Should the Globe and Mail Have Published Rihanna's Photo?

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MattB
Should the Globe and Mail Have Published Rihanna's Photo?

The Globe and Mail ran a story yesterday about the whole Rihanna/Chris Brown situation, in which they noted that TMZ published "a photo that purportedly shows the battered face of the pop star, with bruises on her forehead, bloody lips and other marks on her face." They reproduced the photo, which led to a lot of criticism on the part of their readers.

The LAPD believes the photo was leaked by one of their employees. The Globe acknowledges that the leak may have compromised the investigation. That, of course, is just one of the reasons why people are wondering if publishing the photo was the right thing to do. As a friend of a friend noted on Twitter, the Globe had the option of linking to the photo without reproducing it, "to give access without direct offence."

What do you think? The story is available below. Again, it does contain the photo, so if you don't want to see it, don't click ahead with images on.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090220.wrihanna0220...

remind remind's picture

What is the difference between linking to it and posting it?

Moreover, given the silence by the majority of celebrities on this incident, it needs to be shown that this type of an action is NOT acceptable no matter if you are a celebrity or not!

Sven Sven's picture

It's an invasion of Rihanna's privacy and the employee who released it should be fired.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Several issues should be kept separate:

1. Is it right to publish a photo (of anything) that has been obtained by a leak and that could compromise a police investigation?

2. Is it right to publish pictures of a battered woman without her permission?

3. Is it right to publish pictures of a battered woman with her permission?

4. Is it right to publish any picture at all that might upset or offend some people?

remind remind's picture

We do not know if an employee released it do we?

Sven Sven's picture

remind wrote:
We do not know if an employee released it do we?

I suppose the G&M or TMZ could have broken into the LAPD offices or the hospital at which she was treated and stolen the photo.

It's either that or an employee an LAPD or hospital employee who had access to the photo disclosed it to the media.

I'll leave it to you to assess which alternative is more probable.

ETA: To be fair, there is a third alternative: Aliens could have pilfered the photo and surreptitiously inserted it into the G&M.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

remind remind's picture

Or perhaps  Rihanna's people leaked it? We just do not know.

Sven Sven's picture

remind wrote:
Or perhaps  Rihanna's people leaked it?

That is certainly a plausible alternative.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

MattB

remind wrote:
What is the difference between linking to it and posting it?

The Globe and Mail included the photo in the article/page, meaning everyone who viewed the page would see it. Linking to the photo - say by linking to the original TMZ post - would enable those who wanted to see the photo to click through without displaying it to those that didn't.

remind remind's picture

Do not see much difference in providing the link or  showing the picture, other than a convience for us dial up peoples who cannot load  intense sites easily.

MattB

It's the difference between "Click here if you want to see it" and "Here it is, like it or not."

remind remind's picture

Well I guess we will just have to agree to disagree, the only reason I can see why people would not want to see it, is because they are in denial about the effects of a battered woman. And perhaps about female by male battery period.

It is all too easy to say to one's self, if one does not see it; "maybe she deserved it", thus/and/or put it down to a minor altercation brought on by Rihanna herself.

However, when one is faced with the evidence of massive battery one has to look at how it permiates society.

Stargazer

Absolutely they should have. Here's the thing - I watched a few movies in which rape is the central theme. People watching it with me, and others I have talked to, said "I couldn't take the rape scene. I think they should have taken that out."

Well here's the thing - in real life, rape is ugly, hurtful, horrible. It is not a pretty thing to watch (unless you are a twisted screw) and to censor it because it was making (mainly men) uncomfortable is to deny the reality of what rape is. It is not edited for TV. It is real. There are scars. It is not something that should be shown off camera or alluded to. It needs to be in your face, so people see the real horror inflicted upon those of us who have been raped. Same with domestic violence. It is not pretty. The victims suffer real scars. Too bad if it makes some people squeamish. The fact is, domestic violence scars people for life and people need to SEE what their rage can do to other people.People NEED to see what a horrible toll it takes on the victims, and they sure won't be doing this if we censor all these pictures. 

 

I am tired of having both sexual assault and domestic violence shoved at us in a little bite, without any true idea of what the reality is. These pictures ARE the reality and if it makes some people uncomfortable then too bad. That means more people need to see the horror of what rape and violence are. 

 

It's the same as trying to cover up war pictures in Iraq. Dead children, entire families blown to bits. If more people saw these images, perhaps the reality of what they are doing will sink in. Why give the abusers a chance to regain their power. They need to see what the fuck they do to people. 

 

Stargazer

What remind said. Apparently we agree on this. (Like I knew she would).

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

I agree with you, Stargazer.

But what do you think of the privacy issue? If she did not consent to the publication of the photo, should it be published anyway?

