On the 24th of June, renown Malaysian stand-up comedian, Harith Iskander posted this message and picture on his official Facebook Page :
Google Alert brought to my attention the fact that pictures of my son (and of me cradling my son) as well as numerous pictures of other children appear in a local pornographic site alongside graphic porn images. I say “local”, cause the text is in Bahasa Malaysia. It’s both disgusting and incredibly disturbing and needless to say I am in the process of contacting MCMC to find out what action can be taken. I am NOT naming the site here. If anyone has any experience in cases of this nature please let me know what’s the best way to handle this.
It immediately went viral on the Internet, with thousands of people sharing on Facebook alone. Needless to say, this quickly spiraled into Bizarreland with people and even the media claiming all sorts of things :
a) the pictures were of naked children (child pornography)
b) they were posted on a child porn website
c) this is (somehow) related to convicted sex offender Nur Fitri
d) pedophiles were masturbating to those pictures
e) his laptop must have been hacked, or he must have installed a malicious app (to his smartphone)
f) the photos were surreptitiously taken by a hidden pedophile
It was like that old tale about the grass snake that grew longer and bigger as the story was repeated by different people, until it became a man-eating python.
Needless to say, there was A TON of outrage, with some even claiming that they experienced the same thing, with “helpful advice” like lodging a report with the police and the MCMC.
I have to admit that I ALMOST shared his post with the same outrage. But right before I clicked on the Share button, I noticed that the two “porn photos” on the lower right (in the picture above) looked more like advertisements than actual porn pictures. That got me wondering if Harith might have mistaken them for porn, so I decided to investigate first.
No Pedophiles Were Involved
I quickly found out that my initial suspicion was wrong, and that his photos and those of his son and his wife were really posted in a porn website. But it was an ADULT porn website, not a child porn website, as alleged by some news media and blogs.
I also discovered that this porn website was automatically collecting random pictures (and their descriptions) from all over the Internet and reposting them to generate revenue. The more pages they create, the more likely people will find their way there and help generate money for the website owner(s).
Another quick search (try Googling “gambar anak harith iskander”) showed that his son’s photos were available from 80,600 pages. Yes, he’s THAT popular.
Since the photos of his son and even his wife are easily available from the hundreds of blogs and websites out there, the logical conclusion would be that the porn website just happened to collect those pictures in its trawl of the Internet’s most popular pictures. There is no need for the website owners to hack or stalk his Facebook or Instagram account to get those pictures, because they are readily available online.
If you search for other Malaysian celebrities on that adult porn website, you will find them too, but you won’t find their nude pictures or anything salacious. Just regular photos that this website collected from the various blogs and websites that cover these celebrities. Heck, a search of our Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak also turned up 8 hits on that website!
That is why we are very certain that Harith Iskander’s son is NOT being intentionally targeted by an evil pedophilic website / group. He just got caught in the trawl nets of this website.
What Can Harith Iskander Do?
We also did a WHOIS check of the website, and found out that the owner’s information was kept hidden. SOP for porn-related websites, we reckon. But since it was registered in the US through GoDaddy.com, they are out of reach of the PDRM or even the MCMC.
Harith’s best bet would be to write to the website and demand that they remove his personal photos, failing which he would report them to their domain registrar, GoDaddy, for illegally posting his personal photos. When it comes to photos of children, even fully clothed, they are unlikely to refuse.
But at the very least, he can rest assured that his son is NOT being targeted by pedophiles.