Here’s how the New York Post wrote about a recent sexual assault that was broadcast live on the internet, via the new Sony Playstation 4 and its live-streaming capability:
Husband broadcasts drunk, naked wife on Playstation 4
Instead of sharing FIFA wonder goals or Call of Duty action, a PS4 owner has used the new live-streaming feature to expose his wife’s breast and strip her naked in front for the whole gaming community to see.
As reported by website GameRevolution, the couple sat on their sofa drinking until the woman passed out. He then lifted her shirt and exposed her breast for “about 15 minutes.” After that he went one step further by briefly turning off the broadcast only to return with the unconscious woman completely stripped naked.
The user was reportedly banned instantly but they were not the only ones getting up to naughtiness…
Never once did the Post use the words “sexual assault” in their article. They called it, of all things, “naughtiness” instead. Even worse than the poor word choice, is their stock photo choice. Here’s a screen shot of the article’s intro so you can see what I mean:
What. The. Fuck? Come on New York Post! This is how you choose to cover a sexual assault? You turn it into some sort of Penthouse letter fantasy about lounging lingerie models? Yours is by far the most offensive take on the incident, but oh if only you were the sole news outlet to act this way… sadly you weren’t. The New York Daily News for example, tried to get cute with the first line in its article:
Husband uses PlayStation 4 to live-stream passed out wife’s naked body
The geek of the week let the Web sneak a peek…
The rest of the article takes the same approach as the Post’s, but my god that first sentence… “The geek of the week let the Web sneak a peek?” Horrible! Massive fail Daily News, massive fail. Lets move on to that original Game Revolution post that started the whole thing (and everyone keeps mentioning). Here’s a snippet:
Man Exposes Wife’s Breast On PS4 Twitch Stream, Then Strips Her Completely
…He and his wife sat on a couch drinking, and drinking, and drinking. Eventually, the wife passed out. So the man did what any man deserving of divorce papers would do: he showed the internet some breast — and not his own. Yes, live on Twitch TV, via The Playroom on PS4, a man lifted up his unconscious wife’s shirt and exposed her breast. After 15 or 16 post-boob minutes, the channel went dark briefly; upon its return, the wife was completely naked, presumably stripped by the husband.
Not much better, but at least they were brave enough to mention divorce in their coverage (so very brave). What about the blogs? Lets see how popular gaming blog Kotaku reported things:
Twitch Couple’s Strip Show Could Mean Bad News for PlayStation 4
In an episode reported by GameRevolution and discussed in other forums, a couple sat on their overstuffed couch, allegedly drinking to unconsciousness. One lifted up his unsconscious partner’s shirt, exposing her breast for about 15 minutes. After a brief blackout, the broadcast returned, with the woman completely naked, presumably stripped by her companion.
It’s only a matter of time before some troll does something even more sexually bizarre (or violent) [emphasis mine] and a 12-year-old sees it on his family’s PlayStation 4 and all hell breaks loose in the mainstream, especially if that happens in the U.K. and The Daily Mail gets wind of it.
Wait, what? “before some troll does something even more sexually bizarre (or violent)?” Seriously? Sexual assaults are pretty bizarre and violent already Kotaku. What exactly are you hoping for? A beheading? Oh and speaking of the The Daily Mail, here’s how they reported the incident:
Man broadcasts footage of his naked and passed-out wife live online through his PlayStation 4 after stripping her clothes off while she was in a drunken stupor
An owner of the new PlayStation 4 is under fire after he used the live video feature on his Sony gaming console to broadcast images of his naked wife who was passed out drunk in the couple’s living room.
The man could be seen exposing his wife’s breast as she laid, apparently asleep, on their couch. Moments later, she is seen completely naked after he apparently stripped off her clothes…
…But user Darckobra broadcast a stream of him and his wife drinking heavily on their couch, Game Revolution reports. Eventually, the woman appears to pass out. He reaches over and pulls open her dress and exposes her breast. About 15 minutes later the screen goes dark. When the feed returns, the woman can be seen, still sleeping, totally naked on the couch.
The Daily Mail went ahead and attached the video of the assault in their report… you know, because Boobies!
I could go on, but I hope you’ve got the point by now. Something is seriously wrong here. None of these newspapers or blogs got it right. This was not a “couple’s online strip show,” this was a sexual assault. Plain and simple.
If you’re unsure why, let me break it down for you real quick. If someone is passed out, unconscious, asleep or in any other way incapacitated they cannot legally, logically or morally give consent for sexual activity… or in this case exposure of body parts followed by full disrobing for the entire online universe to see. It doesn’t matter if the person is your wife/husband/partner, or whatever legal relation they may be. Familiarity and/or previous sexual intimacy does not confer automatic rights to engage in similar future behavior. The aftermath of this crime is not known (beyond Twitch, the site which broadcast the assault, announcing that they banned the couple’s account), so I have no idea how the wife responded once she discovered what happened. I hope she does a lot more than divorce his ass, but that’s her call to make. Regardless of the wife’s chosen response, a crime has been committed and video evidence of it broadcast online. At the very least those who wrote about it should have identified this and wrote the fact into their reports.
This is one of those situations where I can’t decide which is worse; the event that caught everyone’s attention or the public response to that event. The fact that one asshole husband used the PS4 streaming feature to commit a crime is bad enough by itself. What make the situation worse is the number of writers who failed to identify what really happened and call it by its name. I beg reporters, bloggers and others covering these sorts of cases to get informed and start calling an assault an assault. Who knows how many people read about this incident and walked away not realizing that a crime was committed. God only knows what sorts of future behaviors that lack of knowledge can contribute to?