Stargazer

 If she wants it down, then I think they should take it down. I think what she wants should be central.

remind remind's picture

Well, I would say that privacy point is actually mute. The photo has been up for almost 3 days now, and if Rihanna had wanted it down, there would have been an immediate court injunction to have it taken down. Or at the very least, a comment by Rihanna's people asking to have it removed,  or  even a comment chastizing TMZ, by now, if she was concerned about her privacy being violated by them. So I find comments about her privacy being violated a bit odd.

Plus, TMZ has been covering this from the beginning in a pro-Rhianna, anti violence against women way. In fact, they have been making strong comments about/against the celebrities who are pro-Brown, or are diminishing what this  act of violence is.

As such, it seems to me that those who do not want to face the reality of what woman battery and domestic abuse  looks like and is, would be the only ones against viewing it, while pretending there could be other issues about its being shown publically.

In fact, I would imagine Rihanna, in her very public position, when she feels she is healed enough, will use her case to help women and girls by trying to stop the battering. The fact she had the courage to call 911, instead of covering it up, because of her celebrity, says much about how she is handling this and will handle it in the future.

It also indicates, to me, that she really feared for her life, so much so that she never worried about her celebrity status and what the public eye blowback could be. Understanding this, prompts me to realize that the beating was perhaps worse even, than what shows on her face and neck.

 

 

MattB

remind wrote:
Well I guess we will just have to agree to disagree, the only reason I can see why people would not want to see it, is because they are in denial about the effects of a battered woman. And perhaps about female by male battery period.

Heh... Well, we don't have to agree to disagree at all, because I've personally got no problem with them showing the photo, and I think the issue of violence should be confronted. I was just acknowledging and explaining one of the possible alternatives.

However, I do think it's a broad assumption to say that the only reason why one would object would be because they're in denial about violence against women. The concerns about privacy raised here, for example, are legitimate, and it isn't really fair to second-guess them.

remind remind's picture

I noted that if there were privacy concerns, Rihanna's people would have addressed them, as such it is really no one else's business to speculate about Rihanna's rights, they are hers to excercise, or not.  It is self-serving and/or patriarchial rescuing IMV.

Hell, I every right to second guess motives, if everyone else is going to second guess what Rihanna believes, wants, or needs,

MattB

Well, obviously I'm approaching this discussion as a man, but as much as I agree that violence against women should be confronted and her rights should be respected, I don't think it can be argued that anyone and everyone who has an issue with the photo being published is just trying to excuse violence, or the patriarchy, or what have you. As M. Spector has quite rightly noted, there are a number of issues in play here, and the integrity of an investigation isn't the least of them.

I'm not saying it is or isn't wrong to publish a photo like that. But I also can't fairly say that there's only one reason, and a reprehensible one at that, why somebody could object to it being published.

MattB

remind wrote:
Moreover, given the silence by the majority of celebrities on this incident, it needs to be shown that this type of an action is NOT acceptable no matter if you are a celebrity or not!

Just wanted to say as well that this is a really good point. The celebrity nature of this incident makes it easier to write off as a "feud" or tabloid fodder, and I totally agree that a photo like this removes it from that context and reminds us all of the realities of such violence.

remind remind's picture

I have yet to figure out how her picture being made public compromises any investigation, or trial.

Mug shots are released all the damn time, Steven Page is a fine example, where there was no worry as to the trial or breach of privacy, but only now, in this case, where we have proof of a  very public woman being beaten is some how privacy become an  issue. There certainly were not any threads here about Page's privacy being violated by the publication of his mug shot.

I also think that for some,  the privacy being worried about is Brown's, frankly, NOT Rihanna's.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=The">http://www.aolcdn.com/tmz_documents/021909_lapd_statement_1.pdf][=m... LAPD says:[/][/url]

Quote:
At about 7 p.m. on February 19, 2009, the Los Angeles Police Department Media Relations Section began receiving numerous inquiries about the release of a photograph associated with a domestic violence incident that occurred on February 8, 2009, involving entertainer Chris Brown. The photograph appeared on an entertainment website. The photograph has the appearance of one taken during an official Domestic Violence investigation.

The Los Angeles Police Department takes seriously its duty to maintain the confidentiality of victims of domestic violence.

The Department launched an immediate internal investigation and subsequently filed a personnel complaint.

A violation of this type is considered serious misconduct, with penalties up to and including termination.

Protecting the confidentiality of photographs and statements taken by the police in a criminal investigation is important for the integrity of the legal process and for ensuring the willingness of victims and witnesses to co-operate fully with the investigation.

Only an idiot would suggest that concerns about the victim's privacy are not legitimate.

 

remind remind's picture

Oh where was your outrage over Steven Page's privacy being violated by someone leaking his mug shot? Or Robert Downey Jr, or Nick Nolte, or hell even BC's Gordo's pic, not one person had a problem with their privacy being eroded, not even with Lindsay Lohan's mug shots.

