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"Is Anybody Down?
November 17, 2012 12:38 PM   Subscribe

"A website called 'Is Anybody Down' [front page SFW] has popped up to fill the niche that was left when the revenge porn site 'Is Anyone Up' shut down in April of this year. Like its predecessor, the site allows users to submit naked photos of other people and include links to the naked person's social networking page. But according to [First Amendment lawyer] Marc Randazza, this website's business model is slightly different from 'Is Anyone Up,' and is of questionable legality."*

On the website there is an advertisement with an offer: For $250 you can take advantage of "Is Anybody Down's" Takedown Hammer: Professional Content Removal Request Services represented by "so-called-attorney" David Blade who will work with the management of the site to expunge your photo(s). BTW -- Blade, himself, has a website called 'TakedownHammer.com'.

Marc Randazza did some digging.

"[T]urns out that there’s no David Blade licensed as a lawyer in New York, and that the same dude — Craig Brittain — owns isanyonedown.com and takedownlawyer.com."*

Randazza and other attorneys are offering their legal services pro bono to victims to remove their "Is Anybody Down" photos in those states where they are licensed to practice.
"But now Craig Brittain is angry [at the press and blog coverage of his business]. Very angry." *
Brittain has been issuing DMCA takedown notices and other legal threats against websites like Techdirt and Popehat.

Brittain's rationale for running the site:
I earn a modest living. I give all of my earnings to my family and to Chance [ed.: that's Chance Trahan, his partner in the site], except for maintenance expenses for this website. Furthermore, I really hate this job and I do not do it for revenge, to hurt people, etc., I do it because Barack Obama is the second worst President in US history (second only to Jimmy Carter). The job market is really screwed up. A talented guy like me is easily worth seven figures or more in a good economy (if Randazza’s worth $2.5 million, I’m worth at least $8 million)."*
--------

NPR interview with Marc Randazza and website co-founder Craig Brittain.

Randazza e-mail exchange with "attorney David Blade" [PDF].
posted by ericb (80 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previous Marc Randazza FPP: Lawyer in love.
posted by ericb at 12:39 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really hate this job and I do not do it for revenge, to hurt people, etc., I do it because Barack Obama is the second worst President in US history (second only to Jimmy Carter)

I cannot clap slowly enough to show the true depth of my sarcastic appreciation of this logic.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:40 PM on November 17, 2012 [47 favorites]


Maybe I can blame Obama for these zits on my back. They haven't been this bad since Clinton signed NAFTA.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:47 PM on November 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


At this point I'm furthering my "communicable form of madness" theory to explain the 21st century thus far.
posted by The Whelk at 12:48 PM on November 17, 2012 [15 favorites]


Ah, the old "I am only being a dick to innocent people because the President is a black man" argument. Good, good.

I wish this man a case of testicular cancer on his face.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:49 PM on November 17, 2012 [16 favorites]


Maybe we should CREDIT Obama for that scumbag's inability to make a legal seven-figure income.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:51 PM on November 17, 2012 [30 favorites]


There was a Something Awful thread on this that I can't seem to dig up at this point. It was at some point discussing that Randazza was representing companies that ran similar blackmail scams and isn't quite the pure crusader he is selling himself as. I can't seem to Google anything up on that and just hit some really nutty looking stuff complaining about something else.

Anyone know what I'm on about?
posted by Drinky Die at 12:55 PM on November 17, 2012


I just parked in a handicapped spot because of Obama.
posted by found missing at 12:55 PM on November 17, 2012 [16 favorites]


Pulling the wings off flies because Obama.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:06 PM on November 17, 2012


Where's the Obama quote? I can't find it on the linked page.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:07 PM on November 17, 2012


Oops. Here's the proper Popehat link: Craig Brittain of "Is Anybody Down?" Can't Keep His Story Straight. And It's Barack Obama's Fault.
posted by ericb at 1:14 PM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Great interview this morning on "On the Media." I was applauding.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:15 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


"We tried to run a thousand different businesses." Oh fuck off.
posted by stltony at 1:19 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Great interview this morning on "On the Media." I was applauding.

