Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining the fight against so-called “revenge porn.”
The Governor’s Office announced Monday that Jindal is backing state legislation this session that would make it a crime to share sexually explicit photos of someone without permission.
“The number of individuals who have been victimized by this very personal form of abuse, often online, is inexcusable, and this nonconsensual distribution of private images must be stopped,” Jindal said in a statement. “We look forward to working with legislators to ensure that this violation of personal privacy is not tolerated in Louisiana.”
Currently, it’s against Louisiana law to take explicit photos or videos of someone without consent, but it’s legal, under state law, to spread private images and video that have been illegally obtained or those that were intended to remain confidential.
House Bill 489, as authored by state Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, would make it illegal to distribute — without permission and to cause emotional distress — explicit images of someone older than 17, even if that person originally agreed to be photographed.
The offense would be punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to two years in prison, and the legislation would not apply to people who are voluntarily exposed in public or law enforcement investigations.
“The nonconsensual distribution of private images is a violation of personal privacy and is a severe form of bullying that can be extremely damaging to its victims,” Stokes said in a statement. “This proposed law will help ensure that perpetrators are being held accountable for their actions and also send the message that this type of behavior is not tolerated in Louisiana.”
The legislative session begins next week and ends June 11.
Efforts to criminalize “revenge porn” have steadily gained steam in state legislatures across the country in the past two years. With cellphone photo technology, the push has come amid several high-profile cases of websites that have allowed scorned former lovers to post nude and otherwise explicit photos of their exes online — often along with identifying information and other details.
Free speech advocates have occasionally opposed the legislation, arguing that it could have a chilling effect or other unintended consequences.