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Posts Tagged ‘California’

ICE has no reservations about covering its tracks to avoid accountability for its…human rights abuses.

Banishment (#435)

Habeas corpus? New York don’t understand that fancy Latin jazz:

New York’s top court upheld a law…that allows the state to keep [people tarred with the label “]sex offender[” indefinitely locked in filthy cages long]…after they have completed their sentences…the state Court of Appeals [pretended] the law didn’t violate due process guarantees, and did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment…In a 5-2 decision, Judge Eugene Fahey wrote for the majority: “We [pretend] that there was no constitutional violation”…

The Course of a Disease (#925)

The Spanish case of the Swedish rot is especially virulent:

…[Busybodie]s in one of Madrid’s eastern districts, Ciudad Lineal, have decided to…campaign for the removal of small flyers and brochures advertising [sex workers’ services]…in the first four hours of the activity some 1238 advertising materials were removed from the streets and vehicles.  [Puritans claimed that interfering with poor women’s ability to pay bills and feed their children during a pandemic is] good news…and [babbled a lot of tinned]…non[sense]…about treatment of women…[and “]the children[!”]…

For an added touch of irony, a notice at the end of this ugly propaganda claims that “TheMayor.EU stands against fake news and disinformation.”

Torture Chamber (#1022)

The government needs to be buried in lawsuits before this will stop:

Newly released federal data show a direct link between widespread sexual abuse in youth [prisons] and unprofessional behavior by staff…Just Detention International…says the findings detail how staff  “routinely crossed boundaries with [young people] prior to abusing them, in ways that should have been obvious to fellow staff and higher ups, including showing kids preferential treatment, sharing intimate details with them about their lives, and providing them forbidden items like alcohol and other drugs.”  Perpetrators most often targeted [youth] who identify as LGBT…[or] have disabilities…youth who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual were about twice as likely as their straight peers to be abused…nearly one in five [trans youth are]…sexually abused…[and more than one in five] who have a disability or mental illness…

Torture Chamber (#1025)

“Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, so I can torture and deport them”:

…Cameroonian and Congolese immigrants [were] subjected to physical…and [mental torture]…while [imprisoned] at Adams County Correctional Center (ACCC) in Mississippi.  The[y]…were coerced and tortured into complying with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [thugs] to fingerprint documents approving their own deportation.  These fingerprints, used in place of signatures, indicated the immigrants’ [supposed] consent to initiate deportation proceedings and waive their rights to further immigration hearings.  Three people provided firsthand accounts of the violent tactics ICE…used to obtain their prints, including pepper-spraying [them] almost to the point of suffocation, breaking their fingers, and subjecting them to further [violence]…in unmonitored rooms.  A joint complaint filed by FFI and the Southern Poverty Law Center cites eight cases of forced signatures or fingerprints on stipulated orders of removal, as well as several instances of violence…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1076) 

LAPD “bans” technology it’s already illegal to use in California:

The Los Angeles police department…has banned…facial recognition software and launched a review after 25 [cops] were accused of using it [illeg]ally to try to identify people…deputy chief John McMahon…noted that p[igs] were only allowed to [root in] the official LAPD ID system…and [that California banned any use] by [cops several months ago]…LAPD…used…Clearview AI…nearly 475 times…over a three-month period beginning at the end of 2019…an LAPD spokesman said [that even though cops ignored previous bans because they carry no criminal penalties, this time will be different even though the new ban is only a policy rather than a law and carries no criminal penalties either]…

Sheep and Goats

But don’t worry; this isn’t important because it’s just “white women getting a manicure”:

On most days, Juyoung Lee is the only person inside Beverly Nail Studio, the salon that she owns in Flushing, Queens…Like nail salons across New York City, her business [was forced by politicians] to close when the pandemic hit in March.  There was a brief surge in demand after the lockdown was lifted in July, but then appointments started dwindling.  Often, customers requested cheaper services.  Now, they hardly come at all.  The beauty industry in the city seemed well positioned to bounce back after restrictions ended.  After all, many customers had spent months without professional grooming.  But now, many of these businesses are on the verge of collapse — a drastic hit for an industry that is an economic engine for immigrant women…The New York Nail Salon Workers Association…said…“The work force is primarily immigrant workers living paycheck to paycheck, supporting children and in many cases sick and aging family members in their own countries”…

