Written May 5, 2018, published to the internet May 10, 2018
Does character matter in Portland Journalism? Does it matter that Portland media is controlled by the long-established white elite? Does it matter that the newspapers in Portland routinely do not focus on important issues that impact people of color? Does it matter that the newspapers in this town do not hire people of color as staff writers? And does it matter where and how Portland newspapers get their ad revenue, in order to stay afloat? These questions do matter and they need to be answered.
The years 2017 and 2018 will become known as the years that sexual predators were given notice—at least in the entertainment industry and national media. They will become known as the years American women and the federal government decided to really fight back against the heartbreaking sexual exploitation of the young and the disenfranchised of our country, which includes underage children. https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/14/opinions/2018-will-be-the-year-of-women-schnall/index.html
These victims are our neighbors and folks we pass on the street every day. They matter and their protection and their futures matter.
When considering print media in Portland, have you ever wondered how one defines what moral goodness or judgment and leadership in journalism actually means? For example, how would Portlanders feel if they discovered one of their local newspapers had a longtime business relationship with Backpage.com—a relationship that goes back more than ten years and represents the exchange of large sums of money?
Backpage.com, if you remember, was seized by the federal government and shut down in early April of this year due to the rampant sex trafficking of poor marginalized women and underage children. This represents women and children of all colors, with ties as far away as Europe and ties right here in “Portlandia” Portland, Oregon, a city once renowned for its now nonexistent “livability.” Those various ties lead directly to sex traffickers, rapists, and pedophile fetishists who for many years lurked in the dim shadows of Backpage.com, advertising their wares with countless newspapers acting as an instrument of their dissemination. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/backpage-seized-by-government-indictment_us_5ac7d222e4b07a3485e49e16
How will the average Portlander feel when they discover that longtime alternative newspaper Willamette Week has been accepting money from sex traffickers? In other words Pimps and other criminals in the business of sexually exploiting women and children in Portland, Beaverton and elsewhere? http://www.koin.com/news/rosenblum-willamette-week-and-backpage-com_20180208085759192/960243313
Willamette Week has benefitted from doing business with Backpage.com, to the tune of perhaps millions of dollars and that relationship goes back at least a decade and maybe even longer than that. With this well-known fact, why did Oregon’s own attorney general, Ms. Ellen Rosenblum knowingly allow this to occur? Her platform while running for office was to crack down on sex trafficking in the state of Oregon.
Ellen Rosenblum is the wife of Richard Meeker, and Richard Meeker owns Willamette Week, along with frosty editor, Mark Zusman. In the attached video watch for yourself as Rosenblum stutters, minimalizes and attempts to distance herself, (not very successfully) from her husband Richard Meeker’s longtime financial relationship with Backpage.com. KOIN News Story on WW and Back Page. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qPjnnUnw4Q
Most Portlanders have long known about Willamette Week’s cheesy back section, with all the personal sex ads, and the photos of half naked women, and half naked men, but it’s safe to wager that most people in Portland don’t know that Willamette Week received a lion’s share of their funding from Backpage.com, that is before it was shut down last month. CEO Back Page Pervert Arrested in Texas. https://abcnews.go.com/US/video/backpage-ceo-arrested-texas-pimping-charges-42635311
And most people also don’t know that while Willamette Week has denied doing business with Backpage.com, they have continued to do so on multiple occasions.
It’s not illegal to advertise for a strip club, and we all know Willamette Week has for decades financed their newspaper by doing business with such people, (just look in the back of the newspaper and you’ll see all the saucy ads for strip clubs) but accepting money from strip clubs is not the same as accepting money from “escorts” and other businesses who specialize in “massages” or “private dances” or even “lingerie modeling.”
And most folks know that those businesses are in reality only fronts for simple prostitution—with many of the prostitutes hired for that kind of work being underage minors. More than simple prostitution, the women, and girls and boys who are sold for such services are routinely victims of even more extreme forms of violent fetishistic sex abuse, thanks to Backpage.com and similar websites. Often it is the degradation and humiliation of these young victims that motivates the rapists and pedophiles who actively seek out this kind of perverse “anger retaliatory” sexual abuse.
