Mischa Barton opens up on revenge porn scandal: I felt a 'mixture of rage and fear'

Mischa Barton opens up about being a victim of a revenge porn crime.  (2016 Tony Barson)

Mischa Barton is opening up about what it's like to be a victim of a revenge porn crime.

Last March, the "O.C." star and her attorney, Lisa Bloom, held a press conference and revealed that she had been filmed by an ex-boyfriend during private moments without her knowledge or consent, and the footage was being shopped after their split. In a new interview with Broadly's "The Scarlet Letter Reports," the 32-year-old actress remembers feeling "afraid" when she learned what was going on.

"I was afraid. I was a lot of things. It was a mixture of emotions," she recalls while chatting with host Amanda Knox. "I'm sure a lot of women who go through anything similar, feel the same kind of mixture of rage and fear and uncertainty."

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"I think that's what most predators are banking on," she continues. "That you'll have that shame inside and that you won't fight back. And to be honest, your head is spinning and you don't know what to do. But at the end of the day, I was raised much stronger than that."

In court documents from 2017, Barton accused Jon Zacharias of secretly filming her in intimate moments -- including having sex and being naked in the shower -- without her consent while they were together. She claimed that after their split, he attempted to sell the footage. 

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Barton knew immediately that she would need to take the case to court, because if "he had done it before, he could do it again."

"And also I had no choice. He was now trying to sell it for money," Barton, who 

June 2017, says. "He put a half-million dollar price tag on it."

Of Zacharias' character and how she felt when she discovered he had secretly been taping her, Barton says, "I felt like he was safe. I didn't know forever until one of his friends came to me and said, 'You should be careful about him.'"

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"I'd already started to sense around this time that there was a problem," she adds. "And then he started bragging about it to the wrong people who came to me. But then there was still no specific proof and you'd just hope it would disappear. Finally, it broke in the press. I woke up one day to my friend downstairs and she was like, 'Wake up. You have to get up because this is all over the press. And apparently all these porn sites are looking to buy it.' And I was, as you can imagine, completely devastated."

Looking back on speaking out about being a victim for the first time, Barton says she was "of course" afraid to stand up for herself, especially because it was before the #MeToo and Time's Up movements began.

"It was extremely taboo," she says. "I had no idea what revenge porn was -- that was completely foreign to me... I think we're lucky to be living in a time now, finally, when we can bring the discussion of feminism back up and women's empowerment. There's strength in the discussion."

During her press conference last March, Barton said her "absolute worst fear was realized" when she learned that Zacharias had been secretly filming her without her knowledge.

"I came forward to fight this, not only for myself, but for all the women out there," she said at the time. "I want to protect them from the pain and humiliation that I have had to go through."

"No woman should have to go through this," she continued. "It is a very hard thing to do, but I am glad that I am finally standing up for myself."

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