Welcome to the Future (#1092)

“Predictive policing” scams don’t spare minors:

Victorian police [are using] a secretive data tool that tracked youths and [pretends to be able to] predict…the risk they w[ill] commit crime…Between 2016 and 2018, police [stigmat]ised young people as “youth network offenders” or “core youth network offenders”…Once a young person was classified, police [harass them, accusing]…them…[of] crimes…and [then claiming their self-fulfilling prophecy]…is…95% accurate…

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I looked down there this morning at my willy and there’s a fucking flea bite on it.  –  Johnny Rotten

It’s not often that I laugh out loud at a video, even from The Onion, but this one was hilarious (at least to a literature nerd).  The links above it were provided by Amy Alkon, Jesse Walker (x3), Mike Chase, and Walter Olson, in that order.

From the Archives

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Smart people…[a]re better than dumber people at coming up with reasons to justify their false beliefs.  –  Cathy Reisenwitz

See No Evil (#424)

Censors have learned to use “progressive” rhetoric to cloak prudery:

A 26-foot-tall sculpture of Marilyn Monroe playfully patting down her upblown skirt is the source of a [moronic] debate in Palm Springs, California.  The town’s city council has approved the…recreation of the act[ress]’s iconic scene atop a blustery subway grate from…The Seven Year Itch—to be installed near the Palm Springs Art Museum for a three-year period.  But…[prudes, busybodies and censors are dis]pleased with the decision…the museum’s executive director…Louis Grachos [made furtive movements in his pants while bloviating weird fantasies about underwear]…“school-age children”…and [how the]…statue [magically] objectifies women…[thereby] “hurt[ing] our whole community”…Steven H. Maloney, chair of the museum’s board of trustees, [opined that women are so stupid that a painted hunk of metal constitutes]…“an unhealthy encouragement of risqué behavior of women”…

I have a hard time imagining what a lower opinion of women than that displayed by these pompous weeds would look like.

Policing Womanhood

Cathy Reisenwitz has further thoughts on the origin of whore-hatred in women:

As my friend and fellow sex worker Maggie McNeill points out, public polling suggests men are more likely to support sex work decrim than women…Maggie thinks that the main reason women oppose sex work decrim is that women tend to think of women’s individual behavior as reflecting on women as a whole and think sex work is a bad look…I think there’s truth to that, but it lacks an important class angle…middle-class white women began campaigning for laws against prostitution and defining any type of promiscuity as prostitution in the Progressive Era at the turn of the 20th century…Middle-class white women feared female economic independence threatened dominant middle-class values.  By making prostitution dangerous and illegal, middle-class white women sought to force working-class women, women of color, and immigrant women into marriage, chastity, monogamy, hard work, and propriety lest they live independently of men and destroy the social order…

To Molest and Rape (#825)

Rapist cops don’t only target women:

A man who [was raped by] a [typical and representative] South Carolina [cop]…is suing the city of Travelers Rest…The [cop], Shawn Jenkins, was fired from the [cop shop] last year after…[the] Sheriff’s Office…[only] charged [him] with second-degree sexual misconduct…The plaintiff, who filed the suit anonymously, told investigators Jenkins pointed a department-issued stun gun at him while he was visiting Jenkins’ residence on Aug. 5, 2019, and told him to “strip or be tased”…The [then-underage victm] tried to run away, but [Jenkins] locked [him] inside a room [and raped him]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#974) 

As long as cops suffer no consequences for disobedience, laws like this are mere political grandstanding:

In Maine, voters in the state’s largest city recently enacted one of the toughest facial recognition bans in the country in the Nov. 3 elections, outlawing both use of the technology by local police and the city government…the measure codifies – [but adds only weak] enforcement teeth – to a ban…passed in August by the Portland City Council…The new law allows citizens to sue the city for illegal facial recognition surveillance by the city police or government.  Citizens could get [a mere] $1,000 per violation plus legal fees, if they prevail in court.  Municipal employees [but not cops] can be fired [but not criminally prosecuted] for violating the [law]…

