The name Tiziana Cantone might not mean much to anyone in the United States, but in Italy, the 31-year-old was an internet sensation. According to the BBC, more than a million people watched a sex tape she recorded with a male partner, which she sent to her ex-boyfriend and three others, who then posted it online.
The phrase “Mi stai facendo il video? Bravo,” or, “You’re recording? Good” — which she said just after turning on the camera — was emblazoned on popular T-shirts and phone cases. Her social-media profiles were targeted. People recognized her in the streets.
Things got so bad that Cantone quit her job and moved to Tuscany. She was in the process of changing her name, but on Tuesday she committed suicide in her aunt’s home in Mugnano, near Naples.
Before she died, Cantone had taken the case to court, where a judge ruled in her favor; she won the “right to be forgotten,” and the video was removed from Facebook and from other public sites. But as the Washington Post points out, the video had already infiltrated the web and was still available for download.
What’s more, Cantone was ordered to pay 20,000 euros (about $22,475) in legal fees, which several Italian news outlets reportedly called the “final insult.” “She was suffering from everything she saw and heard and in particular from the outcome of the legal proceedings because she believed justice had not been done,” her mother told the BBC.
Teresa Petrosino, a friend of Cantone’s, told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that she was shocked by the public condemnation of a woman who had done nothing wrong. “I think that they should be ashamed,” she said. “All those who have filled the web with insults and meanwhile secretly watched the images.”