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20 August 2015

BuzzFeed publishes creepshot pictures of “hot teachers“ secretly taken by students

A Buzzfeed article features photographs of "sexy" teachers covertly taken by students - apparently without their knowledge or consent.

By Media Mole

“22 Unsuspecting Strangers Covertly Photographed By Minors And Offered Up For You To Drool Over” is the latest fun listicle from BuzzFeed US. Well, kind of. It’s actually called “22 Really Hot Teachers That Will Have You Begging For Detention”, and is a list of pictures, mainly taken off Tumblr (one called “teachercrush” is the main source), that pupils have taken of their teachers.

There are a number of reasons why this piece is troubling readers, including your mole. First, would BuzzFeed do this if the teachers were women? No, clearly not. But someone’s okayed this because it’s men and that’s fine. But it’s not fine. Imagine someone surreptitiously taking photos of you at work and you end up on an international news site, being objectified. That’s pretty creepy, whatever your gender.

Plus these guys are teachers. They are not safe in their jobs if rumours of “one-on-one attention” with their students, as the piece captions one photo, are flying around. This mole is sure its friends who teach at Molehill High would feel hugely uncomfortable if there were a piece trending online making such insinuations about them.

Isn’t it a bit irresponsible of BuzzFeed to commandeer a handful of what are essentially creepshots for a slice of web traffic? It’s generally considered poor form for a media organisation to obtain covertly taken pictures of ordinary citizens then post them online with sexualised captions.

One of the teachers pictured certainly thinks so. Darren Deboer, who teaches at a high school in Indiana, tells the New Statesman:

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I was a bit taken back when I saw my picture. I wasn’t contacted, hadn’t given any consent. I’m sure they no idea who I was. I laughed at first. I found out when I was tagged on Facebook. I thought it was silly, obviously not well researched if I made it.

I went to a meeting, and in the course of three hours virtually everyone I’ve been in contact with knew about it! People in Florida, Indiana, Iowa, all over, were messaging me and texting me.

After seeing the power of social media, I reflected a bit on how crazy this got. What if it were negative? What if it were embarrassing? I wouldn’t have been able to stop it.

My wife got a kick out of it though! She told me not to get a big head and take out the garbage.

He adds:

In regards to colleagues, I’m sure I’ll hear about it. I work with great people who are respectful and loving. They know I have pretty thick skin and might make a joke, but it’ll be over in a week.

In regards to students, I don’t appreciate being viewed or talked about in that way. I would like to think I carry myself in a professional way. I respect students and they respect me back. BuzzFeed‘s article has definitely placed a lot of unwanted attention on me.

In a classroom of teenagers you have awkward and embarrassing things done and said all the time. You have to be a professional and move on.  I have great students and know this type of thing will blow over. 

In a different setting? Maybe things would be different.  It’s difficult to control the talk and gossip in a school setting. Between Twitter and Snapchat, there’s plenty of stuff going around anyway. All you can control sometimes is how you carry yourself and treat others. I know who I am and the kind of teacher I want to be.  Their article doesn’t change that.  

Were they irresponsible? Yes. Am I surprised they were? No. 



Your mole has contacted BuzzFeed to ask them about their photo policy and to defend this piece, but has yet to hear back from them.