It turns out the whole reason I called Hunter Moore in the first place was because of a lie -- or a "semi-lie," as he preferred to put it.
Earlier this week, the king of the now-defunct revenge-porn site "Is Anyone Up?" announced that he would be returning with a new site, HunterMoore.tv, featuring his tried-and-true formula of jilted lovers sending in naked photos of their exes, along with links to their social media profiles and Moore's unique brand of body-snarking. Only, in an interview with the New York Observer's Beta Beat, he claimed that he was also going to introduce a mapping feature "so you can stalk people." That inspired a flurry of media attention: Moore was back, and more villainous than ever! There was a barely concealed puritanical glee in even the disapproving chatter about this brave new world of punishment-porn, and a gruesome awe at just how far he was willing to take this Web-smut version of the "Saw" franchise.
But when I called Moore on Friday to talk about his new venture, he told me the joke was on us: He'd been "drunk and coked out" during that interview. He'll only reveal the addresses of people who personally wrong him, he said. (Not that he was in a rush to correct the public record or anything.) Well, phew -- except, in the past, Moore seems to have included in that category those who ask him to remove their photos from the site or threaten legal action.
I expected our phone call to be confrontational and unsettling. After all, I'd seen countless interviews with him in which he would respond to interviewers' incredulity at his lack of remorse with a simple laugh or shrug of the shoulders, and I was determined to break through. But what I found was a young dude who truly embodies the worst fears about my generation: That we're a bunch of personal-branding, social-media-obsessed, intimacy-averse, insecure narcissists. There was nothing shocking about his talk of "gross, green vaginas" or his admitted lack of morals -- at one point I actually caught myself yawning.
That isn't to say he isn't interesting -- he is, when he isn't trying to shock: Like when talking about why he doesn't have sex with his girlfriend of five years, why he thinks "all relationships hold people back in life" or how the only way to violate him would be to hurt his cat.
So, tell me about this new site.
Well, it’s actually gonna end up being completely different from the old site, but I don’t want to spring everything on people at once. People are used to a certain formula and that was the old IsAnyoneUp.com way. We’re gonna start out and give everybody the old content and my humor and the way I make fun of your gross, green vaginas and all that stuff, and then it's gonna slowly transform into what I always wanted Is Anyone Up? to be. It’s gonna be a lot of technology changes but the same humor and trolling.
Eventually you’re going to have address fields for submissions?
Yes and no. The interview that broke that, which I think was the New York Observer, honestly, I was so fucking drunk and really don’t remember doing the interview. It was kind of taken out of context of what I’m really doing. For one, I never want anyone to be physically hurt or stalked by any of the stuff I do on my site. And the last thing I want is to have some poor girl’s address on the Internet when she’s showing me her tits and then a bunch of guys going to her house. So I wasn’t going to do it like that, and that’s how [the article] made it seem, that the submission field would let you submit the address of someone you didn’t like. People that I troll personally, I’m gonna be taking it one step further and making you look like even more of an idiot. It’s going to be me doing it and when people troll me I’m just going to do it 10 times harder. It’s only going to be for certain cases, not for everybody. I don’t want people to kill each other.
You have some limits.
I dunno, honestly, if someone fucking got killed over my site I’d make a shit ton of money, I’m not gonna lie.
I’ve seen you say that before. How much of you saying that is just you trolling for a reaction?
It’d be half and half. I think it’s funny because of my critics, who I’m trolling 99.9 percent of the time, but then again it really depends on the situation. If some fucking idiot harassing some girl that got posted on my site and, you know, like, raped her or something and she goes and fucking kills him then, obviously, I would want him to die.
Why do you like trolling?
I don’t like it -- I mean, I do love it. I consider it an art form. It goes back to [grade] school, it’s human nature, we like to make fun of our peers and feel better about ourselves. The reactions are always amazing, it makes life even more fun.
Is there any point to your trolling?
My only point is that people need to stop pointing their fingers at everyone else in their lives since they’re the ones that made the mistake. Also, it goes back to why are these people putting so much information online? I don’t understand why these people are so naive to think that nobody would monetize it, and here I am.
What about the people who didn’t put it online and were just initially sharing it privately with someone?
I’m sorry, dude, it’s 2013. I don’t trust anybody and that’s me, but 90 percent of the time or more people are taking a picture of themselves and putting a finger in their ass and sending it to some cute boy they just met on the Internet. You’re out of your fucking mind if you think someone’s not going to monetize that. I don’t care if it’s your significant other, if you hurt that person then I have an outlet for them. That’s the thing, you’re going back to pointing the finger at me. It’s not me, these people are using my service, I just have a platform. Everyone wants to point the finger at me, but you took the picture, the person you trusted doesn’t like you anymore, they come to my site and I press the little green button.
The ironic thing about the site to me is that it’s encouraging people to not send their significant others sexy photos, which seems, I dunno, kind of prudish?
Oh, exactly. But the thing is we’re all human and it’ll never stop. Every day girls send me photos and go, “Hunter, can I trust you with these?” And I go, “Sure ... do you know who the fuck I am?” and I make money off it. It’ll never stop, people are just stupid, it’s just human nature and it’s funny.
Aren’t we all going to end up naked on the Internet eventually?
I hope so, I hope so. I created porn you can fuck with. That’s the best way to put it. If I wanna see somebody in my town or a city I’m visiting I can do a little background check and maybe have sex with them.
Right, but a lot of these people haven’t consented to having their photo out there.
Yeah, but I’m not liable for any of that content. I’m protected by the federal government and so is every other website. It’s user-submitted content. I’m protected federally. You’re basically signing a little waiver giving permission to everybody in the world once you take a picture with a digital device and send it to anybody. You’re stupid to think people wouldn’t share it. It was the first thing I did when I had my Sidekick and a girl sent [a naked picture] to me, I sent it to all my friends and said, “Hey, I’m hittin’ this!”
So you’re protected legally, but how about morally?
I don’t really give a fuck, at all. They’re just people on a screen, they’re just an avatar. I’m paying my bills. If we lived in a perfect world there wouldn’t be people like me or sites like mine, but we don’t. I’m going to take advantage of you being an idiot. I don’t have any moral toward it. There are certain situations -- obviously, if it’s a child or animal abuse or something extreme, I’ve always stood against. But if it’s just a normal girl that has normal tits, I don’t feel bad for you.
People need the shock value. That’s what I give, I give people what they wanted. I don’t know how familiar you are with the site, but we had the Daily Gnargoyle, which [started as] this semi-fat chick who wasn’t attractive and then it slowly morphed into fat fucking bleeding hemhroid lady with a yeast-infected vagina. That’s what people want.
Why has revenge porn become so popular -- whether it's your site or any number of "ex-girlfriend porn" portals?
Me personally, I think all the ex-girlfriend bullshit is fucking lame. I guess for my site and all these rip-off sites it’s just porn you can fuck with. You can actually contact these people. With normal porn, it’s just people on a screen fucking, I can’t contact them, they’re just objects to me. But the girl next door who went to the same club I went to last week or the girl from my college or whatever, I can actually see her and contact her or make fun of her tits. It’s on a whole ‘nother level. It’s just a lot more fun for our penises -- or vaginas, or whatever you have.
Judging from your Twitter feed, you don’t seem to have any trouble getting ladies. What do women like about you?
I dunno, I have numbers. It’s all about attention. I’m not the best-looking dude, I’m not the worst-looking dude. I do have confidence and I’m a fucking dickhead. I could have no personality, but I have numbers and that’s what girls are attracted to. It’s the same thing with rock stars or actors or whatever, except I’m on a whole ‘nother level. Not only are you fucking some kind-of famous dude from the Internet, but you’re also getting a ton of attention on all your social networks. You get more reblogs, your Twitter numbers go up, your Facebook likes go up. The bigger your numbers are, the more opportunities you get and people use that to launch whatever the fuck they’re trying to do. It all seems very attractive to your average whore, and I’m there for them.
Isn’t that kind of lonely? Don’t you want more than that?
I mean, I’ve been with someone for five years. I’m going to marry her. I have more than that now.
So you’re in a long-term relationship, but you’re not exclusive.
No. Well, we have an amazing relationship. She finds girls that she thinks are cute that I retweet and I’ll fly ‘em out and we’ll both have sex with them. It’s just an awesome relationship. It’s an emotional relationship, it’s not physical, so it’s not completely traditional.
How does that work?
Because sex is such a small part of a relationship but it’s something so big at the same time that can ruin a relationship. Having an open sexual relationship just makes it tighter. But we don’t actually have sex with each other if we’re having sex with other people. We haven’t had sex with each other in, like, three years.
I’ll see her naked while she’s fucking around with some girl we’re with and she’ll watch me fuck them but it’s just an emotional relationship, it’s not sexual, even though she’s the most beautiful girl in the world and I want to have sex with her all the time. We just have rules, boundaries. If we do ever get married we’ll probably knock this shit off. I dunno, we’ll figure it out.
I mean, all my girlfriends I’ve kind of been this way with. I do plan on settling down. I’m not going to be a weirdo forever. I’m not gonna be fucking posting some 18-year-old’s tits online for the rest of my life.
My girlfriend's a little bit younger than me and she’s in her party phase. I think all relationships hold people back in life. I’m going to take over the world and I want her to do the same thing, so if she wants to go party and do that I’m gonna make sure she gets those life experiences without me holding her back and keeping her at home and being all pissed off and just wanting her to watch movies because I don’t want guys to talk to her. We’re living life and it’s amazing.
She doesn’t get jealous?
Of course she does. We’re human beings and we love each other to death. If she’s gonna be with somebody I don’t want to know about it. She doesn’t follow me on any of my social networks. I don’t know what she’s doing sexually. I’m at her house like five, six days out of the week, so we’re always with each other.
