YouTube Sensation Goes After Ex in U.K. ‘Revenge Porn’ Case
LONDON — YouTube sensation Chrissy Chambers, who says an ex-boyfriend posted sexually explicit videos of her on about 35 user-generated adult tube sites without consent, has taken aim at the ex and seeks to make legal history in England as the first person to seek civil damages and criminal prosecution in a “revenge porn” case.
Chambers, one part of the pair who runs the YouTube channel BriaAndChrissy, claims she was intoxicated two years ago and had sex with the ex while he proceeded to film the proceedings, according to the Guardian. Chambers, who was 18 at the time, claims she doesn't recall the romp.
The videos were uploaded nearly two years ago and, unbeknownst to her, circulated while she began a relationship with her current partner, Bria Kam, with whom she has built a successful career on YouTube as one of the site’s most popular content providers.
BriaAndChrissy now has 360,000 subscribers and their videos have been viewed over 70 million times. The channel is self-described as a “singing duo/lesbian couple with original music, making videos that inspire. We use music, humor and acting to entertain, share and promote equality.”
The Guardian said it was through comments left on the YouTube channel that Chambers first became aware the videos allegedly made by her ex even existed.
Ann Olivarius, the London attorney representing Chambers, told the Guardian: “You have to be able to go after money damages in a civil context to be able to try to stop this problem.”
“Money is the currency of how we achieve justice, that’s the measurement,” said Olivarus, a name partner of the law firm McAllister Olivarius.
Olivarius said the porn videos that include Chambers have led to significant losses of YouTube subscribers — and consequently thousands of dollars of lost income — from her YouTube channel.
In April, U.K.'s "revenge porn" statute was introduced, making it illegal to distribute a private sexual explicit scene, whether a pic or video, of someone without their consent and with the intention of causing them distress.
In Chambers’ case, the porn videos were posted several years ago so the law wouldn’t apply. But Olivarius told the Guardian that another form of civil or criminal prosecution tactic, including applying Malicious Communications Act, might be employed.
“We will take this case as far as the law allows,” Olivarius said. “We know what has to get done, we know this is wrong, we know that society should not tolerate this, it’s not acceptable behaviour, but still they get away with it all the time.”
Chambers gave an official statement to the London Metropolitan police in April in the hope that criminal proceedings can be brought against her former partner, and she has posted a video on BriaAndChrissy to explain revenge porn as how it applies to her. Chambers' video, which advocated support of a Change.org campaign, is available here.
The Guardian said it made numerous attempts to contact Chambers’s ex-boyfriend for comment but received no response.
Attorney Marc Randazza of Randazza Legal Group in Las Vegas on Wednesday said that exacting for damages in a case such as Chambers’ is appropriate, but he’s not so sure of incarcerating individuals over acts of “revenge porn.” Randazza does not represent Chambers or the ex boyfriend.
“I could have respect for a claim that goes after someone in a civil action for something like this, but the criminal element of it troubles me,” Randazza told XBIZ. “That said, if you post involuntary porn, you're a complete scumbag.
“I would hope that any website that hosts that kind of content would take it down immediately — regardless of whether they can claim DMCA or Section 230 protection or not.”
But attorney Jef McAllister, an associate of Olivarius, who represents Chambers as counsel, said that she isn’t the copyright owner of the videos, “which were taken without her knowledge by her ex-boyfriend when she was inebriated.”
“Thus the usual rules under DMCA do not easily apply, but we hope to push the boundaries of the legislation to try to ensure that Chrissy can sue for copyright infringement,” McAllister told XBIZ.
He said that Chambers first learned that the videos were originally posted on RedTube, but that the content spread like wildfire online.
“She succeeded in having them taken down from RedTube once she found out about them, but that was years after they had been posted; meanwhile they spread to multiple other sites,” McAllister said. “By this time, the videos have been viewed tens of thousands of times.
“Under current law, she cannot have any comfort that these images will not pursue her for the rest of her life.”