Tony Ortega and the Backpage: In His Own Words

Backpage exists solely so that people can freely express themselves—sometimes in ways that make other people uncomfortable. We’re First Amendment extremists that way. Always have been.”  

So begins one of Tony Ortega’s many ardent defenses for his sex peddling bosses at the Backpage. “First Amendment extremist”, what is that phrase even meant to convey if not a brotherhood of narrow-minded, radicalism he shares with his fellow ‘extremists’ everywhere.

Tony goes on in his defense of the indefensible to say:

Underage prostitution is a persistent problem in this country, but as we established in last week’s cover story, it exists at a level that is nothing like what is being trumpeted by Amber Lyon on the behalf of activists who want to put us out of business.”

This quote is a gem unto itself. Firstly, let us make immediately clear to Tony (who seems unaware of the fact himself) that there is no such thing as an “underage prostitute”.  Minors under the age of eighteen are trafficking victims, as defined under the law.  There is no such category in this country as ‘child prostitute’. You’d think someone working so intimately with the Backpage trafficking syndicate would know as much by this point. Perhaps in the pages of the shamelessly tawdry Village Voice under Tony Ortega ‘child prostitute’ became his more preferred term of art.

The quote above ends with signature “Ortega the impotent bully” bravado. He calls out (by name) his loudest critic during those early days, Amber Lyon, in a ham handed attempt to intimidate her away from uncovering the truth.

Spoiler alert for Tony Ortega: Amber Lyon is no more intimidated by Ortega’s fake tough guy act than we are. And we’ll be here to expose Ortega’s game, just like she did.

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