You’ve said in the past that you had your heart broken in high school, and you attribute that to why you've ended up doing the things you're doing today.
The only way you get to be emotionally disconnected like I am, or a quote-unquote scumbag, you have to have your heart ripped out and shit on. I feel like everybody needs that experience and most people get it, some people more than others. I’ve had my heart broken many times. But obviously that goes back to how I cut people off now and protect myself.
What happened with that relationship that was so devastating?
I honestly don’t really know. I just know she hurt me really bad and I saw her Facebook two or three years ago and she’s hella fat and it made me feel hella good.
What about your friends -- are they scared of you?
This thing is I’m one of the nicest fucking people you’ll ever meet, and I know that sounds weird, me saying that, because everybody has some kind of idea about me, but like a lot of my friends didn’t realize what I do until a few months ago. All my friends, most of them are really scary, like gangster crazy from this shit-hole little town. That’s why I don’t get beat up.
Do you like being a villain?
It’s, like, comfortable for me, to be honest with you. I’ve always been a villain in some aspect of my life. I like being hated, I love the attention. But I’m also very loved at the same time. Every day I get hundreds if not thousands of tweets like “How is he ‘the most hated man on the Internet,’ he’s more like the most loved.” So, I dunno, I’m loved and I’m hated and it’s where I’m most comfortable.
Where do you draw your own personal boundaries? Clearly it isn't at photos of your own junk. What's a personal line someone could cross with you where you would feel seriously violated?
My friends and family are 10 times more scary than I am. My family, friends, girlfriend -- everybody can handle themselves. Honest, the only thing would be if someone hurt my fucking cat, I would literally kill someone. If people want to hack me, there’s nothing that’s not online. My dick’s online, I have my dick in girls’ asses online. My house, my telephone, everything is public.
So you don’t have any deep, dark private thing that would feel like a violation if it was exposed?
I don’t know what the fuck it would be. I act like I’m gay all the time. I’ve done interviews and told people I got my dick sucked for money to get my phone bill paid. My whole life, the shit people never want to talk about, I’ve talked about.
So that's true about getting your "dick sucked for money"? Because I never know when you’re being serious and when you’re just trying to get a reaction out of people.
It’s an art form. But, no, I’m very truthful in my interviews and stuff. You have to understand, I’m Hunter Moore, I don’t have to lie about shit. If I’m gonna talk about my site and semi-lie about my mapping thing, because I’m drunk and coked out of my mind, yeah, that’s kind of a lie but as far as trolling, this isn’t trolling.
What do your parents think about what you do?
My parents are proud of me. They’re staying with me because of the holidays and stuff and it’s my dad’s birthday so I’m taking him to Joe’s Crab Shack. We’re a normal family. My sister’s a fucking missionary, I went to a Christian school. My dad hunts and kills things for a living, he’s like the manliest man in the world. My mom’s the biggest sweetheart in the world. I’m their son and they’re gonna be proud of me whatever I do -- obviously not if I kill people or rape children or something, but I make a living, I pay their fucking bills, I pay my bills. It’s one big happy family.
How would your sister feel if she ended up naked on a similar site?
Well, for one, my sister’s a missionary, so there’s no fucking way that would happen. Actually, religious people are fucking weird, so maybe. My sister is 36 years old, dude. She should know better.
You went to a private Christian school growing up. Was your household super religious?
Not really, I was just brainwashed ‘till like sixth grade. Wait, I have a question: Why is your guys’ site called Salon.com but it has nothing to do with hair?
It’s “salon” in the sense of a French salon of philosophers and writers sitting around talking.
That’s fucking gay, I’m sorry. But you guys get a ton of traffic. Anyway, what were you gonna say?
Growing up in a religious household you said you were kind of brainwashed. I’m curious if that sort of brainwashing affects how you think about sex?
Um, no. Sex was such a devil’s thing I never really could think about it but I had a whole 'nother life outside of school. My dad owned a ranch in Northern California and there’s porn magazines in the outhouse. I’ve always been kind of desensitized. It’s not like I’ve been into weird shit and tie a belt around my neck and jack off or anything like that, it's just: Boobs are boobs.
I guess I ask because it seems like there’s this punishing, shaming side to your view of sex. Because "don’t take naked photos if you don’t want them to be posted on the Internet" is kind of similar to saying things like, “If you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex.”
I think you’re taking it completely wrong. I’m not like, “ha ha ha, you took a fucking naked picture, you dumb bitch.” I am, on the other hand, doing that if you attack me. But on the other hand, it’s literally, “now we know what you look like naked, I have a better sense of if I want to fuck you or not.” It’ s really just a database.
Are you happy?
Fuck yeah. This is just the beginning. My parties are awesome and I love my girlfriend and I have hella money. If I wasn’t pissing someone off every day and people weren’t trying to sue me, I couldn’t sleep at night.