One of its victims, Mischa Barton, was the subject of revenge porn back in 2017. This is the story of Mischa Barton’s sex tape and the actress’s fight to keep it out of public circulation, and her inspiring statements in support of women who have experienced this pain.
Who Is Mischa Barton?
Mischa Barton was born in London on January 24, 1986. Her career began in 1994 when she was just 8 years old, appearing in Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner’s Slavs! In 1995, she appeared in another Tony Award-winning creator’s play, James Lapine’s Twelve Dreams, this time in the lead role.
Her breakout film role was in 1997’s Lawn Dogs, after which she’d go on to make appearances in big films such as Notting Hill and The Sixth Sense.
The role that would truly bring her fame, though, was her starring role as Marissa Cooper in seasons one through three of the teen drama series The O.C. This role would land her several Teen’s Choice Awards, and she was even crowned ‘It Girl’ of 2003 by Entertainment Weekly.
After The O.C., Mischa’s roles became more focused on independent work, with performances in movies like Assassination of a High School President and Starcrossed, for which she’s received critical acclaim.
What’s The Story About Mischa Barton’s Sex Tape?
In March 2017, a man approached Mischa on the street and told her that an ex of hers had been bragging about nude photos and sex videos that were in his possession.
In a Dr Phil appearance in April 2017, Mischa said, "I didn't believe it at first, I couldn't believe it, because I had loved this person."
At the time, she’d hoped that the whole thing would blow over. She had no evidence that the pictures or videos were even real.
However, later in the month, someone started shopping Mischa Barton’s sex tape around online porn sites, reportedly asking for $USD 500,000 ($AUD 720,000). When Mischa learned about this, she suspected that one of her exes, Jon Zacharias, was the one who made the video without her knowledge. Another ex, Adam Spaw, may also have acquired the footage.
The Legal Remedy
To stop the spread of the video, Mischa turned to Lisa Bloom, a civil rights attorney who’d made a name for herself representing high-profile women in sexual harassment cases. Bloom and her firm had previously landed several courtroom victories, such as the Bill O’Reilly case where she represented three women who had accused him of sexual harassment – a case that ultimately led to the cancellation of his talk show The O'Reilly Factor.
Lisa successfully pursued a restraining order in the Los Angeles Superior Court against Jon Zacharias and Adam Spaw. The two were ordered by the court to stay 100 yards away from Mischa Barton for at least five years, and to never to show or sell the sex tape porn video and nude photos to anyone.
In an interview with The View, Mischa said that she had been terrified to face the public regarding the whole scandal. “It’s not easy to do, you worry what people will think and ultimately the outcome is better this way around. It’s better when you can prevent these things. I don’t think a lot of people knew that you could prevent this stuff from coming out,” she said.
However, after they got the restraining order, she ultimately came out and held a press conference regarding the whole incident.
“No woman should have to go through this and I am beyond grateful to Lisa Bloom, the Bloom Firm and to all of my friends who have helped me through this horrific experience. It is a very hard thing to do but I am glad that I am finally standing up for myself,” Mischa said in her statement.
Public response to the victory was overwhelmingly positive. Replies to Lisa Bloom’s tweet were all congratulatory, and comments from around the Web saw it as a win for all the victims of revenge porn and abuse who might be worried about coming out.
Looking Back, One Year Later
In 2018 on Scarlet Letter Reports, Mischa spoke with Amanda Knox about the incident, saying “It's so important to have a network of women who stand up with each other, because if Lisa hadn't come along and I hadn't had those people around I don't know what I would have done.”
She added, “...I think we’re lucky to be living in a time now, finally, when we can bring the discussion of feminism back up and women’s empowerment.”
She also hopes that the #MeToo movement, which came after her own experience with the sex video, will help uplift women and encourage them to speak out against their aggressors.
Mischa Barton Today
Mischa Barton’s life is on the up-and-up today.
Just last year, she was cast in reality series The Hills: New Beginnings, a reboot-sequel of the popular 2006 series The Hills.
She’s also dating Australian millionaire heir and model James Abercrombie, who had been fully supportive of his girlfriend throughout the entire ordeal.