Yeah ... it was that interview (linked to above) which was the impetus for pulling together this FPP.
posted by ericb at 1:27 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


God, when I read earlier this year that people running those lame "criminal mugshots" sites also seemed to be selling removal services for a very high price, I wondered to myself how long until someone would try something stupid like this.

So how does the scumbag get the sensitive photos of people? Is he running a bot on facebook to pull down anything looking like a nude photo before they wise up and hide the photo from the public? Or something else? It seems like at least we could try and end this guy's stream of new entries and ugh the comments on any naked woman's photos on that site are fucking appalling.
posted by mathowie at 1:32 PM on November 17, 2012


IsAnyoneUp (which I first saw linked here, actually) made a kind of sense to me -- it was what it was, right at the intersection of creepy and enabling and awful, but honestly so. This site, from the links here and what I can tell from a glance at the site itself, has all the creepiness but none of the honesty. It seems weird to say, but I just learned that I prefer honest creepy to dishonest creepy -- there's always a way to make anything worse.
posted by Forktine at 1:33 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the same guy who runs pinkmeth.com (NSFW) which is another clone of IsAnybodyUp.
posted by allen.spaulding at 1:35 PM on November 17, 2012


It was interesting to hear Mr Brittain try to justify his "business" of extortion by saying that everyone should appear naked and not be ashamed of it. Bizarre... I kind of think he ought to be in federal pound-me-in-the-arse prison. I'd watch that online.

yeah, you probably would. that's why things like this and the mugshot businesses are profitable.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:37 PM on November 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Their website slogan: "Unstoppable nudes -- Give us your nudes -- Submit nudes anonymously."

They rely on people to send 'revenge porn' often photos of a former boy/girlfriend.
posted by ericb at 1:38 PM on November 17, 2012


There was a Something Awful thread on this that I can't seem to dig up at this point. It was at some point discussing that Randazza was representing companies that ran similar blackmail scams and isn't quite the pure crusader he is selling himself as.

Randazza represented the owners of AutoAdmit back in its heyday. Seeing him take this position in a post-Creepshots world is sort of surprising.
posted by allen.spaulding at 1:44 PM on November 17, 2012


Great interview this morning on "On the Media." I was applauding.

Bob treated that piece of shit far more professionally than he deserved.

Starve, indeed.
posted by dumbland at 1:45 PM on November 17, 2012


This is similar to my business plan of threatening to stab people if they don't hand their valuables to me. I think it's great he can make a living doing it from home.

oh, and before you get all outraged about my business, you should know these people are practically asking for me to threaten them, the way they're walking around in public and shit.
posted by orme at 1:47 PM on November 17, 2012 [13 favorites]


also after seeing OnTheMedia commentors literally advocating prison rape, I'm afraid to listen to the interview lest that "starve" bit be as bad as I fear, and my feelings start to get Complicated
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:51 PM on November 17, 2012


Ah, sense of entitlement, is there nothing you can't justify?
posted by davejay at 1:54 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sociopaths gotta be sociopathing.
posted by aerotive at 1:56 PM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


What a horrible human being.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:57 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


This, and only this, is why we can't have nice things.
posted by tommasz at 1:59 PM on November 17, 2012


I honestly think it should be legal to punch this guy in the head.

It's his idiocy, his abject inability to reason as well as an average ten-year-old, to which I object as much as I object to his cruelty.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 2:13 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Assuming he means seven figures annually: Debatably maybe one in ten thousand jobs are worth that much but "runs website" isn't on that list.
posted by Mitheral at 2:15 PM on November 17, 2012


I'm just saying, if I saw this dude about to slip on some ice and fall headfirst into a woodchipper I would probably pause a moment to check if my shoes were tied and maybe see if there were any txts or emails on my phone that might be important.
posted by elizardbits at 2:20 PM on November 17, 2012 [16 favorites]


Why, I honestly wonder, is Florida so heavily represented on that site?
posted by mikoroshi at 2:20 PM on November 17, 2012


They rely on people to send 'revenge porn' often photos of a former boy/girlfriend.

