Tony Ortega the Golden Boy of Backpage Bosses

As we’ve been discussing the events that would start in motion the beginning of the end for Backpage, we thought it might be helpful to explore the landmark case that started it all — the lawsuit filed by a 14 yr sex trafficking victim who was brave enough to stand against bullies like Tony Ortega who were seeking to discount stories like hers as ‘breathless hysteria’.

It should be said that, true to form, of course Tony Ortega would call his enemies ’breathless hysterics’. As a merchant of false news prone to breathless hysteria himself, his false diagnosis of the situation revealed more about the inner workings of his own raging narcissism than anything else. When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

In her complaint, M.A. accused Village Voice directly of having knowledge that the explicit photos were 1) of a minor, and 2) for prostitution services. She explicitly pointed to Village Voice having this knowledge, saying the company aided and abetted her pimp in facilitating prostitution and child pornography.

Tony Ortega would try and argue that Backpage had a rigorous testing mechanism in place to detect such things. But, as so much that comes from the mouth of Tony Ortega, this too would quickly prove to be a lie.

M.A. went on to argue that Village Voice should not be granted immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act a law that has historically protected websites from being held liable for the content posted by users and about which we’ve previously reported to our readers.

The official complaint read:

“Defendant had a strong suspicion that the aforementioned crimes were being committed. Defendant had a desire that these posters accomplished their nefarious illegal prostitution activities so that the posters would return to the website and pay for more posting.”

No surprise that Tony Ortega’s self-serving attempts to spin the matter in his employer’s favor fell on deaf ears. He was way too late for that ruse to work. Backpage was already infamous for being a platform with an “anything goes” policy.

Indeed, it was no surprise at all to those of us reading the news of the case at the time to discover that minors were being advertised through the site. 

Just as it came as no surprise when the federal authorities, having examined mountains of damning evidence Backpage was unable to hide and Ortega was unable to spin, arrived at the conclusion that the whole criminal enterprise needed to be shut down immediately.

And it all began with a single voice willing to call out people in power for their crimes.

Our goal at the blog has always been to keep our readers informed in much the same spirit, even if Tony Ortega is hardly a ‘person in power’ by anyone’s definition. No surprise there, but Ortega was Backapage’s bosses golden boy.

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