2014 was the year that Hollywood and celebrities learned that digital technology and social media, while quite powerful when used to promote their agendas, can be their worst enemy when turned against them.
It started this summer when hackers got a hold of tons of celebrities' R-rated photos, and the collection of NSFW pics were posted online in the biggest invasion of celebrity privacy Hollywood had ever seen.
On Aug. 31, 2014, a series of photos hit the web that featured stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton in various states of undress. Photos of Jessica Brown Findlay, Jill Scott and McKayla Maroney were also posted, and the Maroney pictures took things to a new level as the Olympic gymnast said she was underage when they were taken.
The situation was so serious that FBI investigated the leak.
Indeed Hollywood kept the FBI quite busy in 2014. In December, Sony was hacked big time and tons of private company emails were leaked—revealing what Sony execs really thought about the celebs they spend so much time working with.
Producer Scott Rudin and Sony exec Amy Pascal exchanged a series of emails in which Angelina Jolie was called a “minimally talented spoiled brat” and President Obama was mocked with an exchange of racially-tinged quips.
But that proved to be just the tip of the iceberg, as the hackers went whole hog after the anti-North Korea comedy "The Interview," threatening 9/11-style attacks on theaters should Sony screen it. The studio backed down, the movie was not shown in theaters, and the US government linked the hackers to North Korea. Everyone from George Clooney to President Obama criticized Sony for capitulating to the hackers, the latest black eye for Hollywood's latest punching bag.
Still, no single celeb had a worse year than Bill Cosby, who saw his legacy and life’s work come into question when dozens of women began accusing him of sexual assault. So where does tech come in? The Cosby controversy started soon after the comedian shared a photo on Twitter asking his fans to make memes of him, and the digital request backfired big time. Many of the memes mocked the star for the then-forgotten rape accusations, prompting more and more women to speak out against the once beloved actor.
That's one bad Twitter campaign.
There were many other shocking celebrity scandals this year, but if the stars learned anything in 2014, it’s likely they made a note to keep their emails private, stay off of Twitter, and perhaps invest in a Polaroid camera.