Lawyer: Rentboy Raid A National Disgrace

Posted August 25, 2015 by with 50 comments

raid

The below opinion in response to the raid and arrest of seven Rentboy employees comes from Florida-based attorney and South Florida Gay News publisher Norm Kent.

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Rentboy ‘Raid’ A National Disgrace

By Norm Kent

Today, there should be unified national outrage.

Less than a week after ISIS beheaded an archaeologist in Syria, Homeland Security has beheaded Rentboy.com in New York.

This is from the ‘you can’t make this up department.’ Really.

In closing down Rentboy’s New York office, federal agents were deployed from the offices of Homeland Security.

Is that why we mobilized a federal agency to combat international terrorism? To use those ass-ets to targets boy’s ass-es? Our nation, our government, those prosecutors should be so ashamed of themselves. It is unconscionable, unbelievable, and almost surreal.

Seven years ago, banks all over this country conspired to virtually bring the nation to a financial standstill, defrauding consumers, robbing lenders, destroying your credit, foreclosing your mortgages and robbing you blind. Stocks collapsed, careers were lost, and portfolios were ruined. Everywhere you turned, people lost their wealth and standing. Barely a soul was prosecuted.

But the largest gay website in the world, with over 10,000 men plying their trade, gets popped, and seven people are already in jail. This, my friends, is why governments everywhere are held in disgust.

Ultimately, legalizing the sex trade for adults is the next step in everyone’s civil rights struggle. You see, it’s all about free choice. While you may find prostitution morally objectionable, the fact that it offends your sensibilities is insufficient to deny that right to another party. Legalizing the sex trade means respecting the free choice people have to make their own moral decisions without interference by another agency.

Some people want to buy couches; other people cocks. Deal with it. The matter is not for you to judge. Adult men seeking masseurs and escorts should have that unfettered right. Rentboy.com provided the Internet a vehicle wherein consenting adults made free choices.

While the site has disclaimers stating that the advertisements are for companionship and not sexual services, prosecutors say Rentboy.com is designed primarily for advertising illegal prostitution.

“As alleged, Rentboy.com attempted to present a veneer of legality, when in fact this Internet brothel made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution,” acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Kelly Currie said in a statement.

The agent from Homeland Security jumped in and said it was part of a “global criminal enterprise.” Really? Jeffrey Hurant, who runs Rentboy, is being accused by the Department of Homeland Security. Really—is this why we gave this agency a job, a badge, and a gun?

With more than 20,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter, and nearly 11,000 men listed as contractors, you have to wonder what the Department of Homeland Security is going to do with the cartons and boxes of data they carried out of the Rent Boy offices.

Think about the absurdity of this. It’s beyond imagination. While terrorists are arming themselves with AK47’s to hijack an Amtrak train heading from New York City to Albany, some Homeland Security Agent is going to be contacting a kid name Dante in Fort Lauderdale to ask him whether Andre in Chicago had a happy ending to his massage.

Look, Rentboy may be the world’s largest gay prostitution site ever. I don’t know, but I do know that male prostitution is not the greatest threat to Homeland Security.

I do know that if we are utilizing the assets of our Department of Homeland Security to target a consensual adult hookup site that the people who so authorized this investigation should be hooked up and strung by their genitals to the nearest light pole.

I do know that we live in a world where terrorists bred in South Florida flew passenger planes into the World Trade Center. I know things have not got better since then, not with citizens everywhere being threatened with brutal massacres by terrorists anywhere.

I know that the National Security Agency should not be monitoring your twitter account, and that Homeland Security should not be worried about a gay adult escort site.

If there is a story here, it is not about gay men seeking hookups. It is about a national security agency so misdirecting its energies, efforts, and equipment that we should all be astonished and appalled.

 

  • juan

    Well, he’s not wrong. It is a joke.

  • Dave

    Wow Zach how much digging did you have to do to come up with one relatively obscure lawyer actually speaking up for Rentboy??? LOL

  • Horatio

    How about DHS look at the politicians and the correlation between campaign funding and kickbacks going on in every legislative body in this country. Oh that’s right, the US Congress is the entity that keeps their lights on.

  • John

    This statement is a joke, couldn’t get past the Isis beheading to Homeland security beheading rentboy…smh rentboy was breaking the law and the feds raided it, happens all the time, private companies, politicians, public companies etc….their should be outrage in the gay community but not in regards to rentboy….