The real revenge is when your ex learns they are being used to make money for this asshole.
posted by Obscure Reference at 2:21 PM on November 17, 2012


This is similar to my business plan of threatening to stab people if they don't hand their valuables to me. I think it's great he can make a living doing it from home.

OK, but I think we all know, the real litmus test for legitimacy of your business plan is whether you'd be doing it because Obama was elected.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:29 PM on November 17, 2012


[Guys, the "do not make threats or talk about how people deserve physical punishment and/or death" rule applies even to really colossal assholes. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 2:33 PM on November 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


But if we can't make threats regarding assholes who commit revenge porn who can we threaten? Ok you win this time mods, but we are not going to give them any cake. That's not a threat, its a promise. YOU HEAR ME ASSHOLES NO CAKE. There I feel better now.
posted by humanfont at 2:44 PM on November 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


I like how their legal threats complain about "actionable violations of [their] rights of privacy and publicity". Obviously the word hypocrite isn't in their dictionary.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 2:44 PM on November 17, 2012


So how does the scumbag get the sensitive photos of people?

It's a combination of people posting "revenge" photos (photos that were given to them in confidence that they've decided to share) but I think in larger part they are harvested from inadequately-secured social networking accounts by members of the site's audience, i.e. degenerate creepers. There are people who make a hobby of that sort of thing. It crops up on 4chan and until recently also had a place on Reddit, but while on 4chan it seems to be done for the lulz and on Reddit as simple wank-bank pornography, Brittain's sites have the charming addition of extortion.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:49 PM on November 17, 2012


Hey there.

My name is Alex Goldman and I'm both a longtime reader of Metafilter and the producer of this On the Media segment. Thanks for putting up this post, because it touches on so many of the subtleties that we simply didn't have time to get to in the space allotted on our show. I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have re: this segment.

Thanks.

So how does the scumbag get the sensitive photos of people?

* scraping them from other "revenge porn sites"
* submissions from ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, or people who just happen to have them.
* hacked photobucket, et. al. accounts
* there is evidence that the site's proprietors used Craigslist personals to con people into sending nudes that they could then post to the site.
posted by Alex Goldman at 2:56 PM on November 17, 2012 [57 favorites]


I like how their legal threats complain about "actionable violations of [their] rights of privacy and publicity". Obviously the word hypocrite isn't in their dictionary.

"It's part of a progressive cause ... My eventual goal is that everyone will have public information posted about them, preferably naked."

"I don't send naked pictures of myself to strangers ... You could end up on websites like ours."

Ideological consistency isn't a strong point. He sounds in tone and content like a pretty miserable person. I wonder what websites he hangs out at. (No I don't.)
posted by dumbland at 3:08 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alex, welcome! Two questions.

1) In your research on Randazza, did you dig up some of his history representing people on the other side of these disputes? Specifically, he represented the owners of AutoAdmit when they (and their users) got sued by Yale Law Students who had been harassed on AutoAdmit. AutoAdmit users had posted defamatory and harassing statements, as well as surreptitiously-taken photographs of the women - who were not users. Users wrote pornographic stories about the women. The women wanted these posts taken down and AutoAdmit refused, something Randazza defended. Did you get into this with Randazza?

2) These two are clearly in over their head at this point, but was there any attempt to get Craig to admit he made up a lawyer? Did he try to defend that?
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:17 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it works better as a TV show.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 3:20 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's ironic how the people who hate revenge porn are comfortable literally talking about how this guy should be raped, starved(?), mutilated and killed for hosting photos, but to bring the mugshot blackmail sites into this makes it almost patronizingly on-the-nose.

The reason shit like this exists is because no one actually disagrees with the shit as such, just who is subjected to it.

The internet person talking about how they think this creep should be eviscerated and broken on the wheel for rehosting Facebook photos, the bum sending those photos to the site because s/he feels wronged by a woman, the blackmailers who host mugshots and the justice system that allows that, they're not really anything more than different dust jackets on the same book.

And no shit it's inconsistent, shit like that always is. I wonder if the people who are morally outraged about this managed to spill any tears for the victims of Jason Fortuny's "Craigslist experiment".
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:20 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thank god you are here to be the moral compass for us all.
posted by elizardbits at 3:28 PM on November 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


"Starve" is in reference to the OTM interview:

Bob Garfield: "Do something else. You can't rationalise it."

