A motley group of hackers has claimed responsibility for some relatively innocuous privacy attacks on celebrities who might actually benefit from the exposure.
But until we learn otherwise, we will give Hollywood Leaks the benefit of the doubt and presume that they actually are an offshoot of the Anonymous ring, as they claim. (Hollywood Leaks uses the Anonymous tagline WE DO NOT FORGIVE WE DO NOT FORGET EXPECT US in its Twitter profile).
On Wednesday, leaked photos of Dancing With the Stars talent Julianne Hough began circulating on the Internet, and Hollywood Leaks quickly claimed responsibility for hacking into her cell phone to get them. The group explained its mission to Gawker earlier this week: We're simply here to facilitate the free flow of information from a place which was previously over looked, Hollywood, an unidentified representative wrote in an email, prompting Gawker to tag them Wikileaks to the Stars.
Several of the leaked photos are a bit racy -- but nothing shocking -- and a few show Hough and her boyfriend Ryan Seacrest looking happy and in love. Some photos of the couple look like typical cell phone self-portraits taken at arm's length. But at least one of them -- of the two sharing a kiss over an intimate meal -- was shot from a good distance away, begging the question of who took it and why. Sure, a third wheel could have snapped the photo. But it's hard not to be skeptical in the face of persistent rumors that Seacrest is gay and Hough is his beard.
And a better beard you could not find in Hollywood. The bubbly blonde was an unknown innocent before joining Dancing With the Stars, and is a practicing Mormon, which means her religion forbids her from having sex outside of marriage. Perfect!
We've posted the YouTube video of Hollywood Leaks' manifesto, and transcribed what we could of the often garbled message below:
Attention Hollywood: We sincerely hope you enjoyed our VMA acceptance speech. Unfortunately for you this is just the beginning...[inaudible] and the leaks will keep coming. Our targets are as numerous as the sands of time. This is [inaudible] for the people. [Inaudible]. This is a call to arms. [Inaudible] to join us and open fire against...Hollywood and the media. [Inaudible] attacks are encouraged. We are Anonymous. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us. (More after the jump)
The VMA acceptance speech claim is presumably in reference to the hack of rapper Kreayshawn's Twitter account, which Hollywood Leaks timed to correspond with the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night (presumably knowing that Kreayshawn would be there). The hackers posted nude photos of the rapper, which she now claims were taken when she was underage.
The hackers also leaked the script for Tom Cruise's upcoming movie Rock of Ages, which they reportedly obtained by hacking into the email of another cast member. We know that Anonymous is rabidly anti-Scientology, so this makes sense on some level. On the other hand, it sounds an awful lot like early publicity for Warner Bros., which could be seen as defeating the purpose.
As a Hollywood Leak member who goes by the name of dapper told Gawker, The important thing... is the timing, and the attention.
On Wednesday evening, Hollywood Leaks tweeted a link to what they said was Mark Cuban's phone number, which IBTimes tested out of curiosity. It went to voicemail after a few rings, and the man on the outgoing message identified himself simply as Mark.
One of the hackers' Twitter followers claimed to also have dialed the number, but with better luck: Cuban answered. I asked to borrow a few bucks.