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Posts Tagged ‘Blood on the Sand’

You are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.  –  Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Tony Sellers

Usually, if I miss an item while it’s current and only hear about it months later, I’ll leave it alone.  But since this has been such a banner year for sexual misbehavior by cops, I want to feature every one I can find.  So when Tits & Sass featured this roundup of such items recently, I just couldn’t leave the one item I had missed behind:  “[After being entrapped in a sting Houston cop] Tony James Sellers…was charged with prostitution.  He was [given a paid vacation while officials bloviated about ‘ending demand’ and sex rays]…

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Once again, actual figures disprove the hysteria:

A new Department of Justice study shows that the crime parents obsess about the most—the abduction and murder of a child by stranger—is less likely than ever…in…2011…105…occurred, but only 8% ended in murder.  In 1997, by contrast, 40% did.  Today, children kidnapped by a stranger have a 92% chance of making it home…thanks to cell phones, GPSing and security cameras.  So what of the other big fears of our age, like the fear of children being abducted by strangers they meet on the internet?  The study found only one victim of such a crime.  Okay, well how about all the sex trafficking?  The study found that 16-18 girls were kidnapped for that purpose…Well, are kids at least being stolen by pedophile rings?  The DOJ found zero cases of this happening.  How about stolen by Satanists?  Zero again.  What’s more, the report also found that the victim profile most of us have in our heads—young moppets on their way to school—does not match with reality…The most common victims are girls aged 12 to 17, with sexual assault being the biggest motive…

Saving Them From Themselves

Once in a while an insanely-broad law is defeated:

The Minnesota Court of Appeals just struck down a key part of the state’s law concerning sexual communication with minors…[which]  criminalized conduct that falls far short of solicitation.  For example, the court noted, “a music video producer [who] creates a video with sexually explicit depictions or lyrics” could be found guilty under the law if he or she uploads the video to YouTube and someone under age 16 sees it.  So too could the producer of a film depicting sexual content or the writer of young-adult fiction that includes a sex scene…any communication with a child “relating to or describing sexual conduct,” even without trying to solicit them for real-world activity, is also a felony if it is done with “the intent to arouse”…”distributing any material, language, or communication, including a photographic or video image, that relates to or describes sexual conduct to a child or someone the person reasonably believes is a child” is a felony…

Note that the last provision criminalizes sex education.

The Schizoid State

So he’s a “pimp” because male, but a “child” because 17, and his same-age “victim” is obviously helpless because she’s female and therefore a moral imbecile even though they’re the same age.  Got all that?

A [Las Vegas] High School dropout is now an accused pimp…The 17-year-old is accused of running a prostitution ring…with two accomplices.  The victims — girls ages 15, 16 and 17 — were delivered to houses and hotels to sell sex for $100 or $200…The teen’s identity is not being revealed because his case is currently being handled in juvenile court…[but] Judge Frank Sullivan…[decided]…to charge the teen as an adult…[because] the district attorney’s office [said] the case is as serious as it gets…[despite] the teen’s history of…psychiatric and drug abuse issues…if convicted [he] could face life in prison…

Having sex is “as serious as it gets”.  Much worse than, say, murder, torture or kidnapping.

Standard Operating Procedure

It’s funny to me that most people are so naive they don’t realize this stuff is totally par for the course:

Three high-ranking officers in the NYPD acted as “cops on call” for two deep-pocketed de Blasio donors — as long as their “elves” plied them with gifts and bankrolled a highflying lifestyle that included hookers, free hotels and expensive meals.  Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, Deputy Inspector James Grant and Sgt. David Villanueva were arrested…in a far-reaching bribery scandal that has also snared longtime correction officers union leader Norman Seabrook…the cops acted as a “private police force” in exchange for gifts, bribes and perks worth more than $100,000…

The sex worker connection is described in more detail here:

A high-ranking NYPD official and another cop had sex with a prostitute…dressed as a flight attendant on…[a] 2014 excursion to Las Vegas…on a private plane…paid for by Jona Rechnitz, a real-estate investor being investigated by the FBI for allegedly providing gifts to police in exchange for favors…one of the officers [was] Deputy Inspector James Grant…Michael Milici, the other cop, is on modified duty…

Backwards Into the Future (#137)

These are the people prohibitionists think should be in charge of “protecting” sex workers:

