April 14, 2012


It needs to be saved from its disastrous involvement in the adult-services advertising business. Perhaps more importantly, it needs to be saved from the “alternative press” culture at its Phoenix-based parent company, a culture that in a vacuum is noble and out in the world is broadly successful and even journalistically sound, but which doesn’t work for the city or for the Voice. . . .

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s January 25 column, “How Pimps Use the Web to Sell Girls,” established pretty convincingly that the erotic-services advertising website owned by Village Voice Media was used to promote prostitution, and often violent and usurious forms of the practice.

Kristof’s column came late in the game: Interest groups and nonprofits that fight sex trafficking had been complaining about Backpage.com for some time. But Kristof’s column became a sort of crusade for the paper, and it had legs.

Kristof subsequently investigated the ownership of Backpage.com, and when he began asking questions of Goldman Sachs about their ownership stake in Village Voice Media, they abruptly unloaded their $30 million, 16-percent share in the company.

Goldman’s shame had chiseled away one chunk of V.V.M.’s financial security.

Well, when they got rid of Nat Hentoff and replaced him with Roy Edroso, it was obvious that the transition to a sex-trafficking service owned by Goldman Sachs was just a matter of time . . . .

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