    • Persa Verance

      People break the law every day as individuals and in groups. Homeland Security isn’t rolling into frat houses to deal with massive use of illegal drugs and under-aged drinking. You’ve surely are not going to use a “the law is the law” argument about Rentboy? That’s just bullshit and you know it.

      • John

        There are reasons why HLS assists the FBI, one is cyber security, my guess is they are the ones who took down the site to protect it from getting Hacked or to preserve any evidence….HLS is not the army if that is what you are thinking…..but who cares if the FBI, Local cops, State cops, sheriff dept etc assist with the bust….don’t lose sight of the crime….and yes they would roll into a frat house if the crime involved the internet

  • AMEN!!! Thank you Norm!!!
    #EscortRights

    • Galaxy_Scribe

      Love you Pam!

  • R.A.M.J

    Im sorry, but this is ridiculous. It is prostitution plain and simple. which is illegal in most jurisidctions in the usa. Should it be legal, i believe it should, but rent boy fucked up. there is a level of arrogance on their part, by advertising it the way they did. the fact they got away with it for almost 20 is astonishing.
    they should have removed all prostitution sound language from their site and actually made it sound like a companionship site.
    this “lawyer” should maybe read this.
    http://gothamist.com/2015/08/25/feds_bust_rentboy.php

    • Scott Daniel

      Their’s a level of arrogance on your part that you clain to know what actually goes on between two consenting adults.

      • R.A.M.J

        Consenting or not, money was being exchanged for sex. The members own reviews admit that. Paying for it is stupidly illegal, consent or not. Consent has nothing to do with this. Prostitution is illegal. It shouldnt be but it is. Thats the point here.

  • Jace

    This is less about going after the escorts and shutting down prostitution and more about protecting the names of clients, who were probably about to be the subject of a Ashley Madison style hack. I can just imagine whose on that client list.

    • R.A.M.J

      but rentboy doesn’t keep client list, do they? wouldn’t the escort themselves have that, IF they keep one at all?

      • Galaxy_Scribe

        As someone who’s looked at the site and considered hiring, I never had to login or anything. Just get a # and call.

  • Mike Julius

    Okay, wait. You open with comparing the death of a human being with the end of a website and arrests? Really?

    My advice to your clients would be to find competent representation.

    • Zachary Sire

      I didn’t read the ISIS line as a comparison of terrorism and the end of Rentboy (there is none), but rather an acknowledgment of how inept and absurd the US government is.

      • Mike Julius

        “Less than a week after ISIS beheaded an archaeologist in Syria, Homeland Security has beheaded Rentboy.com in New York.”

        Maybe that’s the parallel he hoped to draw but by using the same word to describe how a human life ended and a website got shut down, the parallel he drew most sharply is the one I identified.

        • Mimi B

          Mr. Julius…I totally agree with you on the issue. The comparison almost caused me not to read the article. I did regardless and I wasn’t impressed with how he argued the issue.

    • Steve Weinstein

      What he meant was that this palls in comparison with the ISIS beheading.

  • Zealot

    I could not agree more!

  • Rebel4Liberty

    I agree with Mr. Kent, of which I had the pleasure of meeting once. This is a disgrace for the purpose DHS. It’s supposed to be a bureaucracy for terrorism prevention and protection, but maybe it’s now secret morality police for citizens than enemies of the state!

    • R.A.M.J

      “We reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of
      Homeland Security for insight into why this bust was made now, and what
      it has to do with the agency’s five core missions:

      Prevent terrorism and enhancing security;

      Secure and manage our borders;

      Enforce and administer our immigration laws;

      Safeguard and secure cyberspace;

      Ensure resilience to disasters”

      http://gothamist.com/2015/08/25/feds_bust_rentboy.php

  • Rebel4Liberty

    All you ignorant people bashing Rentboy have no clue what you’re talking about. It is a site when you’re paid for your time, and not for sexual activities. Many older men are lonely, and just want a companion for dinner. Sex is consensual. The crime is committed when exchange of money happens first, not after the fact. I mean WTF, are people still hung up about morality in 2015 !?

    • R.A.M.J

      no one said anything about morality. If it was just about companionship, then what’s the need for escorts to post the dick size, position and sexual interest. No one is bashing rentboy. Hell I would love to have had a night with Derek Atlas, but the fact remains the wording on the site suggest prostitution. Rent boy fucked up. #Oops

      • Rebel4Liberty

        If you’re associating prostituion with an escort, this is the stereotype bias. It’s not the same at all. And you could say the same about dating sites and profiles written in code. I know for a fact Gay and straight men use most online dating sites to hook up for sex!

