In another life, Brandon K. Thorp, 27, and Penn Bullock, 21, could have both been Jo-Vanni Roman, the Rentboy.com escort who massaged George Alan Rekers. They did, after all, meet on MySpace, and we all known MySpace profiles lead to public humiliation. But while the journalist pair, who are a real-life couple, may have a habit of oversharing to credit for their union, they aren’t exactly the most forthcoming about how they found out Rekers would be returning from Europe with his rentboy.
They insist Roman didn’t tip them off, so there’s that. Rather, they insist it was an “authorized user” of his email account, who was going through Roman’s email contacts and found Rekers’ name. Sorry, an “authorized user” of his email account? What does that even mean? Assistants to executives might be “authorized users” of their boss’ email accounts, but who is delving into an escort’s email? His pimp? Tip: Change your password, Jo-Vanni.
And while breaking a wholly worthwhile report, they also come across terribly naive, speaking to the South Florida Gay News, about what this whole “Internet thing” is about.
A gay blog site, Unzipped.net, was dissatisfied that the New Times feature refused to reveal the hooker’s true identity, identified by Thorp and Bullock only as ‘Lucien’ in their article. Using the Rentboy search engine, they used the physical characteristics described in their article to track down a photo of the young man, whose picture they then published, along with his Rentboy.com ad. “I guess I expected too much from the gay community,” said Thorp, who had hoped against hope to keep the center of the story from becoming the story. […] “I don’t think there is any question that from the beginning we wanted to keep Lucien’s identity private,” Thorp stated. “His life was no one’s business. He was not a national figure trying to screw up people’s lives. We wanted to bring down ‘one of the bad guys,’ a theocratic totalitarian, and expose him for who he really was.”
What a silly idea, that one-half of the story could be kept hidden.
The pair also don’t seem to realize the treacherous territory they’re entering by insisting, “There is nothing disgraceful about a young college student supplementing his income as a sex worker. Roman is engaged in an honorable profession, as much so as a politician. He is an innocent bystander.” Perhaps, but that’s a curious position for objective journalists to take. But who needs objectivity when you’ve got this “Internet thing”!