A US comedian has tweeted a photo of her own nipple after followers used it to try and extort money from her.
Whitney Cummings said she accidentally posted the image on Instagram in April, but deleted it soon afterwards.
Someone took a screenshot and sent it to her, with the message: “How much would it cost to not share this photo?”
Re-posting the photo, Cummings wrote: “If anyone is gonna make money or likes off my nipple, it’s gonna be me. So here it all is, you foolish dorks.”
People later posted their own embarrassing photos with the hashtag #IStandWithWhitney – including comedian Burt Kreischer, who tweeted a picture of his injured testicles.
What did Whitney Cummings say?
Cummings had posted an Instagram story of herself eating a lychee fruit in the bath, without realising that part of her breast and nipple were in the frame. After noticing, she deleted it.
Posting on Twitter, Cummings wrote: “In April I accidentally posted an insta story that showed nipple. Once I realised, I deleted. The people who took screen grabs are trying to get money from me, some said they have offers to sell them, some are asking for money to not post the photo.
“They all must think I’m way more famous than I am, but they also must think I’m way more easily intimidated than I am.”
She then posted a screenshot of one of the messages she had received, along with the photo itself.
“When a woman in the public eye is extorted, we have to spend time, money and energy dealing with it, hiring lawyers and security experts, and living with a pit in our stomach about when and how we will be humiliated,” she added. “Y’all can have my nipple, but not my time or money anymore.”
A few hours later she tweeted that she was receiving threats from people claiming to have access to photos of her stored on her iCloud.
“I’ll be honest, I stand by most of my nudes,” she wrote. “Frankly I’m way more embarrassed by all the inspirational quotes I’ve screen grabbed.”
How have people responded?
Burt Kreischer posted a close-up photo of his testicles, and wrote: “#IStandWithWhitney Hey @WhitneyCummings I hate what those dorks tried to do to you – here’s an embarrassing picture of my testicles after I fell on a waterslide.”
The image has so far been liked almost 15,000 times and retweeted more than 1,200 times.
Another comedian, Tom Segura, tweeted a graphic photo of his own injured penis and wrote: “Just learned that some real jerks tried to extort my friend @WhitneyCummings with a stolen photo from her phone. Well here’s one of mine. I accidentally put my peepee in a jacuzzi jet but it was a faulty light #IStandWithWhitney”
Others, including comedians Nick Bolton and Shayne Smith, posted their own embarrassing photos to show their support.
In response, Cummings later wrote: “Thank you everyone who sent me embarrassing pictures of yourselves to make me feel better about my embarrassing photo.
“It means the world to me, but I wouldn’t freak out if you stopped sending me photos of your hairy balls.”
Has this happened before?
Yes, this is not the first time a celebrity has thwarted an extortion attempt by sharing their own stolen photos.
In June, 21-year-old actress, model and singer Bella Thorne tweeted nude photos of herself after being hacked, and said that she had reported the hacker to the FBI.
“I can sleep tonight better knowing I took my power back,” she wrote at the time. “Here’s the photos he’s been threatening me with, in other words here’s my boobies.”
Sia, a famously private musician, did the same thing in November 2017 when someone tried to sell nude photos of her online.
She tweeted the photo herself, writing: “Someone is apparently trying to sell naked photos of me to my fans. Save your money, here it is for free. Every day is Christmas!”
And in February this year, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos took a similar approach after claiming he was being blackmailed by the owner of a US gossip magazine.
In a blog post, he posted an email he said had been sent to his representatives threatening to publish “intimate photos” of him and former TV host Lauren Sanchez.
Although he didn’t publish the photos himself, the post described in detail what they pictured.
“Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten,” he wrote.