This goober: "I can't rationalise starving either."

Bob: "You know what? Starve. Starve."

Goober: "No."

Bob: "Stand on the median strip and beg. There's more dignity in that than in what you're doing now."

I think this guy should actually starve about as much as he genuinely thinks his two choices are starving or exploiting people on the Internet.

posted by dumbland at 3:28 PM on November 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


The internet person talking about how they think this creep should be eviscerated and broken on the wheel for rehosting Facebook photos, the bum sending those photos to the site because s/he feels wronged by a woman, the blackmailers who host mugshots and the justice system that allows that, they're not really anything more than different dust jackets on the same book.

what is this i don't even
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:32 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


@Kadin2048

They all feel justified in what they're doing. To take it further, they all conceive of their actions as fundamentally retributive and harmless or at least having harm commensurate with the need for retribution. p obvs imho.

"On The Media" literally had a person advocate prison rape in the comments before it was deleted. I'm one of those dour humorless moralizing leftists you hear about, sure, but when I hold forth on my moral code it doesn't tend to result in me endorsing fucking state-organized mass rape and putting people in woodchippers, you understand?
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:47 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


[I am not at all sure that a discussion about a conversational direction that is explicitly against the rules on Metafilter really belongs on the blue. Take it to MeTa if you must. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 3:50 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


1) In your research on Randazza, did you dig up some of his history representing people on the other side of these disputes? Specifically, he represented the owners of AutoAdmit when they (and their users) got sued by Yale Law Students who had been harassed on AutoAdmit.

It's hard doing research on Randazza, to be perfectly honest. He has a lot of enemies who have really wrecked search returns on his name. Chief among them Crystal Cox (warning, incomprehensibility of timecube proportions), who has made numerous websites in his name, his wife's name, and his young daughter's name. There are also people who disagree with some copyright arguments he's made in court. I count myself among them, especially in this recent case.

All that said, I have read about AutoAdmit, and by my understanding he was not defending the speakers, but one of the administrators of the site from reprisal under the DMCA. The admins were sued only after the plaintiffs couldn't locate the original posters. Randazza himself described the lawsuit as "perhaps justified against some defendants, [but] clearly frivolous against others."

2) was there any attempt to get Craig to admit he made up a lawyer? Did he try to defend that?

There was a perfunctory effort to try and talk about it. One of the conditions of him agreeing to the interview was that we abstain from mentioning Marc Randazza or Kenneth White in any way. He stuck to his story and denied being "David Blade." He claimed that The Takedown Hammer was independently owned and operated.
posted by Alex Goldman at 3:53 PM on November 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Thanks Alex.

As for (1) I can see how that may not be contradictory in his head. As I remember it, the lawsuit wasn't about the DMCA, but liability for hosting a forum that kept up defamatory posts. He defended the site's host, claiming CDA 230 immunity. I can see how he would separate that out from supporting the site - but couldn't the same be said about IsAnybodyDown? Wouldn't CDA 230 protect them as well? The fake lawyer and the shakedown is a whole other issue, of course.

As for (2), sigh. I can't say I'm surprised and you're far more patient than I'd ever be.

Thanks again.
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:59 PM on November 17, 2012


This, of course, alludes to you:
It was interesting to hear Mr Brittain try to justify his "business" of extortion by saying that everyone should appear naked and not be ashamed of it. Bizarre... I kind of think he ought to be in federal pound-me-in-the-arse prison. I'd watch that online.

yeah, you probably would. that's why things like this and the mugshot businesses are profitable.
Wishing evil upon the evil is not morally equivalent to doing evil to random (and therefore innocent) people. It may not be the morally highest idea on earth, but apples != orange-flavored shitbags.
posted by IAmBroom at 4:31 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


mikoroshi: Why, I honestly wonder, is Florida so heavily represented on that site?
See: www.Fark.com
and: All 3rd-Millenium U.S. elections thus far.
posted by IAmBroom at 4:32 PM on November 17, 2012


As I remember it, the lawsuit wasn't about the DMCA, but liability for hosting a forum that kept up defamatory posts.

