The Harry Potter star continues her feminism campaign with a live Facebook Q&A in London.

By Phil Boucher
Updated March 08, 2015 04:00 PM

Actors are often criticized for taking on political causes.

But Emma Watson revealed that putting your head above the parapet comes with considerable risk.

Speaking on a live Facebook Q&A to publicize the HeForShe equality campaign and International Women’s Day in London, Watson said that a speech she gave on feminism at the United Nations United Nations in September caused an immediate backlash.

“There was a website set up that was threatening to release naked images of me, with like a countdown and whatever else,” Watson said.

“I knew it was a hoax. I knew the pictures didn t exist.”

Watson was referring the the website that threatened to release nude images of the actress following her appearance at the UN. The website turned out to be a bizarre prank set up by Rantic, a “social marketing and PR” agency, according to its website.

“A lot of people close to me knew gender equality was an issue but didn’t think it was that urgent. You know, ‘We live in Great Britain – this is a thing of the past. We re fine. We re good. We have got far enough.’ ”

“When they saw that the minute I stepped up and talked about women’s rights I was immediately threatened,” she continued. “I mean within less than 12 hours I was receiving threats.”

“I think they were really shocked and one of my brothers in particular was very upset.”

As the driving force behind the HeForShe campaign Watson is trying to galvanize as many men as possible to become advocates for gender equality. The idea is simply that in order for gender inequality to disappear, the input of men is needed just as urgently as that of women.

To date the campaign has drawn commitments from 240,000 men – but Watson is hoping to attract a bunch more by explaining that even small gestures can have a big impact.

“I actually took a man out for dinner and I chose the restaurant and I offered to pay,” Watson revealed. “It was really awkward and uncomfortable – I m just going to say that. It was not going down well!”

“He was just like ‘I’m not really sure about this.’ It was making him a bit tetchy. But the cool thing about it was we were both willing to have the conversation about why it was awkward and why it was uncomfortable. We were able to have the dialogue ‘It s OK. I chose the restaurant as it is my favorite restaurant and I would love to pay. But next time you chose the restaurant and you pay.’ ”

Watson also discussed how her mother had an influence on her during her teenage years, where she was coping with global superstardom along with normal teenage issues of just trying to fit in.

“She was a single working mother and is also a Type 1 diabetic. So seeing her strength and resilience growing up was really inspiring,” Watson revealed.

“I think she instilled in me – particularly in my teenage years when I was feeling insecure and confused about what my purpose was – she really instilled in me that what I was thinking and what I was doing and what I was saying were ultimately infinitely more important than my physical appearance.”

Even when the world was really telling me the contrary,” Watson continued. “She really encouraged me to be an individual. I remember her being thrilled when I got my first detention because she was really worried that I was going to be a bit straight-laced.”

“My mum. She’s awesome.”