Former Coronation Street star Melissa Johns has hit out at the people or person who leaked intimate pictures of her having sex with her boyfriend online.
The actress, who played lesbian Imogen Pascoe in the ITV soap last year, told Mirror Online that she found it “disrespectful” that her photos had been shared by hackers – but that she was trying to find the upside.
Melissa, who broke ground on Corrie by becoming the second actress with a disability to join the cast following Cherylee Houston, was born without half of her right arm, and has been vocal about helping women accept their own bodies.
“I’ve always felt that I have been given this body for a reason. Because someone, somewhere, knew that I had the strength to deal with it,” she told us.
“Ever since school, when I have been bullied or inappropriate comments have been made about my arm, I have learned to deal with things in a calm and positive way.”
She went on: “This was an intimate exchange that took place privately between myself and my boyfriend and it is completely unacceptable when people have their privacy disrespected in this way.
“However, as a vocal champion of women being totally at one with their bodies and not being ashamed of them, I am not about to turn around now and go back on my own principals.
“I am proud of my body. It is beautiful. And I am entitled to enjoy it and to have a personal and a romantic life just as all women – of all different body shapes and sizes – are entitled to do.”
Melissa continued: “Women get these types of photos leaked all the time, but what is more unusual is to see a woman with a disability depicted in this way. If any good has come out of this, it is to show that women with all different types of body shapes and sizes send photos, have sex lives, engage in intimate exchanges in the same way as everybody else.”
She added: “My body is unique, beautiful, and representative of what is still a very under-represented demographic of people in our society today. So if this goes some way to dismantling discrimination, and showing that disabled bodies can be beautiful and even sexual, then that is a positive thing.
“It will take a lot more than a few leaked photos to to stop me fighting for equality and the mainstream representation of women of all different shapes and sizes.”
Melissa has decided not to involve the police after finding the website displaying her nudes is based in the US, not the UK.
Melissa also shared a picture of herself jumping for joy on the beach, with two fingers defiantly flung up in the air.
She denied previous reports that she was “devastated” or going through “hell” as a result of the leaked nudes and said the pictures were “private, intimate and jokey” between herself and her partner.
It came two days after Melissa was in hospital for a colposcopy after a cervical screening found abnormal cells. She must now wait for the results of a biopsy to find out if she needs further treatment.