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Whiz Kid Scores With The Naked And The Web

Sun., March 8, 1998

Kathie Lee Gifford, prim and proper daytime TV diva, sprawls outdoors on a plaid blanket, her unclad fanny pointed to the heavens.

Courteney Cox of “Friends” fame bares it all on the David Letterman set. Barbara “I Dream of Jeannie” Eden seems to have misplaced her silky harem pants.

Welcome to Scott’s Fake Nude Celebrity Gallery, where reality blurs with fantasy, but no one seems to care.

Except the actual stars, that is.

This popular Internet site features hundreds of photographs of starlets whose fetching, familiar faces have been diabolically merged onto a variety of naked body doubles.

I know what you’re thinking: What sick, jaded mind would be involved in such weirdness?

Meet Scott Santens, former University High School valedictorian and 1995 Elks National Foundation most valuable student.

The 20-year-old Spokane Valley resident’s story is a twisted version of the American dream.

Santens was two years into becoming a physicist when the math and science whiz dropped out of college and opened his gallery of fake nudes with $500.

He now makes that sum in a couple of days.

Santens doesn’t charge people to look at his collection. He makes his money by getting a $10 cut off every $17 viewers pay an age verification service linked to his site.

“People don’t realize the Internet’s power,” says the tall, handsome kid, who looks nothing at all like the myopic stereotype of a computer nerd. “Any business you start is automatically international.”

His gallery scores a brain-numbing 30,000 hits a day. Cyber surfers, looking for titillation, come to gaze at retouched photos of their favorite actresses engaged in everything from artful naughty poses to smarmy sex acts.

Santens doesn’t create the seamlessly morphed photos, which are accomplished through easy-to-use software. He just gathers all the fake nude shots that are already posted at various Internet sites. Sometimes photos are e-mailed to his web site by admirers of his gallery.

Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Helen Hunt, Brooke Shields, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts. … Even fresh-faced Melissa Joan Hart, who plays Sabrina the Teenage Witch, has not been spared faux nude indignity.

Santens is a nonjudgmental curator. If a photo is out there, he’ll use it.

“When I started this, I thought only the biggest stars would be the ones people wanted to see,” he says. “What I found was that no matter who the star is, there’s always someone interested.”

He’s even had requests for fake naked pictures of Patricia Richardson, the wife on “Home Improvement.”

We truly have entered a Brave Nude World.

Santens stumbled onto this unusual road to riches in college. Part of his course work included creating a themed web site. His roommate chose “Star Wars.” Santens picked his dream love, Courteney Cox.

Building his page, Santens discovered a few fake Courteney nudes lurking in cyberspace. He added them to his site and was stunned by how many people logged on for a peek.

That got him thinking. What would happen if he expanded to a full-blown fake nude gallery?

Big money was the answer, but not everyone is smiling. A growing number of actors and actresses are spitting mad over what they claim is a perverse misuse of their images. Some are talking lawsuits.

Santens is nonplussed. “For stars to get upset is ridiculous,” he says, adding he believes what he is doing is protected by the First Amendment. “This is like the highest form of flattery.”

That’s one way of looking at it.

But you have to wonder: Is this kid a budding genius giving the public what it wants? Or is he just a budding Larry Flynt?

“I don’t consider myself a pornographer,” says the former most valuable student. “But I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who do.”

, DataTimes


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