It’s The First Anniversary Of The End Of Rentboy

On August 25, 2015, Homeland Security and agents of the NYPD raided Rentboy headquarters in Manhattan arresting seven including CEO Jeffrey Hurant, on suspicion of promoting prostitution and money laundering. The offices were closed, the site was shut down, and seven people looked to be in A LOT of trouble, including Rentboy employees/escorts/porn performers Eli Lewis and Hawk Kinkaid. Charges against everyone but Hurant were eventually dropped. He was indicted for promoting prostitution.

(via The New York Times)

Kelly Currie, the acting United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, trumpeted the case against, calling it an “Internet brothel” that “made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution.”

Allow me.

giphy (8)

Uh huh. And, wait, you might ask, “did you just type ‘Homeland Security’?” Yep. #priorities

Last week, it was reported by Reuters that Hurant was close to reaching a plea deal. He posted about the case on his Facebook page today:

Tomorrow it will be one year to the day that the government raided, arresting me and six others and shuttering the website. The case is still going on. If the closing of this site has any personal meaning to you, please feel free to like and post page. We have opened up the posting to this page for a week and welcome your submission.

Hurant described the site as a “chance for sex workers to be open and proud of what they do” as well as noting (via Wikipedia): is not an escort agency. We are an ad listing service for male escorts, where men place their own ads and work for themselves, so that clients can contact them directly. Our mission is to create a non-judgmental space where anyone curious about exploring male-male companionship can hire a man by the hour.

If a plea deal is not reached, Hurant could face up to 25 years in prison.

My two cents? The government and the NYPD shut down what amounted to an almost two decades-old safe haven for sex workers, in a very oddly timed and targeted operation. Civil rights advocates and sex work activists rightly decried this mess. There was a gross thread of homophobia running throughout the whole thing. Even the goddamn New York Times thought it was bullshit:

Prosecutors can credibly argue that the site’s operators were breaking the law. But they have provided no reasonable justification for devoting significant resources, particularly from an agency charged with protecting America from terrorists, to shut down a company that provided sex workers with a safer alternative to street walking or relying on pimps. The defendants have not been accused of exploiting sex workers, featuring minors on the website, financial crimes or other serious offenses that would warrant a federal prosecution.

Thank you, NYT. Manhunt Daily stands firmly on the side of decriminalizing and regulating the escort business, making it safer for people to do what they want with their bodies, including fucking for cash. Did I also mention that the government needs to stay out of people’s bedrooms? Ok, just did.

Learn more here. We’re crossing our fingers for you, Mr. Hurant.

One thought on “It’s The First Anniversary Of The End Of Rentboy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.