LOS ANGELES — Actress Mischa Barton, best known for her role in the Fox television show “The O.C.,” recently took action to halt the potential sale of a sex video that, she says, was filmed secretly by an ex-boyfriend.
In a March 14 news conference, according to a report on NBC Miami's website, Barton and her attorney, Lisa Bloom, announced that the actress had obtained a restraining order against a former boyfriend, and that cease-and-desist letters were sent to those involved in the potential buying or selling of the images.
“There's a name for this disgusting conduct: revenge pornography. Revenge pornography is a form of sexual assault, and it is also a crime and a civil wrong in California. And we will not stand for it,” Bloom said in a statement.
According to the New York Daily News, Barton received temporary restraining orders against former boyfriend Jon Zacharias and another man in order to stop them from selling or sharing the images. Barton alleged that Zacharias, whom Barton started dating in October 2016, secretly recorded her during sex and in the shower without her knowledge or consent. Zacharias was reportedly attempting to sell the video online for $500,000.
“This is not your typical revenge porn cases of a jilted lover. Rather, this appears highly orchestrated via use of hidden cameras to record very intimate acts,” Matthew Dolman of Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida told the Florida Record.
Dolman explained that revenge-pornography cases typically involve images recorded consensually during a relationship that are later used to humiliate the individual as a means of revenge, rather than financial gain.
“What makes this very case so unique is not just the celebrity component, but rather the allegations that sexual acts were recorded by the assailant unbeknownst to Ms. Barton,” he said.
Dolman said that Bloom’s decision to pursue to the case from a domestic-abuse angle also makes Barton’s case unique. He said that revenge-pornography cases are normally pursued citing privacy violations and emotional trauma, and that Bloom’s approach is creative.
According to Dolman, revenge-pornography laws are still their infancy, and the laws struggle to keep with up with ever-changing technology like social media.
“It will be interesting to see how it plays out,” he said.
Bloom intends to pursue Barton’s case both criminally and civilly.
“I have a message for anyone who attempts to traffic in these photos or videos of Ms. Barton: We will find you, and we will come after you. We will fully prosecute you under ever-available civil and criminal law,” Bloom said in a recent statement.