One of the reasons for the failure of feminism to dislodge deeply held perceptions of male and female behaviour was its insistence that women were victims, and men powerful patriarchs, which made a travesty of ordinary people’s experience of the mutual interdependence of men and women. – Rosalind Coward
On February 18th I wrote about the absurd rhetoric employed by federal prosecutors in their persecution of Gregory Carr, one of the owners of Miami Companions, a large interstate escort service targeted by federal prosecutors for (as columnist Darrell Dawsey pointed out) being too successful. Mr. Dawsey quoted prosecutor Barbara McQuade as saying, “Our goal is not to stamp out prostitution. I don’t think we’ll ever do that…but what we are concerned about is deterring criminal organizations from exploiting women as a commodity for profit.” But clearly, McQuade’s stance (also echoed by her lackey Jennifer Blackwell below) has nothing to do with law or justice and everything to do with neofeminist rhetoric…unless, of course, federal prosecutors are also planning cases against modeling agencies, day-care centers, clinics, elementary schools, strip clubs, secretarial pools and every other business which relies primarily or entirely on female labor and therefore “exploits women as a commodity for profit”. In the warped minds of neofeminists, $500/hour escorting is “exploitation”, but cleaning toilets for minimum wage is not.
As regular readers of this blog know, prosecutions for prostitution are based on nothing but hearsay and Kafkaesque parodies of “evidence” such as the presence of condoms or the lack of underwear and are therefore nearly impossible for the accused to win unless she happens to draw an anomalously-sympathetic jury. So I need not tell you that Gregory Carr was found guilty of the “crime” of running a successful business with happy employees (many of whom testified in his behalf); what I will tell you is that he was sentenced day before yesterday (May 12th). Here’s a report edited down from the one which appeared that afternoon in the Detroit Free Press:
A federal judge today sentenced Gregory Carr, the accused mastermind of the Miami Companions sex ring, to 14 months in prison for running a high-priced escort service that charged up to $500 an hour for sex to roughly 30,000 clients nationwide. The government pushed for a 27-month prison sentence. The defense asked for probation. U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Tarnow met both sides in the middle, concluding that Carr, 44, was not a violent man, but that he did deserve prison time for running an illegal operation that made millions and put women in potential danger. “As far as I can tell he was not a thug, or a woman beater, or a man beater, or any kind of beater,” Tarnow said, noting that he had never had a federal prostitution case where no violence was alleged. Still, he told Carr, “you created a situation where that could happen.”
I think most of y’all can spot the various propaganda elements in this paragraph without my help; due to asinine laws an escort service becomes a “sex ring” and its owner a “mastermind” (which of course means that your author was also the “mastermind” of a “sex ring” for six years). But though the prosecutor and her assistant (who no doubt imagine themselves as some sort of superheroines) didn’t get the sentence they wanted, they did succeed in so confusing the judge with their backward neofeminist rhetoric that he proclaimed screening procedures and client verification “put women in potential danger” rather than helping them avoid it. I suppose he imagines that escorts are all passive little dolls who sit inertly on shelves until wound up by “pimps” like Carr. Yes, that term was used; as we’ve seen before, the criminally ignorant apply the term “pimp” to any non-client male who has anything to do with a hooker:
…Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Blackwell pushed for a stiffer sentence, arguing that Carr put women in danger, and made millions doing it. “The fact that you’re a self-proclaimed nice pimp, a Richard Gere pimp, does not detract from the seriousness of the charge,” Blackwell said. “The fact is quite simple. His corporation, his business model, was set up to literally make money off the sweat off women’s backs.”
Umm, Dynagirl? Though Richard Gere played a small-time pimp in his first movie, Report to the Commissioner, he’s not exactly remembered for that outside movie trivia books. He did play a male prostitute in American Gigolo and a client in Pretty Woman; perhaps that’s what you’re thinking of? Well, I guess your rhetoric needn’t make sense as long as it sounds good, right? And since you think it’s a heinous crime to “make money off the sweat off women’s backs,” I anxiously await your lawsuits against women’s sports teams and deodorant manufacturers.
Blackwell and her boss weren’t interested in justice or even (by McQuade’s own admission) upholding the law; their prosecution of Miami Companions in general and Carr in particular is clearly revealed by their own words as nothing but an agenda-driven vendetta against sex work. Contrast this with the sentencing memo (obtained from public records) filed by defense attorney Paul DeCailly last week which references the safety procedures of the agency:
The letters from the former escorts talk about…how respectfully they were treated by the staff and management of the company. Some common themes throughout these letters are Greg’s respectful nature, and the safe environment that MC provided though its screening process. The Court might remember the fight over the client list, and the references to the depth of information that was maintained on the client list…[which] represents more than 30,000 men and women who are known as safe, non-violent, and respectful individuals to meet with, and after viewing the notes contained in the client list…it is clear that any client…who was less than respectful to the escorts was immediately blacklisted, and no further appointments could or would be booked. The Government fought to keep the List protected as though it was some sort of national security document; however, it should be noted that the List has existed for many years, and never once was the information made public.
Earlier in the memo (page 15) DeCailly launches a spirited attack on the vagueness and absurdity of the Mann Act (under which Carr was prosecuted), pointing out its origin in the “white slavery” hysteria of the early 20th century and the fact that though it is a federal law its violation is defined by whether or not the act for which a woman is “transported” is illegal in the state to which she travels…meaning that travel to some states for a given purpose would violate the act, while travel to different states for the identical purpose would not. But the part of the memo which pleased me the most was this harm reduction argument starting on page 19:
In fact, as the Court will read, many of the escorts (who are the Government’s purported victims) have asked the Court to consider that Greg and MC provided them with nothing more or less than a safe alternative to doing what they would do otherwise (and what many of them are doing following Greg’s arrest): working as independent escorts, without the safety net of a client screening service. As a result of Greg’s conduct, these women knew that when they met clients, the clients had been screened, verified, and that they were in a safe situation. If the government really sought to protect these women, it might not have shut down MC at all; while acknowledging that the women were engaging in illegal conduct, the government might have realized (as it acknowledges every day when it dispenses clean needles to heroin addicts) that they are at least engaging in that conduct in a manner which is safer for all involved.
We can only hope that this sort of reasoning becomes far more common in documents submitted to courts in the next few years; perhaps once judges read it often enough it will begin to sink in, providing a shield of skepticism against neofeminist attempts to use the courts as the means by which to effect their own personal inquisitions against women who dare to be sexual and the men who interact with them.