The last we heard from Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer, he was ordered to turn over all of Backpage’s records to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Instead of doing that, Backpage was given a stay to make a case for themselves. Backpage has always claimed that the First Amendment protects them from prosecution as their ads for prostitution are protected speech. Earlier today, the appeals court lifted that stay saying that Backpage’s free speech argument was lacking. That means that Backpage has 10 days to turn over all their records to the Senate subcommittee. This must have been a great blow to Backpage as their mouthpiece, attorney Liz McDougall, refused to comment on whether or not Backpage will appeal to the Supreme Court for another stay, which the Cleveland.com article says is more difficult to obtain. While I wish this was the end of the story, don’t count Backpage out yet. They’ve survived some pretty drastic measures against them, like not being able to accept credit card payments. They may be devious enough to pull another trick out of their collective hats.
However, if this is the beginning of the end for Backpage, don’t shed a tear for them. This is not a blow against a free press, this is a victory for all the girls and women who have suffered at the hands of pimps and traffickers that advertised their victims on Backpage.