Village Voice Media announced today that it is spinning off backpage.com, its controversial classified ad website, from its core media holdings.
But it’s just another Larkin/Lacey scam. Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, the two principals of VVM, will retain their controlling interest in backpage.com, which will continue its revolting practice of “adult” advertising. Village Voice Media will be “sold” to an unidentified group of “private” investors, and will reemerge as “Voice Media Group,” which will own the remainder of VVM publications and websites.
What’s really going on? Well, it’s simple. Larkin and Lacey are angling to retain possession and keep operating their remarkably lucrative backpage.com sewer by divorcing it from their Village Voice Media business.
Village Voice Media has been under heavy pressure from a wide front of law enforcement officers (including a petition signed by 48 state attorneys-general), community groups (including major organizations like Auburn Seminary in New York City), and activists (including this blog) for some time now to shut down backpage.com business. Shut it down — not spin it off, change its name, or send it to another room. Shut it down like Craigslist did in response to these same problems. But they are not doing that.
This announcement of a reorganization does nothing whatever to address the core issue: backpage is a semi-criminal enterprise that makes money by selling the bodies of schoolchildren. Nothing has changed — except the scope. According to a statement released by the company:
“Backpage.com will become the centerpiece of a new online classified advertising company with business worldwide.”
Oh, wonderous. Backpage now will offer child prostitution on a global scale?
Nothing has changed, except for the Village Voice, which seems doomed to continue its downward spiral into oblivion. Note the name of its new “parent:” Voice Media Group. No more Village. And its headquarters? Denver.
Nothing has changed. Larkin and Lacey’s grisly meatwagon continues to rumble down the back alleys and darkened vacant lots of America’s underbelly, with a new set of license plates, perhaps, but the same ghastly cargo of slavery, degradation, pain and sorrow. Except now they have set their sights on a “worldwide” market.
Nothing has changed.