Could Rob Kardashian Go To Jail For Blac Chyna Revenge Porn?

  • August 14, 2017

In July 2017, reality TV star Rob Kardashian went on Instagram and Twitter and accused his former fiancee, Blac Chyna, of cheating on him. In addition to the public accusation of infidelity, Kardashian also posted intimate pictures of Chyna’s breasts, backside, and genitals.

Kardashian’s outburst shocked social media. The backlash was immediate, and Kardashian was universally condemned for his actions. Several readers also pointed out that Kardashian’s actions could be construed as revenge porn, which is a crime in the State of California.

Per California Penal Code 647(j)(4), it is illegal for an angry spouse or lover to post intimate images of their partner’s body without their consent and with the intent to cause emotional distress. If convicted, someone guilty of revenge porn faces up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1000. So, the question is, will Rob Kardashian go to jail for posting pictures of his ex-girlfriend?

In order to convict him of revenge porn, the state must establish that Kardashian:

  1. Took intimate pictures or videos of Chyna and that they both understood that these images were to remain private;
  2. Distributed the images in such a way that Chyna was identifiable;
  3. Did so to cause serious emotional distress to Chyna; and
  4. Chyna did, in fact, suffer serious emotional distress.

In Kardashian’s case, several of these elements may give the prosecutor trouble.

To begin with, because this is a crime, the state must present evidence that establishes all of the above elements beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high burden of proof. The evidence offered by the state must prove that there is no logical explanation or conclusion other than Kardashian committed the crime.

Next, the crime of revenge porn requires that the defendant intended to cause the victim serious emotional distress by distributing intimate images. Because of the burden of proof, intent can be a tricky thing to establish in a criminal case. If Kardashian can show that he was angry and upset over Chyna’s alleged indiscretion when he posted the images, but that he did not intend to emotionally harm Chyna by doing so, he cannot be proven guilty.

Additionally, even if the intent is established, the victim must have actually suffered serious emotional distress because of the defendant’s actions for guilt to be established. If there’s no serious emotional distress, there’s no crime. In this case, there may be evidence that shows that Chyna “liked” the images of her on Kardashian’s Instagram page. The page was later taken down because it violated Instagram’s  community guidelines. However, if Chyna did like the images, then it will become difficult for the state to show that she suffered severe emotional damage due to Kardashian’s actions. After all, how much emotional damage could she have suffered if she signaled approval that Kardashian had posted intimate pictures of her?

Which brings us to a final point: in order for revenge porn to occur, intimate images must be made public without the victim’s consent. It can be argued that when Chyna hit the “like” button on Kardashian’s posts, she was approving Kardashian’s actions. There is not a great deal of difference between approval and consent, especially in the minds of jurors. All it takes for Kardashian to walk is a single reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind regarding any element of the crime. So, will Rob Kardashian go to jail for posting pictures of Blac Chyna? We’ll have to wait and see.

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