Where Truth Is Cheap, Lies Bring Big Profits

On the evening of Thursday May 10, 2012, the television news station CNN ran an expose on Backpage that emphasized “how young some of these girls look”. During the course of the program, the cable news channel said out loud what the rest of us had long understood as they deemed the website “a hub for the sex trade.

We’ve covered elsewhere Tony Ortega’s unhinged response, striking out with rabid personal attacks against the host of the show, but the story of what was going on behind the scenes has been largely untold… until now.

The day after the report, May 11, 2012, Andrew Padilla sent a panicked email to Joye Vaught and other Backpage employees entitled “forbidden planet.” Enclosed with the email was an Excel spreadsheet that identified over 600 words and phrases that are indicative of prostitution. The spreadsheet also specified, for each word and phrase, whether an ad containing the offending language should be banned or whether Backpage should simply “strip term from ad” and then publish it after the revision.

Desperate to find an excuse to explain the rapidly changing public perspective surrounding Backpage, Padilla sent an email (which was also shared with Vaught) to the head of Backpage’s Indian moderation team. In this email —once again! — instead of acknowledging the problem Backpage had brought upon itself, Padilla took a page from Tony Ortega’s playbook and projected all of the wrong doing upon its ‘outsourced’ moderators, criticizing them for deleting too many ads!

 Included in the email, Padilla provided his staggeringly deceitful assessment that, it was the “over cautiousness” of moderators was the “big problem” here because, in his words “moderators miss a lot of violations.”

Talk about backwards thinking! The problem wasn’t the moderators, it was the direction at the top of the organization chart!

We doubt even Tony Ortega, who is a big a liar as Backpage ever had on its payroll, would stoop so low as to push the blame for Backpage’s hooker-based advertising on alleged mistakes made by off-shore moderators.These were people who had zero financial incentive not to do the very work they were hired to do being accused of ‘missing a lot of violations’ due to their overabundance of caution.

Ask yourself, in what world does that logic even begin to make sense?

There’s only place place where that could make sense — in the world of Backpage where truth is cheap and lies bring big profits there’s as a mint to be made by throwing caution to the wind and exploiting as many women and underage children in their international human sex trafficking cabal.

And the reason it made sense to Tony Ortega and his Backpage pals was as simple as it was sobering. To borrow a phrase from Tony Ortega’s own propaganda, “it was in their DNA” and always had been.

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