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Professor wins $30M from ex-boyfriend in landmark ruling

via Spring Chenoa Cooper
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A New York court ordered a comedian to pay $30 million to his ex-girlfriend for a revenge porn campaign, the largest such verdict in the state’s history.

Despite not expecting to receive the settlement, the victim emphasized the importance of setting a precedent for future cases.

“I hope that people see this and realize that there are paths to justice and also that the public does view this as something that isn’t acceptable,” Spring Chenoa Cooper said. “[Being victimized] is not something that you should be ashamed about, [and non-consensually sharing intimate images] is not something that you can hide from.”

The ex-boyfriend sent explicit content after the breakup, leading to online harassment and public exposure of intimate images.

Legal actions were taken, including a civil suit under New York City’s revenge porn statute.

“In those moments, my life would stop,” Cooper said. “No matter where I was, who I was with or what my plans were for the day, my focus needed to immediately be finding the content and advocating for its removal because, as I came to learn, the longer the content is allowed to remain online, the more it will propagate.”

“I cannot begin to tally the number of people who contacted me to tell me they had seen my naked body and share whatever unsolicited comment about it or their perception of me that popped into their head,” she said.

“My ex is such a romantic,” the comedian wrote in 2018. “She just had my Valentine’s Day card hand-delivered by the police and it read: ‘Roses are red, Violets are blue, Please always keep 500ft between me and you.”

“Sometimes your ex puts you in handcuffs, and not in a hot way,” he wrote.

The perpetrator faced criminal charges but received a lenient sentence.

The victim highlighted the emotional toll of cyber sexual assault and advocated for better support for survivors.

“He knew that the police would not be able to find any evidence on him,” Cooper said. “The police don’t have the ability to research internet crimes – they don’t have the evidence to hold him.”

“I was never allowed a day in court and was never able to confront him for what he had done to me… [he] paid no fines and served no jail time for what he did… while [he] has been allowed to move on with his life, I… continue to be stuck in a never-ending cycle of fear,” Cooper said.

“What I first want everyone to understand is that a cyber sexual assault is a sexual assault,” Cooper said. “The mental and emotional things that people go through are the same. I want society to know that and take it seriously. That’s how the survivors will be able to come out and access support. When other people around them don’t know that or victim blame or aren’t able to recognize what this is, the survivors aren’t able to get the support they need.”

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