The Prostate Cancer Foundation has decided to return at least $6,000 worth of donations made by a group of "redditors" who supported the leak of hundreds of celebrity nude images.
The subreddit dedicated to the leak, known as "The Fappening" (a masturbatory reference), has shared the trove of stolen images since they were made public on Sunday. A day later, one redditor encouraged users to donate to the Prostate Cancer Foundation "in honor of Jennifer Lawrence,” referring to one of the actresses whose private photos were distributed online. Users followed suit. By Tuesday "The Fappening" became the top donor on the charity’s website with more than $6,000 worth of donations.
On Tuesday, the Prostate Cancer Foundation issued a statement saying it would return the donations. “We would never condone raising funds for cancer research in this manner. Out of respect for everyone involved and in keeping with our own standards, we are returning all donations that resulted from this post,” the organization said.
It appears some redditors falsely believed the actress had at some point cited the Prostate Cancer Foundation as one of the causes she actively supports.
“I think it's kinda funny/cool she went with prostate cancer. She knows what's up,” one redditor wrote.
The connection between the foundation's purpose and salacious photos was not lost on the redditors that have actively sought to keep the images circulating. “They should pack these up and distribute to those that are at high risk for prostate cancer,” one redditor wrote. “We could eliminate it overnight.”
News of the returned donations also made waves on Reddit. “Guys, we're literally worse than cancer,” one user wrote.
“Just because the result of the fundraiser was a spinoff of wanting to do something nice (with a little humor added) does not make our money ‘not worthy’ of helping find a cure,” another commented.
A spokesperson for Lawrence confirmed the photos’ authenticity and called them “a flagrant violation of privacy.” The Lawrence photos were among hundreds of nude images of high-profile personalities revealed, including Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, Avril Lavigne, Lea Michele, McKayla Maroney and Ariana Grande.
All of the images were uploaded to the message-board site 4Chan on Sunday and later shared on social news site Reddit. The hacker or hackers involved in retrieving the photos from the celebrities’ personal iCloud accounts have not been identified. While the leak was initially blamed on a flaw in Apple’s iCloud service, the company since issued a statement saying the accounts were compromised by "a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions." The Federal Bureau of Investigations has joined the hunt to find the hackers involved.