Welcome to the Future (#1073)

Pasco County, Florida’s “predictive policing” scheme doesn’t spare minors:

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office keeps a secret list of kids it [pretend]s could “fall into a life of crime” based on factors like whether they’ve been abused or gotten a D or an F in school…the list [is created] by combining the rosters for most middle and high schools in the county with records so sensitive, they’re protected by state and federal law…Four hundred and twenty kids are [currently] on the list…[cops do]n’t tell the kids or their parents about the designation…an[d]…school…[administrators claim to have been] unaware…of [it as well]…The Department of Children and Families [refused to] answer…the Sheriff’s Office…use[s the list] to [target]…middle and high school…[students for surveillance and harassment euphemized as] “mentorship” and “resources”…Ten experts in law enforcement and student privacy…called the program…a clear misuse of children’s confidential information that stretched the limits of the law…

Legislators Gone Wild (#1086)

Why are Nevada brothel whores unable to open their mouths without vomiting out toxic whorearchy?

…[brothel whores unemployed] because of COVID-19…say they are being forced to make money in what they call dangerous, scary and illegal ways…the long shutdown is depleting their savings and they’re going broke waiting to work again.  That is forcing some of them to turn to things they didn’t want to to make money, like illegal prostitution.  One…says…”it’s so degrading and so scary”…Another…admits to illegally meeting with a Mustang Ranch regular…she trusted him but…he beat and choked her…two [say they] decided to turn a trick in Arizona…but…the…man…ended up holding them hostage in the bathroom at gun point…The madams also say they’re seeing some of their workers walking the streets now with…pimps…”If you walk into a casino, the floor is filled with illegal prostitutes and pimps”…

Apparently these whores are both incompetent and cursed, so that in a few months they’ve experienced more violence than every escort I know put together has experienced in years.

Dangerous Speech (#1087)

It’s symptomatic of the government’s deep moral rot that she wasn’t automatically disqualified:

On Nov. 18, veteran newspapermen Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin took the extraordinary step of filing a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking it to intervene in their ongoing criminal case and order Judge Susan Brnovich to recuse herself from all future proceedings…her husband, Arizona Attorney General Mark…Brnovich, others on his behalf and organizations with which he is associated…have vilified Backpage, assumed its complicity in sex trafficking, and drawn conclusions about facts that will be at issue in the trial of Lacey, Larkin and their four co-defendants…[although] the AG’s inaccurate assumptions about Backpage go to the heart of the case and raise the specter of potential bias on behalf of the judge[, she has stubbornly refused to recuse herself]…

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We’re not…doing anything…criminal…It’s the laws that are criminal.  –  Emily, UK sex worker

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Just protecting and serving:

…[typical and representative Bakersfield, CA cops] Logan August and Derrick Penney pleaded guilty to a massive conspiracy in which they would arrest people for selling drugs only to turn around and use those drugs to enrich themselves.  These two [typical and representative] cops received probation only, for their crimes…last year August was charged — again — with with 15 felony counts, including conspiracy and burglary, in connection with stealing over 400 pounds of drugs from a sheriff’s storage locker and [selling] them…he…was sentenced to four years in prison…

The Course of a Disease (#606) 

Swedish model fanatics just won’t stop trying to impose their filth on the UK:

Dame Diana Johnson…[bloviated a lot of paternalistic nonsense claim]ing [that]…men in the UK who…[seek consensual] sex were “fuelling a brutal sex-trafficking trade that is destroying lives”.  She [also called websites which sell advertising space to sex workers] “pimping websites” [and said they] should be [magically] banned [even though the internet is international]…The Home Office said its priority was to…target…vulnerable people…[especially from] Romania…[on] BBC Radio 4’s Today programme [Johnson shared her sexual fantasies about passive, doll-like]…women trafficked to the UK…from Romania and…sold into the sex trade…

Like Houses

Naturally useful idiots are surprised, though this was as predictable as sunrise:

