Bowing to pressure from state attorneys general, Craigslist pulled the plug on its Erotic Services listings. But Craig Newmark & Co. aren’t exiting the XXX category altogether; they’ve simply changed the name to Adult Services and decided to turn a nice profit from all the “legal” businesses who post there. So everyone is happy, right? Not quite.
In the aftermath of the Craigslist Killer, the AGs of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Missouri all pressured the site to yank its Erotic Services category. And while they might be content with Craigslist’s changes, South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster, who was also on that bandwagon, isn’t yet satisfied.
He’s still leaving open the possibility of prosecuting the site for aiding and abetting prostitution, a threat he attached to a May 15 deadline if the site doesn’t remove all such listings. (The location of Mr. McMaster’s attention on prosecuting the men who actually frequent these services, however, remains a mystery.) Civil liberties groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation counter Craigslist maintains zero liability. And you don’t have to throw a stone far to find an experienced attorney who says McMaster has no criminal case.
Which might explain why Craigslist is still serving up thinly veiled prostitution ads, like this easily accessible one from a “Bottomless Top Model” gal looking for “some generous new friends,” or this “Generous white guy” who’s “lookin for 18-23 white/latino dudes slender, cut, sane.”
And why Craigslist is still home to folks like 41-year-old Arthur Ramos, who goes by the female handle Helen Bedd (“Hell In Bed”) and offers “man rubs” for just $200 hour. Mr. Ramos was arrested by police and “told officers that he was a prostitute, that prostitution was the world’s oldest profession and that he did not understand why the officers were making a big deal out of it. Ramos also told police he had a prostitution business in Miami.”
Bless Craig Newmark, serving only the sharpest of customers.