Revenge of the Nerds (1984 Comedy) - What crime did Lewis commit with Betty?

Lewis steals Betty’s boyfriend Stan’s masked costume and has sex with her. She is surprised, but later admits that “she’s in love with a nerd.” Was this rape? Or was it retroactively consensual since apparently it caused her to fall in love with Lewis?

Also, the Nerds sold pies to great profit with pictures of naked girls (that the nerds surreptitiously took from the sorority) on the bottom of them. Would this be considered revenge porn? What crime would they be charged with today?

Was this considered controversial in it’s time? Did people picket the movie? I was too young to see it at release.

Lewis’s crime would be Sexual Assault, which includes sex where consent was gained by intentional deception. Selling the pictures would be Unlawful disclosure of images depicting states of nudity or specific sexual activities.

This obviously varies based on jurisdictions. And the movie was set in a fictional college in an unidentified state. I’m going with Arizona laws because that’s where the movie was filmed. And equally obviously the law changes over time. I’m using 2018 laws because I am not going to even attempt to find the 1984 Arizona Criminal Code online unless somebody is paying me.

I don’t recall any substantial protests over either scene back in 1984. They might have been thought of as mean tricks but I don’t think there was a widespread feeling that they were criminal acts.

I’ve never heard the term “retroactively consensual” before, but I have no doubt some priveleged asshole has used it in defense of a rape allegation.

As for the movie, based on a quick (and surprising) google search, it seems that rape by deception is actually not a prosecuteable crime in most U.S. jurisdictions. IMO, it should be.

Just to address a pet peeve of mine:

Pictures of naked women. Members of sororities are not children.

Well the thing is the movie portrayed the girl as loving the sex even though she was tricked into it. This is obviously ridiculous and screwed up but the term “retroactively consensual” is a fairly accurate description.

Would putting cameras in the sorority fall under some sort of “Peeping Tom” laws?

Odd I was thinking about this movie last night.
My church youth group went to see it, but I couldn’t go that night. I saw it years later. Not the most wholesome Christian club movie.

The 80s was a weird time. Post sexual revolution excess.

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”Retroactively consentual” is a meaingless term. Consent is offered or not at the time of an act; it cannot be applied retroactively, nor does granting prior consent obligate a subject to submit to criminal abuse if they wish to withdraw consent. A subject may decide not to press charges for a hypotherical crime or refuse to cooperate with the prosecution of a crime but that is not the same as offering consent.

Lewis committed false personation or criminal impersonation, a crime for the purpose of gaining pecuniary advantage, defraud someone, or otherwise compel or suborn someone into participating in a criminal act. In most states this is considered a “crime of moral turpitude”, and would be an aggravating factor in sexual assault. Because Lewis concealed his own identity and portayed someone else for the purpose of gaining Betty’s confidence, it could be argued that she could not consent. Even if Betty later felt it was not a violation of her person, the act itself of Lewis disguising himself as a person known to Betty to deceive her was itself a crime. That film in general is creepy as all fuck; essentially a Porky’s clone with faux-nerds.


Since some of those pics were taken in the common areas, I’d wonder if there is a reasonable expectation of privacy? (It’s still abhorrent behavior of course)

Here is a sort of real life example where a twin impersonated his brother to have sex with his brother’s girlfriend and apparently charges were filed but I don’t know what the outcome was, and he was a cop no less. :smack:

I don’t recall any protests over that or any other of those types of movies back then. And there were a lot of them, like Porky’s, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Last American Virgin and Hardbodies. People would have been protesting all the time.

I think that some jurisdictions have a crime on the books of “rape by deception” that would explicitly cover cases like this.

California changed the law in the 1980’s and this would be rape. In other states rape requires the use of force. There are states where without “force” a rape conviction is impossible but it really depends on Jurisdiction.

But ya after my mom had the “bird and the bees” talk with me and hammered in the idea of respect these movies bothered me a lot back then.

80’s RomCom’s are a survey of the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale

With a bit more understanding at this age those movies are pretty horrid.

In my mind due to the lack of any possible consent there is no question that it is rape no matter what the laws say.

I’m curious. Who administers this test to whom, and why?

The movie is called “Revenge” of the Nerds for a reason. Lewis is getting revenge on Betty for bullying him in a prior scene.

That said, I enjoyed this movie each time I have occasionally seen it. But, looking at it thru today’s lens, I can see there are a number of distasteful scenes which could be taken as criminal today. Like the aforementioned pie tins, and the installing of the video camera at the sorority (by the brainy kid, nonetheless).

I guess what was considered harmless fun in the 80s is now considered criminal, and probably rightly so.

This is the definition of rape culture, in which sexual predation on women is presented as fun and games and in which people who point out the predation are called buzz kills.

Yep, In retrospect and in disgust I remember my High school English teacher having us watch Doctor Zhivago in class. During the scene where Komarovsky rapes Lara and insults her calling her a slut, she actually stopped the video and said “Notice how she starts to enjoy it”.

When a good friend actually took the time to patently explain what “rape culture was” and when I got past my initial defensiveness this memory popped back in my mind as a very concrete example. I remember the explanation bothering me but had no context on why.

The Rachael and Deckard sexual assault scene can be viewed in a context where it enhances the fact that Deckard is a bad person (hired gun murdering escaped slaves) but really Ridley Scott saw it as an homage to old noir and sexy. The Empire Strikes Back with Harrison Ford’s forced kiss with Carrie Fisher is the same.

While people may bristle at the term “Rape Culture”, examples like Revenge of the Nerds clearly demonstrates that rape was and is normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality.

It’s been a long time since I’ve the movie but as I recall the nude pictures were taken inside their sorority house via hidden cameras. I can’t see how anyone could say that your own residence is not a place where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. It doesn’t even matter if you’re alone; being willing to be naked around other people of the same gender or around people you’re intimate with like a spouse is not the same as being willing to be naked in public.

On top of that, there’s the issue of taking pictures. Being willing to be seen naked is not the same as being willing to be photographed naked.

Then on top of that, there’s the issue of selling the pictures. Even people who willingly pose for nude photographs are entitled to withhold consent to have the pictures sold.

And putting aside the nudity, it’s generally illegal to put hidden cameras inside somebody’s residence and watch them without their knowledge, even when they’re fully clothed.

So the Lambda frat boys were probably breaking four different laws.

Molly Ringwald wrote a piece in the New Yorker revisiting her John Hughes movies. It’s worth a read.

Obligatory relevant Robot Chicken clip, link spoilered for potential content: