Home > News > After Raid, a Legal Defense Fund Is Started Up for RentBoy.com • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options

NEWS STORY

After Raid, a Legal Defense Fund Is Started Up for RentBoy.com

After Raid, a Legal Defense Fund Is Started Up for RentBoy.com
Get XBIZ News
Aug 28, 2015 4:15 PM PDT    Text size: 

NEW YORK — Anger and outrage.

That’s what continues to grow in many circles in response to the raid this week on RentBoy.com, a site that allows escorts to pay to advertise themselves.

Federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security and officers from the NYPD on Tuesday raided the Manhattan headquarters of RentBoy.com after a criminal complaint was unsealed, alleging the male escort service’s CEO and six employees conspired to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution.

Six of the seven defendants made their initial appearances later in the day on Tuesday in federal court and were released on bonds ranging from $50,000 to $350,000. Each face five years in prison.

Federal authorities, later in the week, seized the company’s website and went after its assets.

The move to go after the gay hookup listing site, which has been in business for more than 15 years, has infuriated many who have vocalized that the raid was reminiscent of  bathhouse raids and gay-bar roundups from the 1960s and ‘70s.  

Lawrence Walters, an industry attorney who represents RentBoy.com along with attorney Gill Sperlein, told XBIZ today that the fallout over the raid, arrests and seizure of the website has been unrelenting, particularly after an article on the topic was published in The New York Times.

“I don’t think Department of Homeland Security expected this kind of response, but people are legitimately concerned about unfair targeting of the gay community,” Walters said.

“This raid comes at an odd time, when groups like Amnesty International, along with numerous LGBT organizations, have recently called for the worldwide decriminalization of prostitution, due to the human rights abuses it encourages,” Walters said. “DHS seems to be out of step with societal evolution on these issues, when a powerful group like Lambda Legal Defense Fund has taken the position that the RentBoy raid threatens our safety."

Walters said that an even more important issue is raised by this prosecution — the threat to online innovation and freedom of expression. 

“Online service providers and advertising networks such as Rentboy.com will be unable to function if the law is interpreted to require constant policing of all communications posted by third parties, to ensure there are no references to illegal activities,” Walters said. “That is an unrealistic standard to be expected of any passive internet intermediary.

"Yet, by claiming that RentBoy.com, by allowing third-party advertisers to post to its servers, somehow facilitated prostitution, the government is announcing that it expects intensive scrutiny and monitoring of all internet traffic.

“Failing to catch a reference to solicitation or prostitution can lead a DHS investigator to conclude that the service provider is ‘facilitating’ the illegal conduct mentioned in the third party’s posting.”

Walters said a legal defense fund had been launched for Rentboy and its CEO, Jeff Hurant, at RentBoyFund.org

“The actions of DHS have left the company and Mr. Hurant with no ability to fund a defense, or pay for basic living expenses,” Walters said. “The government has destroyed an entire online business that had operated in the open for 15-plus years with no warning.” 

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !

OPINIONS & VIEWS

Finding the Right Payment Business Model

One consistency among nearly all paysite owners is that they are creatures of habit. After all, how else could someone tirelessly produce or procure similar content steadily in order to update their commercial... More »

What Payment Plan Suits Your Bottom Line

The most disappointing aspect of merchant processing is having to tell a merchant that all domestic options have been exhausted and that there isn’t a bank in the U.S. willing to open a merchant... More »

The Journey Toward Artificial Intelligence in Processing

Let’s be honest. If you’re running a company you spend most of your time trying figure out what the hell is going on. Then you spend the rest of your time — what’s left of it —... More »
XBIZ NEWSLETTERS
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.






POPULAR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Access the latest issues of the industry's leading trade publications in digital form. View online or download for offline viewing.

UPCOMING EVENTS

XBIZ 2017

Jan 09 - Jan 13
Hollywood, CA

XBIZ Awards 2017

Jan 12 - Jan 12
Los Angeles, CA

ANME Founders Show

Jan 14 - Jan 15
Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport

Everything To Do With Sex Show

Jan 20 - Jan 22
Montréal, Québec
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!