Once, when I was meeting with a sex workers’ group in a brothel in Kenya, the women there got a call that one of their members had been found, dumped near a river with deep cuts on her face, hands, and thighs.  The woman had been [arrested] the night before…Her fellow sex workers had gone to the police station to bail her out but couldn’t find her.  When they picked her up…they learned she had been gang raped by the police, who then left her in the woods where she was accosted by street boys, who raped and beat her again.  The sex workers attempted to report the incident but were threatened with arrests of their own…

Shame, Shame

After a brief lull, politicians are once again trying to impose even more broad and mindlessly-draconian “revenge porn” laws on unsuspecting internet users:

The…ACLU…and [other free speech groups urged]…Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to veto a new measure meant to deal with “revenge porn” and “sextortion”…”unlike the laws of virtually every other state on this subject,” the Rhode Island measure does “not require a photo’s dissemination to cause harm to any person or even be intended to cause harm in order to violate the law”…The new legislation, passed earlier this month, prohibits posting sexually explicit photos without the subject’s [direct] permission…The legislation also bans “sextortion”…Rhode Island already criminalizes extortion.  But…the new “sextortion” charge…could…be added to regular extortion and/or revenge porn charges to give prosecutors an extra carceral edge…

Amazingly, the governor actually vetoed the law for its blatant unconstitutionality.

Blood on the Sand

This looks like another case in which everyone involved is awful:

A woman and her attorneys have been charged with secretly videotaping her having sex with a former CEO of Waffle House, and using the recording to try to extort millions of dollars from him…Mye Brindle, John Butters and David Cohen were indicted…in…Atlanta…Butters and Cohen tried to force [Joe] Rogers to pay millions of dollars to prevent the recording from being released…a…spokesman for Brindle’s attorneys…said the indictment sends a “chilling message” to victims of sexual abuse and those seeking help to attain justice…Brindle filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Rogers in 2012…[accusing] Rogers of forcing her to perform sex acts with him to keep her job despite her protests for nearly 10 years.  Rogers has acknowledged having consensual sexual encounters with Brindle, but has accused her of making false statements against him.  Court findings showed the covertly recorded video didn’t imply that Rogers forced the woman to do anything she didn’t want to…

Nice While It Lasted

The SCOTUS has more or less just demolished what little was left of the Fourth Amendment.  The following is a quote from Justice Sotomayor’s scathing dissent, which would’ve been the quote of the week except for its length:

…Do not be soothed by the opinion’s technical language:  This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants—even if you are doing nothing wrong…If the officer discovers a warrant for a fine you forgot to pay, courts will now excuse his illegal stop and will admit into evidence anything he happens to find by searching you after arresting you on the warrant…Although many Americans have been stopped for speeding or jaywalking, few may realize how degrading a stop can be when the officer is looking for more…this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time.  It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights…

Broken Record (#559) 

Irish iterations of the “gypsy whore” myth are the silliest and most hilarious ones:

Irish fans partying in French cities during Euro 2016 have been met by an army of sex workers brought from Eastern Europe and Africa for the month-long football tournament.  Football fans…have reported being propositioned…by women who have been forced to travel to France by criminal gangs determined to cash in on the tournament…Aside from health concerns, fans have also been warned of blackmail attempts by some sex trade workers, who have been ordered by pimps to secretly take photos and videos of their clients…[which are] then sold on to criminal gangs which specialise in blackmail and extortion…

Monsters (#566) 

You may remember that this was the case in which the cops claimed they didn’t know if it was hate-motivated:

A Kansas City man has been charged in the death of a transgender woman he intentionally ran over several times and left to die…Witnesses told the police that…they saw Tamara Dominguez got into a truck with 29-year-old Luis Sanchez.  But she soon exited the vehicle and slammed the door before walking away.  That’s when Sanchez reportedly gunned the engine and repeatedly ran over Dominguez, who died from injuries sustained in the attack…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#584)

San Diego has slowly grown into a major hotbed of “sex trafficking” hysteria, but it’s still surprising that none of these “authorities” is able to recognize this ludicrous masturbatory fantasy for what it is:

A federal report on sex trafficking in San Diego has revealed a vast underground industry worth more than $800m annually…Sex trafficking…involves some 110 gangs just in San Diego County, dubbed one of 13 hot spots for child sex trafficking in the US…“The study will provide a lot of new information to those seeking to end modern slavery,” said John Picarelli…between 3,000 and 8,000 victims enter the clutches of the sex-trafficking industry every year…The average age to begin selling sex is 15, and 50% of women arrested for prostitution have at some point been forced into it, the study found…pimps were typically earning around $670,000 a year…