…[Columbia South Carolina]’s…hate speech ordinance…has been invoked seven times since it was enacted more than a year ago…five of six accused of using racial slurs are people of color.  One [other black] person is accused of derogatory language related to sexual orientation…lawyers for some of those charged [have pointed out that]…the new rule [criminalizes]…speech protected under the First Amendment…two of the accused [were] homeless [black men targeted by]…the same [cop]…

Stalkers in Blue

No woman is safe from sexually-aggressive cops:

A New Jersey [cop]…harass[ed a teenage girl with]…sexually explicit text messages…after he arrested her…Damien Broschart…arrested her on drug charges and several traffic violations…[then] deactivated his body camera and mobile video recorder and asked for her phone number…Broschart went on to send “sexually explicit messages” and tried to meet her at her home after his shift ended…but she refused and…blocked his phone number…he [then] called her three [more] times from the [cop shop phone] and left a message requesting a call back…she…instead reported [him]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#1004) 

As long as any part of sex work is criminalized, cops will have power over sex workers:

Hundreds of people have been arrested for [sex work using the pretext of “]brothel-keeping[“]…in the last four years under laws that sex workers [have repeatedly explained] put them at risk…While selling sex is legal in the UK, keeping a brothel – defined as more than one sex worker working from premises – is not…

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#1064) 

But this isn’t trafficking, no sirree:

U.S. border [thugs] have been expelling migrant children from other countries into Mexico…[using] the [pretext of] coronavirus…[even though] the terms upon which the Mexican government agreed to help implement the order…were that only Mexican children…who had adult supervision could be pushed back into Mexico after attempting to cross the border…children from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador [have been intentionally put] at risk by sending them with no accompanying adult into a country where they have no family connections…The expulsions, which appear to number more than 200 over the past eight months, reflect the haphazard nature with which many of the administration’s most aggressive immigration policies have been introduced…

You Were Warned (#1073)

Authoritarians all want the same thing, but please tell me more about “wings”:

The comforting anonymity in spaces made for and by queer or questioning people…is the first step for many in accepting their identities.  We take them for granted now, but the creation of these spaces was never preordained…The internet went in this direction because Congress chose to codify common law precedent and extend First Amendment protections to online communities and moderators…Section 230 established that legal liability for illegal content online should be aimed at the individual who shared it rather than the platform that hosted it.  It is based on the very reasonable principle that individuals, rather than the tools they use, hold responsibility for their own actions..[but] today, Section 230 is under the attack from…politic[ians]…at least 10 bills have been introduced to significantly alter Section 230…to…flip the current incentives for websites to allow speech…If I were a lawyer for Facebook or Reddit and Section 230 was revoked, I’d urge them to remove all content that had a hint of controversy to protect us from legal liability…That’s exactly what happened after Congress passed SESTA-FOSTA, which…made sex work far more dangerous…

Tissue of Lies (#1087)

Is the word “trafficking” missing here because of the pushback on other, similar scams?

A [so-called] rescue operation in Virginia resulted in [cops bragging about what they’re calling] the recovery of 27 missing children…[and infantiled young adults, mostly from non-custodial parents]…Deputy US Marshals l[abel]ed the five-day effort…”Operation Find Our Children.”  They collaborated with the agency’s Fugitive Task Force [because many of the arrested young people were actually fleeing abusive parents]…the…Deputy Attorney General [bloviated a great deal and bragged about how big the cops’ dicks are]…

To Molest and Rape (#1087)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

Rodney Vicknair was the first New Orleans [cop] to arrive at the scene when a 15-year-old girl reported being [raped], and he drove the teen and her mother to a hospital for a [rape kit].  But in later calls and meetings, his own agency says, Vicknair began [trying to seduce] the girl with compliments about her body, asked her for her underwear and [groped] her…Vicknair [was fired and arrested and faces up to 23 years in prison]…

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McCain and her ilk…never let facts get in the way of a good moral panic.  –  Julianna Piccillo

So Close and Yet So Far

Yes, sex workers are more likely to experience violence and coercion under Swedish criminalization than under most legalization regimes, including the British model which was used in Northern Ireland until the Swedish model was imposed there.  However, these sex workers are still adults and still capable of adult decision-making; they are not “children”, “victims”, “slaves” or whatever other fashionable dysphemim one cares to apply to them without their consent.  So if you’re a reporter who thinks you’re “helping” sex workers by calling attention to this increased violence, yet insist on calling their work “modern slavery”, I suggest you find something different to write about.

