The website hosting Emma Sulkowicz’s much-talked-about sex tape has come back online after being out of commission over the weekend. Those paying attention to the site, however, have noticed that the video reappearing on Monday has received one significant edit since it was last available on Friday, which may be intended to avoid a lawsuit.
Sulkowicz became famous nationwide as ‘Mattress Girl,’ carrying a mattress around Columbia University’s campus to protest the school’s handling of her alleged 2012 rape at the hands of fellow student Paul Nungesser. Last Thursday, in a bizarre new development, Sulkowicz released an 8-minute video titled Ceci N’est Pas Un Viol (This Is Not A Rape) that appears to show a recreation of the rape Sulkowicz claims she endured. (RELATED: Columbia’s Mattress Girl Has Released An ‘Artistic’ Sex Tape)
The video posted on Monday is, for the most part, identical to the one briefly available last week: The “artistic” tape shows Sulkowicz having sex in a Columbia dorm room with an unknown man, who suddenly becomes violent and starts to hit her, choke her, and otherwise subject her to what looks like a rape. But one small change has been made to the short film: In the original release, the camera footage showed a date in the upper right corner of each camera, making it appear the film was taped on August 27, 2012 (the date Sulkowicz claims she was raped by Nungesser). In the reposted video, however, this date has been blurred out. Compare the two photos below:
Sulkowicz claims that the site only went down on Friday afternoon due to a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack, a form of cyberattack where a website is overwhelmed and crashes due to a simulated surge in traffic. If that claim is true, the DDOS attack may have been helpful to Sulkowicz, giving her a chance to edit the video without appearing to have temporarily taken it down. The website gives no indication that the video has been altered since it’s original posting.
It can only be speculated why exactly this change was made, but the major possibility that springs to mind is that Sulkowicz is trying to avoid legal ramifications for the video. While the text of the website it is posted on claims the tape is “not a reenactment but may seem like one,” the precise date it originally had is strongly indicative that Sulkowicz is in fact “artistically” trying to recreate the manner in which she claims Nungesser raped her.
Given that Nungesser has always strongly professed his innocence and has never been charged with any crime, it’s possible that making a thinly-veiled accusation in such a spectacular way may have been inviting a lawsuit from Nungesser, who has already sued Columbia. It is possible to commit libel through an online video that maliciously hurts a person’s reputation through false claims. (RELATED: The Text Of The Mattress Girl Lawsuit Will Shock You)
Unless Sulkowicz herself reveals why the edits were made, however, her reasoning can only be guessed.
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