To Molest and Rape

Sometimes they feed on their own:

A parking enforcement officer has accused three Toronto police officers of raping her vaginally, orally, and possibly anally…Leslie Nyznik…Joshua Cabero…and Sameer Kara…pleaded not guilty to sexual assault…The complainant told police she knew the three officers and was invited out for a “rookie night” by Kara in January 16, 2015…[after drinking a while] they went back to [a] hotel room…[where] she felt very drunk and laid down…she was immobilized and unable to speak.  She…remembers Nyznik inserting his penis into her mouth and that one of the men took her jeans off.  She recalled being penetrated vaginally…and that the two men may have switched places…When she woke up…Kara was asleep beside her and she grabbed her clothes and went home, where she vomited and passed out in her bathroom.  The following day, she had a rape kit examination at Scarborough Grace Hospital, during which a nurse found evidence of anal penetration…she didn’t remember being anally penetrated, but recalled one of the officers asking “should I fuck her in the ass?”…

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Preteens selling goodies, the police…lectured [her]…was unfair to establishments…like Starbucks.  –  Robert Fernandes

Juxtaposition

Popehat suggests we compare and contrast this:

Just days after Iran’s president denounced Internet censorship as “cowardly,” six young Iranians were arrested and forced to repent on state television…for the grievous offense of proclaiming themselves to be “Happy in Tehran,” in a homemade music video  they posted on YouTube…The arrest of the young dancers, and their televised public humiliation, angered Iranians at home and abroad…

And this:

U.S. Park Police arrested five people…at the Jefferson Memorial.  Their offense?  Dancing.  The dancers were protesting an appeals court ruling…that the national monuments are places for reflection and contemplation — and that dancing distracted…

Real People Maria Isabel

Photographer Bénédicte Desrus spent six years…documenting Casa Xochiquetzal, a home in Mexico City for…retired sex workers…She only took photographs of the women who gave her permission and provided them with prints, which often inspired other women to participate…Desrus then teamed up with journalist Celia Gómez Ramos, who began interviewing and transcribing the residents’ stories.  They eventually decided to publish…as…Las Amorosas Más Bravas (The Toughest Lovers)…

Check Your Premises

34-year-old…Vanessa Gumataotao of Sacramento…was arrested on suspicion of prostitution…as well as child abuse and endangerment for allegedly using [a] 17-year-old [boy] as her pimp.  The…boy was arrested on suspicion of pimping…

If It Were Legal

Too bad he lost the suit; this kind of ethical breach is unforgiveable:

A top London solicitor who had sex with a Chinese law student [and sex worker]…has lost his claim for damages after she told his daughter and colleagues about previous affairs.  The solicitor…identified only as AVB, sued the young sex worker, known as TDD, for breach of confidentiality…after she found information about past liaisons on his laptop.  Senior…Justice Tugendhat…said TDD broke a duty she entered when she accepted money for sex.  But…AVB…would not receive damages because although he experienced “some embarrassment” he “has suffered no real distress”…

Something Rotten in Sweden (July Updates, Part One)

Cops busting kids’ lemonade stands isn’t news any more, but this is a new low:

[San Francisco cops busted] two…lemonade stands…the 11-year-old proprietor of one…was informed that simply giving away the fudge brownies and lemonade the police forbade her…to sell would result in a $1,500 fine…Not long after police cleansed the…area of unlawful lemonade dispensaries…they returned due to complaints about “a live band.”  This stemmed…from a neighborhood tradition of setting up a drum kit during [a public event] and allowing local kids to keep the beat.  At the time the police showed up, the unlicensed live bandmember was…a toddler…

The Punitive Mindset

Because obviously, female guards’ delicate ladyfeelings are more important than men’s lives:

…Bradley Ballard, a…schizophrenic [inmate at New York’s Rikers Island] died…after he was confined to his cell…for seven days for making a lewd gesture at a female guard…Denied…his medication, the agitated inmate tied a rubber band tightly around his genitals…Ballard was found naked and unresponsive on the floor, covered in feces, his genitals swollen and badly infected.  He died at a hospital of…[massive systemic] infection…

Above the Law

Two [Atlantic City cops] have been arrested on charges they sexually assaulted a 16-year-old in separate incidents…Andre Corbin and…Ralph Pereira…were…[each] charged with…sexual assault…endangering the welfare of a child and official misconduct…

That Old Black Magic

A man was killed by a mob…in…Burkina Faso, after being accused of making another man’s penis “disappear”…a local mechanic…claimed that his penis had been “stolen” by the second man, who was not from the district.  The first man called the police.  But by then…the residents decided to lynch the man in the middle of the street…