That may be the case, but I don't think that applies with "Is Anybody Down" (caveat: I am not a lawyer). The submitted info doesn't post automatically. It looks, from their website, like they post these pics themselves in batches. If you look at the posting history, it looks like 10-15 go up at a time, usually about 5-6 days apart. So since they are not hosting a forum, and are instead posting submissions, they become liable, right? (again: not a lawyer)
posted by Alex Goldman at 4:34 PM on November 17, 2012


This, of course, alludes to you: The reason shit like this exists is because no one actually disagrees with the shit as such, just who is subjected to it.
Biggest load of shit I've read on Metafilter ever.
posted by IAmBroom at 4:40 PM on November 17, 2012


Christ, what an asshole. If this guy is worth $50, I'll eat my hat with HP Sauce.
posted by clvrmnky at 4:47 PM on November 17, 2012


Seriously: why does 18 USC § 2257 not put this asshole at serious risk?
posted by IAmBroom at 4:53 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was all set to give my neighbor the Dickhead of the Day Award ( for an earlier encounter). Then I had to go and read this thread.

I feel like I'm in the movie Contagion. Only this time the illness is a widespread paranoid madness characterized by bizarre rantings that everything's The Black Guy's fault.
posted by NorthernLite at 4:54 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wishing evil upon the evil is not morally equivalent to doing evil to random (and therefore innocent) people.

That isn't what he said. Rather the business model relies on people wanting to see bad things done to those they personally consider guilty, whether you agree with that judgment or no.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:59 PM on November 17, 2012


@IAmBroom

I'd have any confidence in that at all if most people who "do evil" were not convinced that they themselves were "doing evil unto evil". It's tedious hearing people harping on this, I bet, but "it's okay to do evil unto evil" and "doing evil unto evil will solve anything" is why, dead seriously why, the American prison system is as vile as it is.

And as for this being a load of shit, it only really is if you're willing to accept the moral position that ends justify means and that evil done punitively is magically not evil.

I'm sorry. I just heard about rape and people getting starved and put in woodchippers and I guess I got a little unhappy.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:00 PM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


* there is evidence that the site's proprietors used Craigslist personals to con people into sending nudes that they could then post to the site.

If that's true I hope he goes to jail for blackmail. I don't hope he gets raped in jail though just to be clear on that point.
posted by bq at 5:21 PM on November 17, 2012


I do it because Barack Obama is the second worst President in US history (second only to Jimmy Carter)

Ah, the old "I am only being a dick to innocent people because the President is a black man" argument. Good, good.


At least Google an image before saying silly things, you can't just assume everyone named Jimmy is black.
posted by Winnemac at 5:39 PM on November 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


This looks like a job posting?

Is Anybody Down - Content Acquisition Specialist

This is a commission-based position where you will be involved in the acquisition and submission of content to IAD as an independent contractor. No experience is necessary, we will train you. You must be 18+ and have valid identification information. Your information will be kept confidential. If you are or have ever been a member of law enforcement, any federal agency, etc. you are ineligible for this position and cannot contact us. For more information and to apply, please contact jobs@isanybodydown.com .
posted by box at 5:40 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry. I just heard about rape and people getting starved and put in woodchippers and I guess I got a little unhappy.


Except this guy really does really horrible things that humiliate and traumatize real people because he doesn't seem to think women are real people because Obama and the woodchipper stuff is hyperbole. Nobody here actually puts people in woodchippers.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:49 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is a commission-based position where you will be involved in the acquisition and submission of content to IAD as an independent contractor.

Oh, good, get the IRS involved - they don't have any real power and have certainly never taken anyone down when the government couldn't get a conviction on other charges. Another genius idea from the dynamic duo.

If you are or have ever been a member of law enforcement, any federal agency, etc. you are ineligible for this position and cannot contact us.

"No copyright intended, herpa-derpa-doo!"

Chance Trahan and Craig Brittain should starve. The dudes just can't get anything right no matter how low the bar. Total oxygen-wasting victim-complex-spouting worthless failures.

Nobody here actually puts people in woodchippers.

