I guess they didn’t cover this when the NBA All-Star game was in Vegas? Great explanation of making it rain for, well, old white people, I guess.
This weekend, a Twitterstorm erupted when payment processor WePay shut down a medical fundraiser for porn performer Eden Alexander. Alexander found herself in an unforgiving position after the complications she experienced from an allergic reaction to a prescription drug were misdiagnosed when a doctor assumed that since she was in the sex industry, her symptoms were those of drug use. The delay of proper care meant her condition worsened, and she couldn’t work. Like other self-employed Americans, Alexander doesn’t have sick days, and friends who were helping care for her set up a fundraising page on GiveForward to raise money for her.
GiveForward is a WePay-powered site where people can set up medical fundraisers. WePay came across tweets from Alexander’s friends offering adult materials in exchange for donations to Alexander’s fundraiser (yes, a payment processor was monitoring a user’s social media). They decided that this qualified as accepting payments for prohibited pornographic materials and shut down the fundraiser. Kitty Stryker, one of Alexander’s friends who set up the initial fundraiser, wrote about it here.
And then they experienced the wrath of Sex Worker Twitter and that of some allies with large follower bases. Coverage of the incident showed up on Gawker and The Rumpus, in blog posts by feminists and sociologists. Thanks to Molly Crabapple’s strong influence across Geek Twitter, Patton Oswalt tweeted about it. By Saturday afternoon, WePay had issued an official statement about the Alexander fundraiser, giving as their reason the offering of adult materials as rewards, and offering to help her restart her campaign. They did not mention if they would shut it down again if, say, a friend of Alexander’s, maybe another adult performer, offered a video or a photograph to someone who donated. This is something out of the control of a person who starts a fundraiser, although the founder of WePay said just the fact that Alexander retweeted those unasked-for incentives implicated her in a hypothetical exchange of funds for porn.
What you are looking at is a weeks’ worth of spanking, ball-crushing, and general violence towards men. This is from the time when I went to Austin with my mom and worked while I was there. She was helping a friend with his restaurant, and in between helping work the register I did sessions. I think there is some truth to the theory that a visiting girl can do pretty well based solely on the fact that she’s visiting, because that was more money than I’d made that entire month and I didn’t use new photos in my ads. Maybe Austin is a town that really responds to my ads? I doubt it. There are only a few other women advertising there and they all had better photos and text, but I was the only black woman, and I was the only one leaving in three days, so . . . I MADE BANK. I bought Christmas presents with that money, as well as helping my sister pay for her tuition, after I put some in my mattress.
Update: Backpage filed a federal suit today against Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart for violating its free speech and equal protection rights after the Sheriff successfully pressured credit card companies to break with the company this month. In the suit, Backpage requests a preliminary injury, so that credit card processing will be restored to the site immediately; compensation for loss of revenue from credit card transactions this month; and punitive damages.
Earlier this month, Backpage responded to American Express, Mastercard, and Visa’s disallowal of charges for adult services ads by offering free posting in that section. In an e-mail to users on July 10th, Backpage informed posters that they can move their ads to the top of the listings for free every 24 hours. Each additional posting within that 24 hours will cost a dollar. A good portion of the mainstream media is characterizing this move as reactionary. An example: “Backpage.com thumbs nose at sheriff [Tom Dart, the Illinois Cook County anti-trafficking zealot who wrote a letter to Mastercard and Visa this month prompting their actions],” as the USA Today headline put it, but many sex workers believe this is the least Backpage can do for them during this difficult time in return for earning $22 million dollars of revenue annually from our escort ads.
However, Katherine Koster of the Sex Worker Outreach Project noted that some sex workers are still having trouble with the new system. For one thing, it seems the free posting is only a privilege granted to those who’d posted a paid ad recently, before the Visa and Mastercard fiasco began. “Other people have shared issues around…not being able to post at all,” Koster told Tits and Sass via a Facebook message.
“Every single day, they [Backpage] keep changing shit, other shit randomly doesn’t work, and it is getting incredibly frustrating to use,” Australian escort Sarah summed up on her tumblr.
Backpage itself specified in its e-mail to users that:
Free and paid ads initially post into the same section and sort by date. After a grace period, free ads change position to the Additional Ads section below the paid ads.
Many adult services posters have found that their free ads become inaccessible to clients quickly after being shunted into the Additional Ads section, far from the top of the ad queue where postings garner the most notice. On July 9th, Sarah wrote that she’d “been having problems all day with some of my Backpage free ads disappearing into the ether, showing as live but not being visible in the category listings.”
From what I can tell, a sneeze fetish is more about the journey than the destination. While you may consider face covering an action that stops the spreading of germs, to a fetishist you’re hiding all the subtle intricacies of pre-sneeze face. I don’t completely relate, but I do enjoy a good sneeze as much as the next person. Or rather, I get filled with rage when I’m about to sneeze and some jerkoff thinks it’s funny to yell “bananas!” and sabotage me. (I imagine that’s the closest I’ll ever come to understanding the phenomenon that is “blue balls.”)