I’ve mentioned West African “penis stealing” hysteria before in Links #141.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #51)

The acquittal of the 13 people “sex trafficking” fanatic Susan Trimarco implicated in her witch hunt provoked such an outcry among her disciples that two of the three judges were pushed into retirement, the third has been threatened with impeachment and the Argentine president swore to “reform” the judiciary because it is too objective and not sufficiently influenced by public opinion.  A higher court then convicted ten of the 13 defendants on charges of running an “evil network of sexual exploitation…with…international connections, and satanic rituals.”  Still think this hysteria is different from the Satanic Panic?

The End of the Beginning

The California Sex Offender Management Board…[recommends] that lawmakers…overhaul registration laws so that some offenders can be removed from the list after 10 or 20 years.  The list — which currently includes almost 100,000 registered offenders — is too large to be useful to law enforcement or the general public.  Under current laws, all sex offenders must register for life regardless of the offense they committed…[the list] includes…almost 900 [people] who have not committed a sex-crime in more than half a century…Ninety-five percent of sex-crimes are committed by individuals who are not on the registry, and the existence of the registry has not worked as a deterrent…

Comfort Zone (TW3 #320) Louie Gohmert

The endgame of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said the debate over…immigration reform is prompting undocumented minors to enter the United States… “And…you know that some get sucked into sex slavery,” Gohmert said…adding…“This administration, and this Congress also, is complicit in helping lure people into sex trafficking”…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #349)

The [French] National Consultative Commission on Human Rights  (CNCDH)…has [rejected] the law…which seeks to punish “the purchase of sexual acts”…[The Commission] consulted many experts…and…[outlines] the three-point position of the committee:

  • “Chosen prostitution” is legal, so clients are not criminals.
  • Legal prostitutes should be easier for clients to access.
  • Victims of trafficking and exploitation need better support…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #351)

Mobs with torches are back in fashion, it seems:

An international association of Catholic nuns has launched a public awareness campaign to combat human trafficking and prostitution during the World Cup in Brazil.  The nuns will use social media, billboards and rallies…to draw attention to the heightened risk of exploitation…Sister Gabriella Bottani said…that for previous World Cups in Germany and South Africa, the level of “exploitation” had gone up by 30 per cent and 40 per cent respectively…Among past and upcoming initiatives will be…a torchlit procession in Brasilia…and handing out pamphlets at…beach resorts…

Naturally, the usual predators are taking advantage of the anti-whore hysteria:

…police…invaded…a building where…prostitutes operated…in [the suburbs of]… Rio…Without a warrant, police…[arrested] more than 100 women…and seized their goods.  Women were attacked and raped – police forced them to perform oral sex and put their hands on the women’s genitals…One woman…had…[her] whole week…[of] money…robbed, including any money to take the bus home…

Guest Columnist:  Sarah Woolley (TW3 #406) 

Amnesty International has urged Northern Ireland’s politicians to ditch plans to criminalise the purchasing of sex.  The human rights organisation wants a clause contained in a bill against human trafficking to be excised because…it would create a “hierarchy of criminal liability” among sex workers…Amnesty stressed it was not taking sides on the debate over sex work and prostitution, but said sex work and human trafficking were “two very complex social phenomena” that required different laws…

“Those who…sit on the fence do indeed side for a political party: The ruling party.” – Max Frisch

Sex Work is Work (TW3 #407)

Another blow against the absurdity of consensual crime:

…Italy’s national statistics office, will include estimated dealings from drugs, arms trafficking and prostitution in its GDP figures from now on…This move should increase Italy’s economy by at least 1.3 per cent in the first year, helping it to comply with EU rules on indebtedness, which limit member countries to spending no more than 3 per cent of their GDP…the calculation would also include revenues from contraband tobacco and alcohol…The Bank of Italy estimated the value of the criminal economy at 10.9 per cent of GDP in 2012…The move…is motivated by the EU’s desire to measure its member countries’ economies more closely…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #409)

community members carrying information and harm reduction supplies were threatened with arrest and were not allowed to communicate with sex workers…who had been…forcibly transported to Project ROSE…[which has] come under intense scrutiny because of a long list of rights violations…advocates from the Best Practices Policy Project and SWOP Phoenix traveled to the United Nations to raise concerns about these abuses to the Human Rights Committee…a group of social workers, Social Workers United for Justice, is petitioning the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to “demand an end to Arizona State University School of Social Work’s involvement with Project Rose” because it violates socials work’s core professional principles…

