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Stripper Music Monday: Lords of Acid

Played in strip clubs more than AC/DC, Kid Rock, and Prince combined, the songs of Lords of Acid are a peeler staple. I’m not a particular fan, but a new Lords of Acid record is definitely stripper news.

That being said, I have very little desire to search out any of the tracks here, so. Maybe I’ll hear it later? In the meantime, I’m in Austin for the South by Southwest interactive, film and music conferences, and will certainly update if I discover any amazing new music for work. I look forward to seeing current work faves Das Racist, Ellie Goulding,  Liturgy (kidding! I wish) and others.

Charlie Sheen Is No Poster Boy

We're not intoxicated. (Photo by Tim Marshall via Flickr)
We’re not intoxicated. (Photo by Tim Marshall via Flickr)

In his Today Show interview revealing his HIV diagnosis, well known actor Charlie Sheen insisted that he no longer feels the stigma associated with HIV. In a predictably hypocritical manner, he made this proclamation mere minutes after he perpetuated the stigmatization of sex workers—interviewer Matt Lauer quoted the open letter he’d posted to his fans in which he called sex workers “unsavory and insipid types” and Sheen confirmed his written statements.

Quick to cast himself as the victim and the sex workers he saw as villainous temptresses, he claimed his public statement was made in response to one blackmailing sex worker who threatened to disclose his status. Sheen complained, “What people forget is that that’s money [blackmailers are] taking from my children.” As opposed to the millions of dollars Sheen spent in the past 35 years on sex workers that could also have gone to his kids? Apparently, that money is entirely different.

Sheen tarred all sex workers with a black brush based off of the actions of the one sex worker who threatened to out him. Considering the high number of sex workers he hired, it’s unfair to call any of us “unsavory” whores. If anything, all the sex workers Sheen frequented who said nothing about his status for years demonstrate the high value we place on client confidentiality in this industry. But by painting sex workers as unethical, Sheen got to proudly proclaim himself stigma free, as we bear the brunt of stigma for him.

Hey, Here’s Some Good News

 

Stop destroying the Constitution and America and the flag and the United States covered in a flag, prostitute-haters!

The US Court of Appeals has ruled it unconstitutional to require that international AIDS outreach organizations denounce prostitution in order to receive federal funds. Predictably, the government conflated sex work with sex trafficking in its demands that organizations sign an anti-prostitution pledge. (Hence its name; it’s not called an “anti-trafficking pledge.”)

The reasoning for the ruling was as follows:

Compelling speech as a condition of receiving a government benefit cannot be squared with the First Amendment.

Right on. Thanks, Second Circuit! (Except for you, Justice Straub, for encouraging that the Supreme Court take this on so the ruling can be overturned.)

More information about PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief)  and the anti prostitution pledge can be found here. And an early account of how the case unfolded can be found here.

WTF, Backpage?

A screenshot of Backpage’s New York City escorting page as of 1/12/2017.

We all knew it was coming. With California Attorney General Kamala Harris filing a second set of multiple charges of pimping and money laundering last month against Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer and shareholders Michael Lacey and James Larkin, and with Ferrer and his shareholders’ Senate hearing coming up last Tuesday before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, plus the trafficking hysteria-fueled media scrutiny Backpage had been under over the past couple of years—well, let’s just say that few of us were buying Backpage credits in bulk anymore. But most of us expected that the government would find some way to stop Backpage’s adult ads operation, however legally unlikely that might seem after years of efforts to do just that by law enforcement zealots. (After all, the California State Superior Court spanked Harris pretty hard verbally in last month’s decision on her first set of Backpage charges, reminding her that the Communications Decency Act specified that third party sites were not liable for their posters’ illegal content. And on Monday, the Supreme Court stated it would not hear an appeal on a similar Backpage case.)

But what actually ended up happening is that on Monday night, a few hours after the publication of a Senate report accusing Backpage of editing ads to minimize evidence of trafficking, Backpage execs decided to shutter their U.S. adult ads themselves as a free speech protest. Where the ads had once been, the site announces that they are “censored” by the government in a loud red font. Visitors are encouraged to speak out in support of the martyred site by using the hashtags #FREE SPEECH #BACKPAGE on social media.

That night, us sex workers collectively panicked, wondering how we would survive this month with no well-established national advertising site to garner low-end to middle-end escorting clients.

As usual, when powerful institutions decide to use the sex work debate for symbolic ammunition, it’s sex workers who suffer horrific real life consequences. Here, two competing neo-liberal agendas are clashing, indifferent to the material plight of the sex workers caught between them.

The Week In Links: April 8

Disturbing! And not at all related to news.

Surprisingly short slideshow of sex working women who’ve run for (international) political office.

Moby Chicks was an April Fool’s joke, but I think it’s a genius idea. What does maritime law say about topless dancing?

Horrible article on Zimbabwean farmers who spend their profits on sex workers.

A play about a “high class” prostitute (named Charlotte!) is running right now in LA.

Cool resource, bro. No, seriously—cool resource. This website compiles studies on sex worker populations across the world.

An exotic dancer puts all her money toward her no-kill animal shelter.