No need.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:53 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes. I not only personally put people in woodchippers but I advocate for others to do so as well. This is a real thing that is real in the real world that really happens.
posted by elizardbits at 6:01 PM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


And as for this being a load of shit, it only really is if you're willing to accept the moral position that ends justify means and that evil done punitively is magically not evil.

I believe the ends justify the means, and I also believe in doing unto others as they do unto you. I definitely wouldn't say you're full of shit though - actually you tend to say some rather insightful things in very amusing ways, so in general you're aces in my book. On this thread though, I just don't quite follow the overall point you're trying to make. I get what you're saying about how people who want to claim the moral high ground shouldn't judge this guy worthy of such horrible punishment, but what about people who don't care about having the moral high ground? Is there any rationale not to punish Craig Brittain that could be based purely on ethical calculus? After all, it would certainly be a strong disincentive to stopping others from following in his footsteps, and I think we can all agree that we don't want the "blackmail business model" to become more widespread in society.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:03 PM on November 17, 2012


[OK, seriously, we are not having a discussion of how awful hypothetical conversations that would be deleted here would be.]
posted by restless_nomad at 6:27 PM on November 17, 2012


@This, of course, alludes to you

Well, I agree with you.

I'm not American though.

It's a little late in the trajectory of American culture to try and float the idea you're trying to float, I think.
posted by lastobelus at 6:30 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Publicizing information about people against their desires may or may not be bad. For example, in some cases reasonable people consider the desires of the subjects to be expendable. The FBI's most wanted list is one example of such a conflict of interest.

Presumably some of the subjects featured on sites like "Is Anybody Down" do not want their information posted. This is separate from whether someone, somewhere, believes the publicizing of that information is justified.

As for the culpability (not to mention reprehensibility) of the principals who publicize information about subjects against their wishes, each will be determined according to differing contexts and criteria.

The extent to which one agrees with the degree of culpability and associated sentences determined by others is the core of whether one accepts the rationalizations offered as moral platforms for such determinations and sentencings. It's all fine and well when one believes justice (poetic, legal, social, or otherwise) is served by expressions of outrage and distribution of information.

Undoubtedly, there are crummy people who are targets of "Is Anybody Down", who work for the FBI, who read MetaFilter, and who live in your home. None of them deserve to be deprived of liberty without due process. On the other hand, wishing hateful things (that do not incite) on such people is a lesser failing and (I believe) we are better off when we are reminded that such hateful wishing is a failing.

Full disclosure: I am first in line of the guilty-because-they-sometimes-wish-hateful-things-on-people.
posted by mistersquid at 7:00 PM on November 17, 2012


A talented guy like me is easily worth seven figures

Well, maybe if we're putting at least two after the decimal.
posted by xedrik at 9:45 PM on November 17, 2012


At this point I'm furthering my "communicable form of madness" theory to explain the 21st century thus far.

Ergot in the Wonder bread.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:54 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


My name is Alex Goldman and I'm both a longtime reader of Metafilter and the producer of this On the Media segment.

Please tell Bob Garfield how much I enjoyed it when he told Craig Brittain to get a piece of cardboard and beg in the middle of a highway rather than do this.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:18 PM on November 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


Wow... I've worked in the sex industry in one way or another since 1992, and since 1994 ran (until 2008 when ownership changed, but the site still exists) one of the earliest (maybe even the earliest) and largest amateur niche erotic content sites. Through my work I know the sexual secrets of tens of thousands of people that I can easily connect to their real identities, up to and including which high profile US politician secretly has a gay eunuch lover. When I was involved in a lawsuit over the ownership of the site, protecting the identities of the site's members was of central importance to me.

I can't imagine violating their trust or abusing them in some blackmail scam like this... I occasionally made mistakes, for example publishing a sex photo of someone on the site that included a username (making one up for illustration: "x4fish") that could potentially be connected to their real identity, and felt terrible in these cases and did what I could to help scrub their online profiles...