In some cases victims of sex trafficking are kidnapped and later ritualistically raped and tortured. While helpless and bound, they are gang raped, and forcibly fed addictive drugs, and hard liqueur against their will. This is common practice in an effort to keep the women, and children compliant and obedient enough for sex trafficking. http://cbs4indy.com/2017/04/18/federal-investigators-detail-indy-sugar-shack-horrors-girls-drugged-sex-trafficked/
There is one case, also directly related to Backpage.com, wherein a 14-year-old Washington girl was sold for sex and raped by up to 15-30 men per day in dangerous and prolonged sexual assaults. Her captivity lasted several weeks until she was able to escape. The physical, emotional, psychological and psycho-sexual damage to the women and children who survive such horror is difficult to measure. But we can be confident it represents a huge loss in human capital, and lost human potential not only for Portland but for the entire states of Oregon and Washington. Victims of extreme sexual abuse often develop emotional and psychological disabilities which prevent them from working or engaging in normal proactive activities associated with self-improvement, self-reliance and self-efficacy. https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/backpage-ceos-targeted-in-washington-sex-trafficking-lawsuit/393167720
Backpage.com was seized by the federal government because they operated without concern for rule of law, or for the human damage they were causing to thousands of innocent women and children. Their profits have been estimated to exceed hundreds of millions of dollars and perhaps even one billion dollars. All these degenerates cared about was the money, and they had many willing accomplices in their business, including US newspapers that were more than willing to take the money and look the other way. Willamette Week was one of those newspapers. And that alliance has resulted in Oregon’s own attorney general, wife of Richard Meeker, to turn the other way, pretend ignorance of what was going on, and deny she knew anything about what her husband was up to, doing business with predator street pimps dragging around laptops, and engaging in the sexual slavery of women and children all across this country.
KOIN did an excellent story in 2015 detailing the Willamette Week and Backpage.com alliance. The story includes a revealing quote from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, “Pimps and predatory offenders are a way that escort ads on Backpage.com provide a marketplace of young girls and boys to purchase for rape and other sexual activities.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qPjnnUnw4Q
Do Portlanders really want to take the political endorsements Willamette Week provides seriously, during its various political races? If in order to survive as yet another beleaguered print newspaper, Willamette Week was so desperate for money they were willing to take money from pimps and other criminals who rape women and children, do we really want to take anything they say about their political endorsements seriously? Given whom they do business with?
In terms of Willamette Week, what is more important, the fact that we have a Pulitzer prize winner as the head writer, Nigel Jaquiss, AKA, the Assassin? (A mean spirited journalist and once aspiring novelist who loves nothing more than digging into a twisted juicy sex scandal) or that Willamette Week has stayed in operation for decades and benefited financially from Backpage.com? The same Backpage.com that for years promoted the slow and agonizing suffering of women and children who have been sex trafficked in the city of Portland and elsewhere?
Who is going to hold Willamette Week responsible and expose their reprehensible hypocrisy? And what of the other newspapers in Portland, such as the Oregonian, and the Portland Tribune? Is there an unspoken agreement among these newspapers that they will not blow the whistle on Willamette Week’s long and fruitful relationship being funded by pimps and sex traffickers?
When sexual predators are being taken to task for their crimes, shouldn’t we also demand to know how newspapers benefit financially in order to keep their papers up and running? And if it comes out that newspapers are doing business with pimps, then shouldn’t there be legal ramifications from law enforcement? Should those papers be sued, fined, and exposed as the hypocrites they are?
More importantly, should Willamette Week, given their history with Backpage.com be held legally and financially liable to the victims of sexual slavery and sex trafficking that has occurred in Portland and surrounding areas, and deemed complicit in the abuse of those victims?
Don’t you think Willamette Week owes the citizens of Portland an explanation? If this newspaper no longer accepts money from pimps, rapists, and pedophiles, then for how long have they not been taking that blood-soaked money?
And can we ever take Willamette Week writers or their editor seriously again when faced with the awareness that they were willing to put other people’s children at risk by doing business with pimps, rapists and pedophiles? Are those at Willamette Week developmentally delayed somehow? Are they all suffering from a form of mental illness? https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/mbbg7p/being-a-journalist-is-terrible-for-your-mental-health
The hypocrisy of Willamette Week truly boggles the mind.
However, it is only a matter of time before Willamette Week finally kicks the bucket and dissolves, going belly up like so many other irrelevant newspapers that can’t compete with internet news websites and the competitive costs of production.
When Willamette Week finally experiences its melancholy death rattle, is it true Nigel Jaquiss plans on moving to France and splitting town? Only time will tell.
Coauthored by Fred Stewart and Theresa Griffin Kennedy