Tony Ortega: Backpage’s One Man Propaganda Campaign

The abundance of evidence pointing toward Backpage as a hotbed for criminality ranging from sexual child abuse to murder is at this point — now almost 3 years since federal authorities raided and shuttered the organization —beyond contradiction.

Tony Ortega

Not that you’d ever hear such an admission from Tony Ortega, who operated largely in secret at the behest of the highest echelons of Backpage boardroom executives to push the fraudulent idea that the corporation was doing all it could to keep its platform free from such crime.

The reality of the situation couldn’t have been further from the truth and we here at the blog have made it our mission to expose Tony Ortega for the part he played in trying to hush it all up, even as he shamed and publicly ridiculed those who were victimized by the Backpage business model of selling trafficked human sex-slaves, a great many of whom were underage children.

Take the story of Kylee Gregg for instance. At age 10 she was forced into trashy motels, truck stops, and strangers’ basements across rural Ohio.

She said she was enslaved for years and held hostage. By the time she was 14, Gregg had been raped hundreds of times. 

As Gregg told one online publication,

I was sold to different people to be raped and it was horrific and ugly. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me.”

At 10 years old, Gregg says she was forced into the horrors of sex trafficking — not by a nefarious criminal organization in a big city, but by a family in America’s heartland.

She went on to explain:

It doesnt start out immediately into the abuse — into the violence… They treated me like I was one of their kids. I loved them. I trusted everything they said and I just wanted to be accepted by them.”

This, of course, became the model Backpage exploited for its own gain. Seeing the amount of profits which could be generated by exploiting children and vulnerable young women this way, Backpage launched its own horrific campaign to do exactly that.

Tony Ortega — presumably chosen for his lack of moral character, unchecked greed, and obsessive desire for notoriety at any cost — was employed to oversee the propaganda side of the business.

His job was a two-fold task of misdirection.

Out of one side of his mouth, Ortega set about trying and placate the public through a series of editorials designed to propagate the lie that Backpage was capable of policing itself; out of the other side, he bullied and attacked victims and child advocacy campaigners alike in the hopes of browbeating anyone who opposed Backpage into fearful silence.

Ultimately, as with so much else in Ortega’s life, this was to end in failure.

But as we shall see over the course of our next few posts, the amount of harm Ortega sought to make possible came at a terrible price for children like Kylee Gregg who were made to suffer the most during Tony Ortega’s tenure as Backpage’s one-man propaganda campaign.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.