The EU’s Digital Commissioner-Designate Günther Oettinger will not back off or apologize for describing celebrities as “dumb” for taking intimate pictures and storing them online amid a growing scandal involving the leak of racy photos.
Oettinger, who will take up the post of the EU’s digital economy and society commissioner in November, made the statement during a meeting in Brussels on Monday.
“If someone is dumb enough as a celebrity to take a nude photo of themselves and put it online, they surely can’t expect us to protect them,” he said.
He added: “I mean, stupidity is something you can not – or only partly – save people from.”
Oettinger was referring to the leak of intimate pictures featuring more than 80 female celebrities, including U.S. actress Jennifer Lawrence and singer Rihanna.
Asked by the BBC if he was planning to apologize about his comment, Oettinger’s spokeswoman replied “no” on Wednesday.
One Member of the European Parliament, Julia Reda, lambasted the commissioner saying: “He placed the moral blame for that crime squarely on the victims rather than the perpetrators.”
The German daily Der Spiegel said the comments demonstrated that Oettinger had “no clue about current events and issues at the core of his new resort.”
Meanwhile, Oettinger he said Monday that an EU draft regulation on data protection has been tabled, calling for consultations as soon as possible on the measure.
“Today, and over the next few years, I will make an effort to prove that a European solution is better, faster and more cost-effective in all areas,” he said.