The FBI announced Monday (September 1) that it will be stepping in to investigate a massive leak of private celebrity photos, including snaps of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton.
The AP reports that the FBI is, “aware of the allegations concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high-profile individuals, and is addressing the matter,” the bureau said, and quotes spokeswoman Laura Eimiller as saying, “Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time.”
Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris also weighed in — as reports state that hackers stole the photos via iCloud — saying that the company is looking into the possible hack.
If caught, the person — or people — behind the stolen photos could face hefty prison time, if past cases are any precedent. In 2012, Christopher Chaney was sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly breaking into the personal online accounts of Scarlett Johansson and Christina Aguilera and leaking private photos to the Web, in addition to other offenses.
The photos were released Sunday via 4Chan, a user purporting them to be the property of Upton, Lawrence, Victoria Justice, actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ariana Grande and Kirsten Dunst, among other celebs.
Lawrence’s reps responded to the leak this past weekend, telling The Hollywood Reporter: “This is a flagrant violation of privacy… The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence.”
Perez Hilton previously posted the shots and then took them down, issuing an apology.
Upton’s lawyer Lawrence Shire also responded, saying in a statement: “This is obviously an outrageous violation of our client Kate Upton’s privacy… We intend to pursue anyone disseminating or duplicating these illegally obtained images to the fullest extent possible.”
The other women responded via social media, either denying the authenticity of the photos or citing their lack of privacy. Winstead, for one, pointed out that her leaked photos were meant for her husband — and were long since deleted — while Dunst ironically thanked iCloud. Grande and Justice, along with Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, called the photos fake.
Stay tuned to MTV News, as we’ll have more on this story as it breaks.