded [a victim] over $8 million dollars.

The extent of Rob’s social media influence makes this an unprecedented situation — he has over nine million followers on Instagram and when they shut down his account and he moved to Twitter, the images was shared and liked thousands of times within a few seconds of being posted. So the dissemination of these images is incredibly vast and it will be costly and time-consuming if Blac Chyna wants to work to get these images removed from the Internet. Go to my website for my inventory of all the states with criminal and civil revenge porn laws.

CASSIUS: What can the rest of us do to stop this?

CG: Exploiting another person’s sexual privacy and rights is not only not ok, it is illegal and unjust. And the onus is on all of us to stop the dissemination if we see somebody has been victimized.That means you don’t follow the link, you don’t like or retweet it, you don’t download the images. And for Godssake, you don’t re-post it.