August, 28, 2015
By Mike Caccioppoli
When Loretta Lynch got her promotion by President Obama it left an opening at the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York. Lynch put Kelly Currie in the position at least temporarily. Robert Capers has been recommended to take over the position. Currie has had the job since this past April. Last month he was urged by many to take over the Eric Garner investigation. Garner, if you need reminding, was strangled to death on camera by a NYC cop on Staten Island., in what can only be called a snuff film. So far Currie has declined to investigate.
Instead of investigating the homicide of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white cop, Currie, decides to raid the offices of Rentboy.com. Rentboy is exactly what it sounds like…a site where men rent other men. The raid was not done by just some local NYC cops or detectives but I.C.E. and the Department of Homeland Security!
I.C.E stands for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They are the ones who investigate someone who is here illegally if a complaint is made. They are also the people at the borders. The Department of Homeland Security was created because of 9/11 by the Bush/Cheney administration. They of course deal with domestic and international terrorist cells.
So what does all this have to do with an escort website you ask? Good question. Rentboy actually is NOT an escort agency, which by the way there are thousands of around the country. They simply provide advertising space for people who wish to promote their escort/massage business or even personal training. I wouldn’t have enough time to list all of the hundreds of websites that do the exact same thing Rentboy.com does. Most of course are “straight” sites where women advertise for men. Rentboy is for men who are seeking men.
Rentboy has been around since 1997, so for 18 years. So with having been around for nearly two decades, and being quite open about what it provides and with the hundreds of other sites (mostly straight) that do exactly the same thing the question that has been burning in my head is..why Rentboy and why now? Now the most obvious non conspiratorial answer is that they were too big and too popular. But the law doesn’t say that if a website gets “too big and too popular” they shall be raided and the site seized by I.C.E and the Dept. of Homeland Security.Of course the conspiratorial part of me says there might be some names the government wants, maybe politicians that have used the website. And actually @BarackObama, the Twitter account that is used by his staffers and that he often tweets on, was listed as a follower of Rentboy.com on Twitter.
The raid of Rentboy.com is sort of a double punch to the gut to those of us who believe the militarization of the police force in this country has gone out of control. On one hand, the excessive force used against Eric Garner is not investigated by Mr. Currie while he uses extreme excess and precious resources in the raid of the Rentboy.com offices. The offices are on 14th st in NYC, the same city, and just a few subway stops away from where the attacks of 9/11 occurred. The only thing that could have made this ridiculous raid any worse would have been if an actual terrorist attack happened in the city while these DHS agents were carrying out those dangerous files and computers which contained the current listings on the site and I’m sure names and phone numbers off all of those dangerous men who were companions to some lonely and or horny people around the world. Yes those optics would have been wonderful.
I’m sure New Yorkers and most Americans are sleeping much easier now knowing these dangerous people can no longer meet. I’m sure we are all sleeping better knowing that the resources of DHS and I.C.E are being used for the purpose of not allowing men to have sex with other men. Because when an actual real terrorist cell develops and the resources are being used for this fucking stupidity and people are actually killed because of it, I would expect Mr. Currie and Ms. Lynch to take full responsibility.
This is what this country has become. But I would have expected this kind of a raid under the Bush administration not the Obama administration, yet Rentboy was thriving during the Bush years (until he ruined the economy) and nothing happened. No witch hunt by that administration. I wonder if President Obama is proud of this. In fact the raid could not have come at a worse time as the website had just begun their campaign to send sex workers to college. That’s right..give people a college education so when they hit that certain age where they can’t do that type of work anymore, or if they choose to do something else, they can. Such a terrible thing…call Homeland Security!
Now you might not have any sympathy for the owners of the site as they were indeed making good money. Of course we don’t seem to care about CEO’s who rake in billions after they rape us, but that’s for another post. However you should have sympathy for the guys who relied on this site to advertise their business and now they can no longer do that. So they can’t pay their rent or in some cases feed their families. Wonderful thing to have happen in an already struggling economy. This time “Thanks Obama” is not so humorous.
