The last we heard in the saga between Backpage and Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff Tom Dart the injunction against him had been repealed. Backpage was trying to get a restraining order against Sheriff Dart since he allegedly convinced Visa and Mastercard to stop doing business with Backpage over child prostitution and human trafficking concerns. That meant that Backpage could no longer accept Visa or Mastercard payments for ads on their site. Currently Backpage is only able to accept pre-payment through cash, check or money order, or with bitcoin.
Earlier today the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Sheriff Dart can no longer “formally or informally” try to get credit card companies to stop doing business with Backpage. However this is nothing more than a Pyrrhic victory for Backpage. The damage has already been done. This ruling does not mean that Visa and Mastercard will go back to doing business with Backpage. Backpage has been dealt a financial blow that I doubt it can recover from. They have to be hemorrhaging capital with each passing day. How long will it be before their Dutch corporate overlords finally pull the plug? It can’t be much longer.
In his 29-page order, U.S. District Judge John Tharp wrote that the “cease and desist” letters Dart wrote to Visa and Mastercard warning them that Backpage was a haven for prostitution and human trafficking could have been construed as threats. But they did not amount to censorship, since the sheriff had no legal authority to force the credit card companies to act, he held.
Emphasis mine since Backpage loves to tout how their dealings in prostitution and human trafficking are ‘free speech’, but I digress.
According to the Chicago Tribune article there was even evidence that Mastercard was already looking into cutting off Backpage prior to Sheriff Dart’s request.
I would love to know how much cash Backpage is hemorrhaging daily since the majority of their income has been cut off. How long will their new Dutch corporate overlords allow them to lose money before cutting their losses? Backpage is suing Sheriff Dart over lost revenue, but that could be tied up in the courts for years while the credit card companies aren’t changing their stance on Backpage.
When the death knell for Backpage is sounded it will also be freedom ringing for many of its victims and Sheriff Dart will be holding the bell hammer.
I believe that Backpage is arguing that since Sheriff Dart used official county letterhead that this can be seen as censorship. Let’s see what other lovely things Backpage had to say…
On Thursday, Backpage.com lawyer Robert Corn-Revere told Tharp, “Let’s not confuse escort ads with prostitution ads.”
That’s like saying let’s not confuse an assassin with a hitman. Escort ads are just barely veiled ads for prostitution.
Lawyers for Backpage.com are calling the judge’s order “an important reaffirmation of the critical role of the Internet in free speech and the continued evolution of e-commerce.”
I didn’t know that being ‘allegedly’ complicit in the sexual slavery of women and children was the ‘evolution of e-commerce’.
As far as I can tell what the restraining order doesn’t do is force the credit card companies to start accepting Backpage payments again. Isn’t it their constitutional right to choose whomever they see fit to do business with? Also, as I’ve asked before, why does Backpage’s first amendment rights trump the thirteenth amendment rights of the people being trafficked on their website?
I still think we’re seeing the death throes of Backpage however I wouldn’t be surprised if the company survived this like the cockroaches they are.
The news is never good when an article starts out like this…
The day after a restraining order against Debra Janelle Jeter ended, the 32-year-old picked up her 12- and 13-year-old daughters at 6 p.m. Friday and told them she had a surprise.
Do restraining orders ever work? Anyway the surprise was that Jeter of Hillsboro, Texas slashed the throats of her daughters, 13-year-old Kiersten and 12-year-old Kelsey. Kiersten survived the attack but unfortunately Kelsey did not.
The reason the restraining order was placed in the first place was because Jeter attempted suicide and the girls’ father was worried about the girls’ safety in their mother’s hands. He was also petitioning the court for sole custody of the girls.
Why a temporary restraining order? Once again the courts have sided with the irresponsible parent and now a girl is dead because of it. It’s a shame she didn’t succeed in killing herself in the first place.