Never have I observed here, or even by the LAPD, any outrage over other celebrity victim's, or criminals, whose pictures appear on TV, or in the paper with cries of the investigation will be affected.

It seems patriarchial society does not like to be confronted with the outcomes of their supremist ideology. So much so, you will even resort to abusive labels against others who point out the inconsistency of thought and action being used.

You and Sven are righteous company!

 

MattB

Well, hold on. Page, Nolte, and Downey, Jr. were accused of crimes. Rihanna is the victim of one. That's a pretty big distinction.

MattB

And yes, I agree that some people are undoubtedly as/more concerned about Brown's privacy. But it's still too much of a leap to say that anyone who's concerned about that photo being published is really just concerned about the patriarchy being threatened.

remind remind's picture

Nonsense, she is an alleged victim, just as they were alleged criminals.

MattB

Not to split hairs, but I'd say the photo removes any doubt that she was the victim of abuse.

remind remind's picture

Not for some, as any google search will show you. And your point would be what anyway?

 

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

M. Spector wrote:

Only an idiot would suggest that concerns about the victim's privacy are not legitimate.

After which, remind proceeded to do precisely that.

 

remind remind's picture

Awwww, did you think you set a trap for me that you thought I would walk into ?

Poor wee man, why should we believe that there are privacy issues when Rihanna herself has said no such thing in the 3 days her picture has been out there, and considering no one here makes an issue out of any other celebrity's personal life and pictures being bandied, about at any given time.

And only a ego-maniac would think it correct behaviour to set a trap, so they could get to call someone an idiot. At best, that is.

 

MattB

remind wrote:
Not for some, as any google search will show you. And your point would be what anyway?

Well, my point was that you've been making tangential, disrespectful, short-sighted and self-serving assumptions. I didn't want to come right out and say it as such, but you kind of went on to back me up with the way you've reacted to the discussion in general. Which is a shame, because you've otherwise made some good points here.

At any rate, I think the thread as a whole has illustrated that there are a wide range of viewpoints informed by a wide range of perspectives when it comes to an issue like this. Without weighing in on who's right or wrong, I think we can come to a much broader understanding of who thinks what about these very important issues.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Like remind, I'm also suspicious of men questioning this.  Pity noone questions why Brown is getting so much support.  Perhaps the thread belongs in the Feminism Forum so the merit of posting the photo could be discussed from that point of view.  I know all the men commenting aren't the possible next victim of domestic violence.

Maysie Maysie's picture

To answer the question of the thread title: There isn't really a question. The Globe and other media will always publish photos that will help sell papers. 

"If it bleeds, it leads", one of the reasons why war images are always on the front pages of newspapers.

As for the question of whether the images were too disturbing, is this really being asked? Abu Ghraib anyone? Or any random boxing match? Our society is steeped in violent images, glorifies them actually, including images of violence against women (VAW). All of a sudden the image of a beaten Black woman embodies such power? I only wish that VAW could have such an effect on the MSM. Then maybe real change could happen.

If the MSM cared about racialized violence against women, and it demonstrated such "caring" in the stance and frequency of editorials on the issue, that would be a positive step towards eradicating such violence. Not holding my breath for that to happen. 

The question re. possibly interfering with the investigation? Again, when has the MSM ever cared about this, and limited publication of photos out of respect for that, aside from being forced to?

Re the moral and privacy issues in the question "is it right to publish these photos?" well, as an anti-violence against women activist, I truly don't know if showing these images versus not showing them indicates anything one way or the other about the mainstream's support or lack of support for VAW issues. Aside from a small editorial around December 6th once in a while, I don't see the MSM doing anything other than what it always does. Printing the images doesn't "prove" anything except that she's a celebrity and will sell more papers (or will generate more website hits) than "Mary Smith" who was assaulted by her husband last night and last week. 

As for privacy, many believe that celebrities give up all entitlement to privacy because they are celebrities. I don't believe this, but I'm an out-on-a-limb kinda woman. And I also know that celebrities can often bring more attention to an issue, so we can't have it both ways. Maybe in a few months Rhianna will end up being a spokesperson for VAW and will begin working with grassroots feminist groups in the U.S. I suggest starting with INCITE!

Finally, in this specific case, there's a rarely-activated trope of Black woman as passive and helpless victim. This is the only lens the MSM will allow to be used on Rhianna now, no other analysis is possible. 

remind remind's picture

mattb wrote:
Well, my point was that you've been making tangential,
Tangential? Not freakin likely

Quote:
disrespectful,
To whom?

Quote:
short-sighted
Again it is not me who is being short sighted.

Quote:
and self-serving assumptions.
How so?

Quote:
I didn't want to come right out and say it as such, but you kind of went on to back me up with the way you've reacted to the discussion in general. Which is a shame, because you've otherwise made some good points here.
Oh this translates into a man not liking the way the discussion is going. Too bad!