Are we living in 1815 or 2015? This raid brings to light another issue. Remember the complaint DOES NOT say anything about the owners of the site not paying taxes. The ENTIRE complaint is strung around sex workers and that act being illegal therefore Rentboy was operating illegally. So that’s it. There you have it. In 2015 the U.S. government is actually prosecuting sex workers and masseurs. That is what they are spending their money on. I swear I feel as though I’m living in an alternate universe. But I’m not, I’m living in the United States in 2015.
There is yet another problem. Why hasn’t the U.S. Government raided the thousands of actual escort agencies and the hundreds of straight escort websites? Why have they gone after a gay site? It’s troubling. If they really want this uniquely American war on sex work they have to raid every single agency and website otherwise I can only see this as cherry picking and blatant discrimination. So that is the gauntlet I’m throwing down. Raid all of them or drop the charges against Rentboy. Discrimination lawsuits need to be brought against Mr. Currie and Ms. Lynch if they do not choose the former.
Of course those of us who are enlightened enough (and I truly believe that is most people, even in the more conservative areas) to know that sex work should be legalized and taxed even BEFORE drugs are, as there is no victim here, we don’t want to see any more of these raids. Has terrorism been wiped out that we can use these divisions that are meant for that SOLE purpose to spend their time and money on websites like Rentboy? Seriously??
With regards to Mr. Currie I see a very troubling pattern. He will not investigate the murder of a black man but he will go after a gay owned and operated website. Seems like he belongs in a southern state not NYC. He needs to be removed from his position immediately. Bigotry should not be tolerated from someone in such a high office. We need fair prosecutors with the guts to go after the real injustices.
Another culprit in this case is NYC top cop Bill Bratton. Here is his inane comment about the raid…“As alleged, Rentboy.com profited from the promotion of prostitution despite their claim that their advertisements were not for sexual services. Thanks to the detectives, agents, and prosecutors of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District involved in this investigation, these individuals will be held accountable for running this racket,” A “racket”? Seriously Bill? I guess there aren’t enough actual gangsters to prosecute anymore. And while we are at inane comments, here is one from Mr. Currie….“As alleged, Rentboy.com attempted to present a veneer of legality, when in fact this internet brothel made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution.” “Internet brothel”? How about the actual brothels, like the ones in Nevada? Talk about cherry picking! I’m sure Mr. Currie or his friends have been to one of those at some point. In fact I’m sure some people in these departments I have mentioned had accounts on Rentboy or some other “Internet brothel”!
But wait there’s more. Mr. Currie went on to thank the DEA! for their help as well. I mean why did they leave out the Navy Seals? Here however is the comment of comments, by some guy who played with too many G.I. Joe dolls when he was a child…HSI Acting Special Agent in Charge Glenn Sorge stated, “The facilitation and promotion of prostitution offenses across state lines and international borders is a federal crime made even more egregious when it’s blatantly advertised by a global criminal enterprise,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Sorge of HSI New York. “HSI will use its unique authorities to disrupt and dismantle such organizations and seize the millions of dollars in illegal proceeds they generate.”
“Global criminal enterprise” ? Who the fuck is this guy kidding? I mean this stuff could be coming out of a bad super hero movie. Is this what New Yorkers want their money being spent on? It is what Americans want their tax dollars going towards? Especially when there is real terrorism and real bad guys out there?
But I’m sure we are all at peace now knowing that what goes on between two consenting adults behind closed doors is being “disrupted and dismantled” by people like Mr. Currie, Ms. Lynch, Mr Bratton and Mr. Sorge.
Ultimately though, President Obama has responsibility in this matter. He needs to make a call, a call that makes this national disgrace and nightmare go away.
He needs to do that now! What kind of a country are we living in for Christ’s sake?
A petition to end the prosecution is now up…