Last week, the offices of Rentboy.com, the online escort advertising directory, were raided in New York by the Department of Homeland Security. Its staff of seven, from the CEO to the social media manager were arrested, some in their own homes. Their bank accounts were frozen. Their website was seized. A business that provided an advertising platform for thousands of escorts’ livelihoods was eliminated overnight. This was not only a violation of the free speech rights for site owner Jeffrey Hurant, but also for those men who advertised on the site.
Unfortunately, we in the adult industry have plenty of experience with these raids. From our inception as a legal business in the late 60s, adult film makers and workers have been surveilled, censored, raided and harassed by law enforcement units from vice squads to the FBI. In the past few years, adult performers, producers and service providers have protested as their bank accounts were shut down, their health records subpoenaed and their right-to-work violated by misguided moralists. No matter what the tactic, the goal is the same – push us into the shadows and silence our voices.
Our industry is diverse; many of us have different needs and concerns. Time after …read more