A court in Texas awarded a staggering $1.2 billion to a woman who was subjected to so-called “revenge porn” by an ex-boyfriend. The unnamed woman filed a suit against Marques Jamal Jackson after he posted intimate photos of her online, including pictures from a home security system. She claimed that Mr. Jackson created a website specifically to publish the shots “with the intent to embarrass, harass, torment, humiliate, and publicly shame her.” A Houston jury agreed and awarded her the eye-watering sum.
In March last year, Jackson effectively admitted the revenge plot against his ex-girlfriend in a text message when he told her that she would spend the rest of her life fruitlessly trying to remove the pictures from the internet and that everyone she met would know about them and be able to see her in intimate and vulnerable positions.
The victim’s lawyer said while he acknowledges the total amount is unlikely to be paid to his client, the size of the award sends an important message to society and restores her good name.
The couple began dating in 2016, and the plaintiff shared intimate photos with Mr. Jackson during their relationship, which ended in 2021. When the pair decided to part ways, Jackson posted the pictures on social media and adult websites. He also sent them to the victim’s friends and family.
The high award is not the first in US courts. A Californian woman was awarded $6.8 million in a similar case in 2018. Also, in that instance, attorneys stressed the importance of sending a strong message that revenge porn amounts to a severe violation deserving of punishment.
According to a report from the Data and Society Research Institute in 2016, one in twenty-five Americans has been subjected to revenge porn by an ex-partner. The report states that photos used in this kind of assault can be taken without consent and lifted from phones or other devices without the victim’s knowledge.