        • R.A.M.J

          they call it an escort site, but the language used on the site suggest prostitution. I agree that not every client hires these guys for sex, but lets not pretend here. if it were strictly for escorting why does the escorts dick size, safe sex, position, and interest such as watersports, bdsm, etc. have to be on there. Everything about that site suggest prostitution. Why don’t people see that. For the record, I support the legalization of prostitution just like I do weed. as far as dating sites are concerned, the two parties hooking up aren’t buying and/or selling it. At least not as blatantly as Rentboy does. Some do, when I had a grindr, guys would ask me if i was “generous”, but most of them don’t. Two consenting adults fucking WITHOUT exchanging money is not prostitution or escorting. If money was exchange for sex acts, it’s prostitution. if money is exchanged for a simple night on the town that’s escorting. the difference is the sex. Rentboy wasn’t discreet enough about the sex part and thats where they fucked up. Don’t let the right hand know what the left hand is doing.

        • anna smith

          and they don’t pay for it. sounds like you are one of the prostitutes in the RentBoy.com website that will have to figure out what you will do next. if you don’t sell yourself then use craigslist or grindr or any other dating website you can possibly mention. how about christianmingle.com??? i am sure there are lots of “lonely older men seeking for companion for dinner”

          • Rebel4Liberty

            Sounds like you are a neo conservative religious extremist to be mentioning ChristianMingle hun! It won’t matter soon as global currency devaluation kicks into high gear, and believe me it’s going to make your head spin faster than Blairs in the Exorcist!

          • anna smith

            I will sit and watch 😉

          • Goodboy

            I think your on the wrong site to be passing off judgement on sex workers.

          • anna smith

            what is true right side to be?

    • andrew

      Prostitution should be legal. It isn’t. Don’t pretend that Rentboy isn’t mainly about older guys paying young good looking physically attractive guys for sex. We all know that these “lonely” older men are not hiring these young studs as dinner dates. They are hiring a young hard body, not primarily to accompany them to the theater, but to accompany them to bed.

      • Persa Verance

        You know what else should be legal? The use of marijuana, across the country. The fact that it is illegal doesn’t stop folks from using it and you don’t see Homeland Security rolling through Williamsburg to arrest all the pot sellers who have apps that folks use to have their pot delivered like it’s fucking pizza. I have nothing against pot smoking but “the law is the law” is bogus and as gay folks we should know this. It was illegal for two men to engage in consensual sex for free in most of the country and still is in some parts (even in the privacy of their own home)

        • andrew

          Your last sentence is factually incorrect. By 2002, 36 states had repealed all sodomy laws or had them overturned by Court rulings. The remaining sodomy laws in the other 14 states were invalidated by the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas. That 6-3 decision was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the same Justice Kennedy who spoke for the 5-4 majority that legalized same sex marriage in the USA this year. Interestingly Justice Kennedy is an Irish American Catholic who was appointed to the Court by Ronald Reagan.

        • Two Cents

          But what about all of the pot stores that were raided in Colorado this and last year when so many weed heads thought that President Obama and Eric Holder were down for the cause? What about the fact that legitimate sellers still cant take their money to the bank because the government tells banks that if they cooperate they will get their licenses snatched and so sellers get robbed all the time because of that? What about the buyers who are watched outside of known selling points and get arrested while they walk out? Its not true that the government is not gettin it in when it comes to pot smokers and sellers, they get theres. The argument that because the government is not everywhere therefore they should not be “here” is weak. The “law is the law” and its the reason why tonight at least 37 or more women and 10 johns are going to be arrested in the nations capital for the same crime – prostitution. The problem is, like you said, the law is wrong.

    • ezra.jones

      There is nothing wrong with paying for sex anyway. Escorts rawk, porn rawks deal with it!

  • beariac

    Amnesty International’s newly adopted policy on sex work makes a lot of (common) sense.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/amnesty-international-sex-work-prostitution_55bfb184e4b06363d5a2e89b

  • jacob221

    Hopefully they didn’t find any of the models or the international models under the age of 18

  • Todd

    This ? Uhhhhhhhhhh, no ………..

    Donald Trump running for president ? Yes, a national disgrace.

    Police killing unarmed people ? Yes, a national disgrace.

    Businesses allowed to discriminate in 2015 ? Yes, a national disgrace.

    Government workers ignoring a Supreme Court mandate ? Yes, a national disgrace. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/40/46/5d/40465dd253bdd965b5554a4337eb4414.jpg

  • Todd

    Maybe someone went a teensy bit overboard in calling in the favors to ensure they didn’t make the papers again in another scandal ???

    • Myko

      HA ! Love this. I have to be honest when I first heard about the story I didn’t think of DB and Jarec !

  • Galaxy_Scribe

    Excellent use of government resources. Thanks, USA!

  • andrew

    Norm Kent’s thinking is about as disconnected from the real world as possible. He says: “Today, there should be unified national outrage”. What? Because an illegal prostitution business was shut down? We have many things in the USA for people to be outraged about. I’m sure this isn’t on many people’s list. His comment comparing ISIS beheading an archaeologist with Homeland Security shutting down Rentboy.com is off the charts outrageous.

    • Persa Verance

      Using Homeland Security to shut down Rentboy is a gross misuse of government energy and funds. People break the law everyday in a hundred ways that we, NYPD and the federal government ignores. How the fuck is shutting down Rentboy making our country safer? Homo please!

      • R.A.M.J

        because it crossed state lines and involved the internet, it is in their jurisdiction.

        • Persa Verance

          Just because they CAN do it doesn’t mean it makes any more sense for the TO do it.

      • andrew

        “Homo please!” I don’t like the tone of that remark. My name is clearly posted and it’s not “homo”.

      • Two Cents

        Ignore or prioritize? Theres alot of things that fall through the cracks because theres not enough government workers or money to round up everyone for every crime. Prostitution is a public health issue not a national security issue. The government needs to look after that like they do your clean air or drinking water. Would it be better if it was legalized and regulated? I dont know, but I do know that the government shouldnt just do nothing just because it cant do everything.

  • ezra.jones

    Totally agree! What a massie waste of time and energy! I mean, we have our own government robbing us of millions of dollars, breeding terrorists and gun toting psychos, yet they wanna make an appeal to the religious right and look ‘good!’ by shutting down gay escorts. Completely pathetic. NONE of this was even wrong to begin with.

  • Victoria Michaels

    Homeland Security had no business to conduct a raid on Rentboy.com – they target the Gay escort agency, yet let the hundreds of straight online escorts sites conduct business as usual. The timing seems to align up with “The Popes” first visit to the USA…. Hmmmmm ! One also has to wonder if this isn’t politically motivated. Like it or not nay-sayers, it’s the oldest profession in the world, it’s been around as long as the bible, Egyptian pyramids, and most likely so easy eveb even a caveman did it ! It’s safe to say it is never going away ! So our government can waste all the assets they want, but even if they shut down every single website that solicites a discrete – no strings attached encounter that may or may not be sexual … Reality is that all they are really going to accomplish is pushing prostituion back out into our streets and neighborhoods! Is that what every wants? I think NOT ! So the Internet gave birth of a new, safe, discrete form of an exchange of cash for time (and if sex occurs then it’s between 2 consenting adults). Let’s keep it real…gay straight or bi-sexual.. You have few choices when it comes to “hooking up,”. You can take a beautiful woman to dinner at a restaurant and spent $200, or go out to a local nightclub in which you are guaranteed to spend a small fortune to park your car, door cover charge, and cocktails (Easily $150+) and there is no guarantee that you will get lucky or laid! But you are still paying with the intent of getting laid guys! So it seems much more practical to cruise a web site, make a phone call, stay at home and not risk getting a DUI —-> and donate a few dollars to someone you desire. It’s costs a whole hell of a lot more to be in a relationship in most cases, not everyone wants a relationship, especially anyone who’s been through a costly divorce. And for married men who utilize an escort agency, those guys are experimenting with no intent of leaving their wives, because with paid escort encounters 99% of the time it’s NO STRINGS ATTACHED !!! That’s better & cheaper then your hubby having an affair on you because without Homeland Security sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong. The odds of you ever find out is zero to none! In conclusion, there are a small number of escorts who actually are seeking a mature distinguished & established gentleman and so each meeting each client is like taking applications and meeting for interviews. Occasionally they meet their soul mate… And who are we to judge? Women marry UP for money all the time, Donald Trumps wife is a prime example… So will Homeland Security raid the White House if she becomes our next First Lady? If the government wants to do something productive… Legalize it and tax it ! Truth is, if you don’t want prostitutes back out in the streets then tell Homeland Security to go back to hunting down terrorists and let’s the escorts sites be so long as they aren’t supporting human trafficking or underage children. The irony in all of this is that is some form or fashion, you all have paid for sex whether you realize it or not. Either from a broken heart, and bad hang over, trade that robbed you, or waking up next to a wildabeast the next morning wondering who the hell is in my bed. Lol. Get over it