In an ideal world, no one should be ashamed of being a sexual creature, but this is horrific, especially if it turns out to be true that they were getting some of their pictures by trolling craigslist and other personals sites... I mean, that sort of blackmail scam isn't that uncommon, but to run it publicly -- to actually do the damage rather than just threatening it -- is upsetting.
posted by glider at 9:07 AM on November 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


As an aside, something that bothered me about some of the stories about this extortion is the comment that he's doing this to women... I think it's important to recognize that he's also going after men, both the scummy sorts of men that love sending pictures of their cocks to women, but also potentially closeted gay men... It's one thing to consider the damage that a private photo could do to a woman's life and reputation, but the damage in outing someone like this before they're ready to publicly take that on is the kind of thing that will eventually lead to a suicide. To be honest, any of these could result in a suicide... I'm always amazed at how callous and unempathic the world is. Not that it's anything new.
posted by glider at 9:12 AM on November 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


xedrik: "A talented guy like me is easily worth seven figures

Well, maybe if we're putting at least two after the decimal.
"

Not even if you put nine after the decimal.
posted by double block and bleed at 12:19 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


That interview is brilliant!

I once had the opportunity to have a direct one-on-one with a nefarious scumbag. This was a scam where they would trawl the internet for the phone numbers of family-sized churches (50 members or so) and would call them up and essentially "trick" them into agreeing to take receipt of a "sample" of their cleaning products. They would ship several large boxes full of toilet paper and light bulbs and crap out to the church and then invoice them for a thousand dollars or so. When the churches tossed the invoice they'd hire a collection service and call up pretending to be lawyers.

We were not a small church - we were a significantly larger organization and our finance director forwarded everything on to our legal council and the local police. The scammers called back and I actually had an opportunity to talk to them. I probably shouldn't have - it's always better to just hang up and let the lawyers sort stuff out... but I had once been the victim of a random assault and I relished the opportunity to have a conversation with a criminal who was targeting me and my church family.

"You guys are scammers - you go after small community churches. How do you justify this sort of anti-social behavior?"

The answer was remarkably similar to Randazza's in the Garfield interview. First, he denied doing anything illegal. I remarked that I wasn't a lawyer - just a church pastor - and while I wasn't qualified to comment on the legality of the operation I was in a position to assert that what they were doing was shameful, immoral, usurious and unpatriotic. "I don't owe anybody any explanations - I got a business to run." I asked if he was concerned about the way he was spending his precious short time on this planet. Wouldn't it be better to seek some more noble calling? His answer was revealing, "You know what? Fuck you, pal. My purpose is to make money and I make good money and nobody should try to make me feel bad for making money."

It is always this thin shield of capitalism, "get that money," making-money-for-money's sake, that justifies this kind of behavior. I saw it again and again in my friends and parishioners most vociferous defenses of Mitt Romney's shady tax-dodging and corporate sharkery. "He's just taking advantage of capitalism!" And I think, well, then he's Mammon's own acolyte.

It's tempting to think that there's just no decency left in this society. But it's still people hurting people. A same-day lender opened up down the road from us. The owner's son who manages the shop has come to worship with us a couple of times. It's a family business, profitable. It ruins lives. But we all live here and so we all try to find a way to survive. My atheist brother-in-law thinks the church is just such a scam, anyway.

The quest for wealth-at-any-cost is so harmful to our communities. We become economic cannibals. We don't create wealth. We mine each others pockets for resources. That is the new capitalism. At least the lumber barons cut down trees and the railroad barons seized up land and the oil barons extracted wealth from the ground. These people are like flesh barons who make their money exploiting the lives of other people. It is a very sad enterprise.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:29 AM on November 19, 2012 [20 favorites]


oh wow, welcome back, b_b
posted by elizardbits at 10:13 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Baby_Balrog, that is one of mky all time favorite comments I have ever read anywhere online. Thank you.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:39 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hunter Moore’s ‘Scary as Shit’ Revenge Porn Site Will Map Submitted Photos to People’s Addresses
posted by homunculus at 2:10 PM on November 29, 2012


Anonymous Hunts Hunter Moore to Hold Him ‘Accountable’ For His Revenge Porn Empire
posted by homunculus at 11:30 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anonymous Hacks HunterMoore.tv, Posts Everything Online [Updated]
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:28 AM on December 7, 2012


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