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #410) Alyssa Funke

Unfortunately, not every outed sex worker has Belle Knox’s incredible strength and resolve:

Nineteen-year-old Alyssa Funke…bought a shotgun, drove to her family’s boat, and killed herself there on April 14.  Students at her former high school had outed her as the star of a “casting couch” porn video, and her parents say the subsequent online harassment contributed to her suicide.  Funke…did her first and only porn video…earlier this year…Soon after the video went up, Funke  started getting nasty Twitter and Facebook messages from students at her former high school in Minnesota, calling her a slut and worse…Funke’s parents said she had long suffered from depression, but they believe the harassment…played a major role in her [suicide]…

Belle also wrote an open letter to Alyssa after hearing of her death.

Deafening Silence (TW3 #413)

discussion of whether the sex trade should be legalised [in China]…came to the fore…after Huang Haibo, a 39-year-old actor best known for his “nice everyman” roles, was arrested…for allegedly soliciting prostitutes…The news led to a surprising outpouring of sympathy on social media…after the crackdown in…Dongguan…[there were many] online comments like “Dongguan, hang in there” and “the public has your back”…

The Missing Word

Silly preacher, only politically-connected companies are allowed to do this:

A South Carolina pastor has been accused of turning his Bible College into a forced labor camp for foreign students.  Reginald Wayne Miller…made the teens toil for no or little pay for more than 50 hours a week while housing them in rooms without hot water, heating or air-conditioning.  He…threatened to revoke their student visas if they complained or failed to comply with his demands…Students reportedly told [federal] investigators that classes “were not real” and that the main focus of the school was to have them working full-time at its campus and Miller’s home…In 2006, [Miller] was…detained on charges of lewdness and prostitution for exposing himself to an undercover cop in a bathhouse…

Three Steps Back (TW3 #418)

A bill designed to help New Orleans police crack down on prostitution is headed to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s desk…The legislation…makes it illegal…to solicit money or rides with the intent to exchange it for sex acts.  Marjorie Esman [of the ACLU says the law]…does nothing that isn’t already covered by Louisiana law.  Esman also had problems with an earlier version…[that banned] solicitation for any purpose…which…would have effectively outlawed panhandling…the bill gives police a mechanism to [harass] suspected prostitutes…enough so they might move on…

The Mote and the Beam (TW3 #419)

The US House of Representatives passed all five of the “sex trafficking” bills before it; most of them are the usual political boondoggles, but one creates a “criminal advertising” crime to stack on people being railroaded for “sex trafficking”, and the most dangerous one allows the federal government to give even more money to local cops for sex work stings under the guise of “fighting sex trafficking”.  But the most shocking example of political hubris comes from Representative Randy Hultgren of Illinois, who seems to imagine that the U.S. Congress has the power to criminalize prostitution in foreign countries; he supports this with a lot of nonsense including the discredited Neumayer, Cho & Dreher report.

Blood on the Sand

[Vanessa] Stiviano…is now the subject of a criminal probe…[due to] accusations that Stiviano sought money from Sterling to stop her from releasing more recordings…Stiviano’s attorney has denied she leaked the recordings that set off the scandal, saying a friend did it without her permission.

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on May 4th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

In cinema and television, the goodies and baddies are usually distinctly different and in opposition to one another; the enemy of the baddie is a goodie, and anything done to bring down the baddie is automatically good.  But real life is rarely like that; in the real world, the enemy of a baddie is nearly always another baddie (often a worse one), and things done to bring down baddies often have such terrible implications for others that it really would’ve done less harm to simply let the baddie keep doing whatever it was he was doing.  As I’ve pointed out before, “Oppressions always start with those nobody is willing to defend.”   When civil rights are eroded to “catch” scoundrels, it’s never long before the precedent thus set is extended by stages to cover everyone; furthermore, when some awful behavior becomes acceptable for ordinary people who lack legal “authority” over others, it’s inevitable that government actors will start doing the same thing.  In the recent controversy over the leaking of billionaire Donald Sterling’s racist rules for his mistress,Sterling and Stiviano virtually all the media attention has been focused on his behavior, as though it were the whole story; in fact, nearly every person involved in the sordid affair has behaved abominably, and the episode is part and parcel of a deep illness in modern society.

