The staff at the Village Voice, working under Tony Ortega, had a reputation in New York City for ruthless retaliation on people that poked their nose into its classifieds section, Backpage. Backpage is a human trafficking site cloaked under the First Amendment “Freedom of Speech”. Because of, “Freedom of the Press”, one can attach “classifieds” to the “press” and sell human beings in the classifieds section. Otherwise known as legal Human Trafficking.
When Amber Lyon, an American investigative journalist known for her work reporting human rights abuses, aired an expose called “Selling The Girl Next Door”, which exposed the going on at Backpage, then Editor In Chief of the Village Voice, Tony Ortega, unleashed a brutal retort of his own in retaliation. Gaslighting Lyon and attempting to discredit her findings and reports.
Below is the expose Lyon did and part two strips off the glamor and forays into Backpage.com, and unfolds into the trauma revealed by the women in part one. And how they got into the business as children. Also how they were sold on Backpage.
Tony Ortega retorted with the following tirade, where he describes Lyon as a dangerous person that “ambushed” Craig’s list (They closed their human trafficking section after they were made aware of how their website was being used for human trafficking). Ortega forayed into war and politics as the important issues and played Lyon off as hysterical for no reason.
“Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are receding fast from public consciousness. Our economy is gradually crawling back. Crime remains at record lows. A new presidential campaign is only in its earliest stages.
What’s there to panic about today?” Tony Ortega WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2011
“Seven years ago, the people I work for were smart enough to start Backpage.com, a competitor to Craigslist. While other newspapers were doing little more than publicly condemning Newmark (Note: Craig Newmark is an American Internet entrepreneur best known for being the founder of the San Francisco-based international website Craigslist.) for the way Craigslist has, for years, eaten into their classified-ads revenue, we decided to fight back. That’s just how we operate.” Tony Ortega WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2011
Ortega also accused Lyon of being a religious zealot and insisted the sexual slavery epidemic did not exist. In other words, Lyon was hallucinatory. This proved to be entirely false.
“At the end of her broadcast, Lyon’s sources are singled out for “special thanks.” The list includes several Atlanta-area foundations, deep in the Bible Belt, that have done as much as anyone to create the current panic about a nonexistent epidemic of sexual slavery.” Tony Ortega Wednesday, July 6, 2011
As Ashton Kusher came to the forefront with other celebrities to challenge Backpage, He was ruthlessly fair gamed on the front page of the Village Voice. And ripped to shreds on the inside by a gang of three writers, Martin Cizmar, Ellis E. Conklin and Kristen Hinman.
The retort was so brutal the writers were clearly wallowing in sadism. With none of the writers directly taking responsibility for any specific part the attack.
The “Editor” chimed in with an “Editor’s note” to include “feminists, religious zealots, and social-service bureaucrats” as part of the plague. And wailed that “First Amendment Rights” were being shut down “..in the name of children”. At the time Tony Ortega was the Editor in Chief.
God forbid the human rights of children should get in the way of human trafficking cloaked under First Amendment rights.
Congress hauled in Craigslist on September 15, 2010. There, feminists, religious zealots, the well-intentioned, law enforcement, and social-service bureaucrats pilloried the online classified business for peddling 100,000 to 300,000 underage prostitutes annually.
Those same numbers had already inspired terrified politicians, who let loose hundreds of millions of dollars in the past decade to prohibitionists bent on ending the world’s oldest profession.
The Craigslist beat-down was absurdist theater.
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security hearing on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking culminated with the humbled attorneys from Craigslist announcing that they would close down their adult classified business.
The First Amendment was shouted down in the name of children.
Village Voice Media watched with more than passing interest.
From its earliest days, the Village Voice has run adult classifieds. Today, those classifieds are hosted online at Backpage.com.
Having run off Craigslist, reformers, the devout, and the government-funded have turned their guns upon Village Voice Media.
Solicited by advocates, such websites as Huffington Post and The Daily Beast and others in the mainstream media raised the alarm that America’s children have been enslaved in prostitution, thanks to the Internet.
It is true that Village Voice Media has a stake in this discussion.
But the facts speak for themselves. “The Editor” June 29, 2011
These were just the very noisy street fights that spread out all over the Internet. The Village Voice is littered across the Internet with other retaliations the Village Voice was famous for, when it came to protecting and defending its bread and butter, Backpage.
So is it any wonder that a writer from the New York Times upon interviewing a Backpage Child Trafficking Victim in March of 2012, would discover the victim was more afraid of retaliation from the Village Voice than the Pimps she put behind bars? And one of them cut her face with a potato peeler.
Attorneys general from 48 states have written a joint letter to Village Voice Media, pleading with it to get out of the flesh trade. An online petition at Change.org has gathered 94,000 signatures asking Village Voice Media to stop taking prostitution advertising. Instead, the company has used The Village Voice to mock its critics. Alissa thought about using her real name for this article but decided not to for fear that Village Voice would retaliate. The New York Times.
For more information on the Village Voice’s Backpage human trafficking syndicate see: