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Candid photos of Toronto women turning up online in ‘creepshots’

Disclaimer: Some of the language used in this article may offend some readers.

TORONTO – Social media website Reddit is the centre of a controversy in Toronto, after photographs of women in the city have been turning up on a part of the site dubbed “CreepShots.”

A Toronto man with the screenname “CreeperComforts” has been posting candid photos of women on the streets of Toronto to a sub-forum called “CreepShots,” which is designed to showcase photos of attractive women in public.

A number of CreeperComforts submissions detail the type of photo found on the forum.

“Who likes a MILF in a skirt?” “Who likes slender athletic gingers?” “Found down town” and “I’d busk her fest” are the titles given to just a handful of his submissions.

The majority of photos discussed on Reddit are actually hosted on the image-sharing website “Imgur.com.”

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However, the discussion and publicity of the images happens on Reddit’s various “subreddits” – sub-forums designed for conversation on specific subjects.

CreeperComforts joined a conversation in one specific subreddit “subredditdrama,” defending the photos taken in CreepShots as totally legal.

“Yes, /r/CreepShots is full of perverts, some more disturbed than others, but we MODS do have some rules we try our best to enforce,” CreeperComforts wrote. “The biggest one is ‘Reasonable Expectation of Privacy’. No nudity unless it’s from a public place. Topless beaches seem to be the norm for those shots. Washrooms and the like, on the other hand, are off limits because everyone should expect some level of privacy when taking a dump.”

Privacy, he writes, is of the upmost concern for the moderators of “creepshots.”

“A few people posted pictures of their wives/girlfriends sleeping in bed or on the couch. Those were obviously a violation of privacy, so they were deleted,” he wrote.

The legality of the photos trumpeted by CreeperComforts is also echoed by Toronto Police who say that just taking a photo of a person is not enough to warrant criminal charges.

“If someone takes a photograph of a person in a public forum, it’s not illegal,” Toronto Police Constable Tony Vella said. “If you take a photograph of someone, it’s not an issue.”

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Vella confirmed that police would investigate any complaints about such photos.

Taking a photo for sexual purposes is a crime Vella said, but maintained the presence of these “CreepShots” photos on the internet is not enough to prove the intent of the photographer.

“A photograph alone is not enough,” said Vella. “We need more. We need to speak to the person in the photograph. We need to speak to witnesses. We need context.”

The context and details of the photos were the centre of discussion on Reddit Wednesday morning.

As the acts of CreeperComforts hit the newsstands in the Toronto Sun, a discussion started among readers of the Toronto subreddit about the validity of so-called ‘creepshots.’ 

“I’m probably gonna [sic] get downvoted for this, but from what I’m seeing, these photos sound worse than they are. Calling them ‘creep shots’ had me assuming they were similar to upskirt photos, but really they’re just photos of fully clothed people out and about in public. Am I missing something?” a person with the screen name “kearneycation” wrote.

Another person, nicknamed “blackholesand,” wrote that the photos reduce women to the sum of their body parts.

“I’d like to know that when I leave the house I won’t have somebody creep on me- sometimes STALKING their ‘victims’ across campus or a block to take pictures of their ass/face/legs and post them to share with other guys,” Blackholesand wrote. “The tag lines are all ‘look at that fine ass’ ‘the legs on this one’ ‘what a pretty little face’ – which is not what I want to be reduced to when I’m going out for a jog or getting my groceries, going to work or whatever.”

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Hours after the controversy surrounding ‘creepshots’ was reported on, the subreddit became private and all the photos posted by CreeperComforts were removed. 

The rules of Reddit

Reddit is one of the Internet’s most viewed websites and plays hosts to discussions with important and famous individuals ranging from President Barack Obama, to journalist Nicholas Kristoff, to physicist Neil Degrasse Tyson.

However, it also hosts dozens of sections dedicated to arguably inappropriate material, from CreepShots to unabashed pornography.

The rules of the website don’t prohibit the x-rated material and in fact are quite lenient, allowing everything other than “child pornography or sexually suggestive content featuring minors.”

While the ‘rules of Reddit’ do not ban candid photos of unsuspecting women, the user agreement may.

The agreement which every user must – albeit maybe unknowingly – agree to in order to use the website, may prohibit material such as the photos on CreepShots.

“You further agree not to use any sexually suggestive language or to provide to or post on or through the Website any graphics, text, photographs, images, video, audio or other material that is sexually suggestive or appeals to a prurient interest,” reads the Reddit.com user agreement.

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As of publishing, Reddit.com had not responded to requests for an interview regarding this story.

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