Though many people have incorrectly cast this as an issue of censorship, it’s actually much more insidious.  As prominent free-speech attorney Marc Randazza explained,

The First Amendment protects you from the government punishing you because of your speech.  The NBA is a private club, and it can discipline Sterling all it wants…The First Amendment does not insulate you from criticism…Nevertheless…What happened to him may have been illegal and was morally wrong…In California, you can’t record a conversation without the knowledge or consent of both parties…We all say things in private that we might not say in public…Think about what [Sterling’s] public character execution means.  It means that we now live in a world where if you have any views that are unpopular, you…not only need to fear saying them in public, but…to fear saying them at all — even to your intimate friends.  They might be recording you, and then that recording may be spread across the Internet for everyone to hear…The Sterling story is not that we found a bigot and dragged him to the gallows in the middle of the marketplace of ideas.  The Sterling story is about how there is no more privacy.  We live in a world where you can share your intimate photos with your lover, and they will wind up on a “revenge porn” website.  We live in a world where our intimate conversations will be recorded and blasted to billions of listeners.  We live in a world where, say a gold digger can spy on her sugar daddy, and the world says that the creepy old guy is the bad guy…In this story, there are two villains.  Sterling represents the bad old days.  But Stiviano’s behavior represents the horrifying future…

Actually, I think Randazza grossly underestimates the number of villains here.  Since the entire media apparatus is already focusing on Sterling, I need not waste words on further commentary about him.  But what about his treacherous mistress, Vanessa Stiviano?  Let’s dispense with the “girlfriend” and “archivist” nonsense:  she is a courtesan, albeit an amateurish, unethical one.  She didn’t “fall in love” with him, and he wasn’t so impressed with her librarian skills that he gave her a Ferrari, two Bentleys, a Range Rover, a million-dollar Los Angeles duplex and $240,000 in cash.  Maggie the Librarian finds the claim that we share a profession preposterous, and Maggie the Whore finds the claim that we don’t equally so; both sides are outraged by her lack of professional discretion.  As an archivist she is duty-bound not to divulge private recordings, and as a harlot she is duty-bound not to divulge anything about her patron; if she has a moral issue with something he says or does, she needs to find another patron or another line of work.     

But there’s no evidence that she revealed the recording out of some high-minded principle of justice or primitive impulse to defend “her people” (Sterling’s comments were anti-black and Stiviano is half black).  Indeed, she claims that some other party stole the recording and sold it to the gossip website TMZ; if true, there are two more villains for our list.  However, Sterling claims that Stiviano released the tape herself in retaliation for his wife’s lawsuit against her (more next paragraph); specifically, it’s because Sterling and the LA Clippers basketball team (which he owns) have publicly embraced the suit and claimed that Stiviano “embezzled” her various fees and gifts.  Given that a settlement is already under negotiation to ensure that no more tapes are released, and that Stiviano appears to be shopping for a “kiss and tell” book deal, I find Sterling’s version far more credible.

About that lawsuit:  in this whore’s well-considered and experience-informed opinion, Rochelle Sterling launched it as a petty and ill-considered means of revenge against Stiviano, and her husband went along with it under threat that an expensive and embarrassing divorce would surely follow if he did not.  I say “petty” because the total value the wife seeks to steal from the mistress is a paltry $1.8 million; Sterling’s net worth is $1.9 billion.  In other words, she filed an aggressive and high-profile lawsuit for less than 1/1000 of her husband’s accumulated wealth…the equivalent of a middle-class wife suing an escort her husband saw once or twice.  In the past, wives had more sense than to risk the Streisand Effect by calling attention to their husbands’ dalliances; many now apparently lack the sense and dignity of their forebears, however, and have abandoned discretion entirely to the keeping of ethical sex workers.

The baddies listed so far represent only a miniscule fraction of the total number involved in this story.  Whether the tape was released by Stiviano herself or by this supposed third party she has declined to name, it was the existence of the tabloid media which made the release possible; however, those media are only commercially viable because of the public’s taste for the lurid and its jackal-like desire to watch and even participate in the humiliation or destruction of others.  If there were no audience for the salacious details of others’ private lives, no lust to fondle the dismembered bones of the skeletons in everyone else’s closets, there would be no tabloid press, no profitable gossip mills, and very little blackmail; unfortunately, we all have that shameful curiosity to some degree, so there will always be a ready market for stolen secrets.  At one time, discretion was the mark of a professional or a person of quality; now it’s increasingly becoming a quaint relic of the bygone past.  And though the mob may cheer when some awful person’s sins are exposed, it will react with equal exuberance when the blood on the sand is yours.

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