Revenge Porn: Charges Dropped in Miami Case, Raising Concerns Over Nationwide Legislation

Categories: Crime

Ryan_Seay_and_Holly_Jacobs_revenge_porn.jpg
Courtesy of Ryan Seay
Holly Jacobs and Ryan Seay during happier times.
Five months ago, Holly Jacobs made the brave decision to become the international face of revenge porn victims. The pretty FIU grad student told New Times that her ex-boyfriend had posted sexually explicit photos and videos of her on the internet, nearly ruining her life.

Braver still, Jacobs began a high-profile campaign to criminalize revenge porn. Since May, she has appeared on countless TV programs and penned dozens of op-ed pieces pushing for bills against so-called cyber rape from Florida to California.

Earlier this month, however, prosecutors dropped all charges against Jacobs' ex. Now he is speaking out for the first time to plead his innocence and accuse Jacobs of waging a World Wide Web witch-hunt.

See also: Miami Student Holly Jacobs Fights Revenge Porn

Ryan Seay's life was turned upside down by a phone call. It was late October of last year, and the sound engineer was celebrating his 28th birthday in Sarasota. Exhausted after a day at the Ringling Museum of Art, Seay and his girlfriend fell asleep on their lumpy hotel room mattress. Then the plastic phone started shrieking.

"I'm sorry to disturb you, sir, but there is something wrong with the heat in your shower," the woman from the front desk chirped. Still groggy from his nap, Seay said not to worry about it. "It could be affecting the other rooms," the woman insisted. "We're sending someone up."

But when Seay opened the door moments later, it wasn't maintenance entering his room. It was the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

"They were clever about it," Seay says. "I'll give them that."

Sheriff's deputies served Seay with a notice to appear in court, and soon he was facing criminal charges. Four years after they had broken up, Seay's ex-girlfriend, Jacobs, claimed a disgruntled Seay had spread hundreds of explicit pictures and videos of her on the internet.

Seay_Jacobs.jpg
Courtesy of Ryan Seay
Seay and Jacobs together in Tampa before their revenge porn battle
Jacobs founded a nonprofit and quickly became the international face of what she called "cyber rape" or "revenge porn." The 30-year-old brunet appeared on CNN, NBC, and Fox News and penned op-ed pieces in newspapers as far-flung as England and Australia about her ordeal. At her urging, California recently passed a law against revenge porn. Nearly a dozen other states including New York have moved to follow its lead.

See also: Miami Revenge Porn Victim Holly Jacobs Demands Politicians "Take Issue Seriously"

But the straightforward story of sex and revenge got much more complicated October 3. That's when Hillsborough County prosecutors dropped all the charges against Seay because of a lack of evidence. Seay is now speaking publicly for the first time. He says Jacobs has launched a World Wide Web witch-hunt that could ensnare other innocent men like him.

"She has been bullying me for the past year," he says. "Holly is guilty of the exact same thing that she is accusing me of: taking these pics, splashing them internationally, and attaching my name to them. She has ruined my life."


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16 comments
cobaltblu
cobaltblu

It's hard to visualize either of them as victims.. You send self porno pics and vids, then you go worldwide proclaiming your privacy was violated?  


Don't transmit anything you don't want the whole world to see.

DavidDennis
DavidDennis

You know, we have a pretty low bar for saying something ruined a life.  The guy's job was in danger but he didn't lose it, and apparently won't.  As far as I can tell from the article, the girl didn't lose anything but her pride.  Generally, being famous for any reason today opens doors that can be quite lucrative for either or both alleged victims.

I'd rather have the phrase "ruined my life" restricted to something like "I lost my arm in a car bomb explosion" or "I lost my job because of this and now nobody will hire me, ever".   A lot of people are way worse off than these folks ...

D


Mark Simpson
Mark Simpson

"Honestly, he's guilty," she says. "I just need stronger laws on the books to prove it." Does this woman even know what 'guilty' means? Sure, it sucks for her that .0001% of the male population *might* see a picture of her naked in the sea of pornography, probably someone thousands of miles away who will never meet her, but "hundreds" of naked pictures (and videos!) of her were put online. Hundreds! Why do you have hundreds of naked pictures of yourself on your computer? "Jacobs then approached Miami-Dade detectives. But they declined to investigate her complaint because she had originally agreed to take the photos."

Daniella Vaclavik
Daniella Vaclavik

Wait so HE is the victim?! WTF?!? Did she sign a release allowing him to post that personal video?

Christian Wells
Christian Wells

What's the moral of the story, kids?? That's right- don't let people take naked photo/videos of you.

Sha Almont
Sha Almont

Sounds like bedroom trust issues... any goddamned adult should know damn well that if they share nude pictures there is a very high chance they might end up in the wrong persons eyes, via net, friends, phone... its 2013... come ON now..........

Ryan_Seay
Ryan_Seay

@cobaltblu Valid point -- the pictures existing are no one's fault besides Ms. Jacobs and myself. While I can't speak for Ms. Jacobs, I acknowledge it on my behalf at the very least.

My issue lies with Ms. Jacobs's malicious international media crusade without a shred of evidence and how certain members of the government and media didn't do their due diligence in researching the matter. In my eyes, our respective picture issue/matter is a civil issue tantamount to intellectual property issues; an issue that Ms. Jacobs and I should be paying to litigate and not taxpayers.

Ryan_Seay
Ryan_Seay

It's hard to lose your job when you're also the small business owner. If I lose my job, it's because the company went under or my presence became a hinderence and I was forced to fire myself. Regardless, one's life and how he or she values it is a matter of personal perspective and is completely dependent on the person's values of importance. For someone who's spent more than half of his or her life pouring everything into his or her work, you can't empathize with the damage unless you share a similar set of importance values.

josplay4
josplay4

@Mark Simpson yea when I read that part, I immediately knew that woman is full of shit.

jgcamp99
jgcamp99

@Daniella VaclavikThat's the whole point here Daniella, she can't prove he posted or did anything beyond perhaps even be present when the images & videos were taken ? Just as I understand libel & slander from this news piece, he's the victim of libel and slander here, simply because there is no case to go to trial with and her non-profit has been spearheading the effort to expose him as what it is that can't be proven. These accusations of her's has adversely effected his reputation most importantly and secondarily his earnings/income. She 's in her own world of denial at this point of what reality is:

"But she does have some barbed words for the man she still believes ruined her life with revenge porn: "If he just said, 'I didn't do it,' people would still blame him. But if he says, 'I'm a victim too,' then people start to wonder.""

She's wrong about her words, nobody really knows what happened or didn't happen Reality is, he's a victim with this as it stands, she still isn't backing off an inch with her stance. I can understand that she feels that he is 100% guilty, but the mere fact she can't prove any of it, motive or otherwise, she's going to have to cease and desist. I can only imagine any express or implied affiliation between Seay and the non-profit as being named specifically as an example of the abuse/crime has to be removed at this point, otherwise it's a continuation of the libel & slander he's faced ? See the system works for innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt here. Her non-profit has a very noble cause, but if it is relying solely on his guilt as the reason for being founded, it is an empty non-profit cause based on the reality that the legal& judicial community has not brought this to trial, even that they dropped any charges.

Ryan_Seay
Ryan_Seay

@josplay4 They're definitely not the words of someone grounded in reality. Also, based on her statement, I'm not quite sure she understands how laws work.

Ryan_Seay
Ryan_Seay

I couldn't have said it better myself -- well done.

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