Honored in the Breach

A reminder that you shouldn’t let anyone shame you for refusing to vote:

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#911) 

Remember, this isn’t “human trafficking”, but consensual sex is:

Lawyers appointed by a federal judge to identify migrant families who were separated by the Trump administration say they have yet to track down the parents of 545 children, and that approximately two-thirds of those parents were deported to Central America without their children…Unlike the 2,800 families separated under [Trump’s] zero tolerance [policy] in 2018, most of whom remained in c[ages] when zero tolerance was ended…many of the more than 1,000 parents separated from their children under the [2017] pilot program had already been deported before a federal judge in California ordered they be found…

The Implosion Begins

The schadenfreude is so sweet, it almost hurts my teeth:

The Arizona…Republic‘s scribes outdid themselves recently in a piece comparing [“Cuckoo Clock” McCain]’s many years of peddling the moral panic of sex trafficking, to the…[fantasy] known as QAnon, which posits that a worldwide ring of Democratic elites sells minors for sex while feasting on the flesh of infants and undermining the presidency of Donald J. Trump.  Due to the rise of QAnon…anti-trafficking [profiteers] worry…there will be less [money to] support…the [rescue industry]…In other words, it’s a turf war, with all these unwashed newbies attempting to usurp the anti-trafficking throne currently inhabited by the widow of the late warmonger, Senator John McCain…the McCain Institute issued a statement condemning QAnon, while Cindy McCain took QAnon to task on Twitter for its “lies”…Talk about projection.  Aided and abetted, time and again, by mainstream news outlets, Cindy McCain has spread dangerous misinformation and myths about sex trafficking, citing debunked statistics, prevaricating about her own experiences, and falling back on racist tropes — all in a narcissistic bid to maintain her media profile…

Torture Chamber (#1066)

“Detention center” is just another euphemism for “prison”, and that means rape:

…since 2017, at least 265 calls…have reported violence and abuse inside California’s four…federal detention centers…Half [reported] sex crimes, including rape, sexual assault and abuse against detainees.  The rest were to report assault, battery and other threats of violence against [prisoners, mostly by] staff.  In only three cases…[was] a suspect…charged…and…[only] one…is pending.  [Since] prosecutors [a]re…[un]likely to pursue cases…what [has] emerged is…a system in which violence can be perpetuated against [prisoners] with impunity, [especially] by…[screws.  Prisoners a]re banned from calling 911…and forced to rely on [screws] to report a[ttacks by other screws]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1066)

Turning the police state’s own weapons against it:

…[because cops sent to suppress protests] are…tap[ing] over their name[s]…individuals…are…researching how to build a facial recognition product that could defeat [cop]s’ attempts to [hide] their identity…The authorities targeted so far have not been pleased.  The New York Times reported in July 2019 that Colin Cheung, a protester in Hong Kong, had developed a tool to identify [cops] using online photos of them.  After he posted a video about the project on Facebook, he was arrested…This month, the artist Paolo Cirio published photos of 4,000 faces of French [cops] online for an exhibit called “Capture,” which he described as the first step in developing a facial recognition app.  He…[was forced to take] the photos down after France’s interior minister threatened legal action but said he hoped to republish them…Last month, Andrew Maximov…uploaded a video to YouTube that demonstrated how facial recognition technology could be used to digitally strip away [cops’] masks….[but] it’s unclear if the matches are accurate…

I’m skeptical this will work if the cops wear balaclavas, as they so often do.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1071)

At least a few reporters seem to be beginning to get it:

…While Traffickinghub presents itself as “a non-religious, non-partisan effort,” the organizing force behind it is neither…the organization running the…campaign…is Exodus Cry, a far-right Evangelical group “prayed” into existence in a Missouri church, with the goal of abolishing the commercial sex industry entirely.  When Exodus Cry first emerged in 2007, it was little more than a weekly prayer group hosted by a man named Benjamin Nolot at the charismatic Christian enclave known, incredibly, as the International House of Prayer, or IHOP…In recent years, the group has transitioned into a new form of advocacy: making [fak]umentaries.  Their cinematic work has yielded Liberated: The New Sexual Revolution…about the [supposed] dangers of youth hook-up culture; [and] Seattle Bikini Baristas, about how “behind the intrigue of lingerie and java lurks a darker side”…IHOP (which was actually sued by the pancake chain in 2010 for trademark infringement; the case was later dropped)…[also stoked] the homophobia that led to Uganda’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality ActIHOP later rejected the association, but the church’s founder, Mike Bickle, has…claimed that…the “gay marriage agenda” is “rooted in the depths of Hell,” that Adolf Hitler was a “hunter” sent by God to punish the Jews, and that Oprah Winfrey is a footservant to the Antichrist

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They could give us condoms, but instead they offer us thoughts and prayers.  –  Thierry Schaffauser

Here We Go Again 

“Sex trafficking” propaganda has always been deeply racist:

There w[as] once [propaganda] that Chinese restaurants corrupted young, innocent women, leading them down a dark path of opium addiction and prostitution.  Several [prohibitionist organizations] spread this myth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries…the Boston Journal, November 1, 1903 [panted]…“The picture of a girl’s ruination through the medium of the Chinese restaurant is too horrible to depict…The Chinese restaurant is doubtless the most degrading phase of the great social evil…The suppression of the Chinese restaurant would mean the salvation of thousands of girls annually in America”…in January 1910,  [politician] John L. Donovan…filed a bill to prohibit women from entering Chinese restaurants unless they were over 21 years old and accompanied by a non-Chinese man…the bill was [of course] unconstitutional…[and] thus…rejected…but…[brought] forward once again [a year later with support from a prohibitionist]…doctor…William F. Boos[, who fantasized]…“More than 10% of the doctors of the United States, as well as many of their wives and many trained nurses, are addicted to the use of morphine, and numbers of Boston young women who patronize Chinese restaurants, because of a taste for chop suey and other characteristic Chinese dishes, end by becoming confirmed opium smokers in Chinese dives”…

Chop suey causes “sex trafficking”!

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Ever notice how often predatory cops’ targets are underage?

A Los Angeles [cop named]…Miguel Cabrera…met an[other cop fantasy role-playing]…as a 17-year-old girl on a mobile dating app [o]n…Oct. 21, 2019…Cabrera…[h]as [been] on [paid vacation for the past year]…

Deafening Silence (#427)

Commies are still enamored of the fantasy that sex work magically vanishes under communism:

…prostitution…was outlawed in…[East Germany], which referred to it as a “criminal refusal to take part in socialist life.” And to enforce the crackdown, the party looked to the Stasi, East Germany’s secret police force, which had 91,000 full-time staff and twice as many unofficial informants.  And yet…prostitution still existed…everywhere, all the time, with the knowledge, tacit agreement and even encouragement of the state and party leadership.  And as Axel Nixdorf reveals in his new documentary, Prostitution in the GDR: Socialism, Stasi, Sex, it not only brought in foreign currency, but also knowledge and power that could be used against individual citizens…certain hotels were an absolute market for sex — if you were paying with foreign currency, that is…In the harbor town of Rostock, the Free German Federation of Trade Unions ran the International Sailors’ Club, wh[ere]…only sailors with a valid shore pass — and women, of course — would be allowed entry to the establishment.  For Rostock historian Steffi Brüning, that is a clear sign that the state knew exactly what was going on at the club…

The Course of a Disease (#953)

Good long read on the havoc wrought by Swedish criminalization in France:

…[in] April 2016 [France imposed a prohibitionist regime based in Swedish criminalization, which]…is…why [Vanessa] Campos was working in a place where she could easily be killed…While sex work has taken place at the Bois de Boulogne for decades, it used to primarily occur on the outskirts of the woods –closer to other sex workers and roads full of light…When Campos died, many European countries paid attention to her murder.  France didn’t.  Despite the European sex worker community’s outrage and the clear line they drew between the law and her murder, only one French politician even bothered to comment…In the six months between June and December 2019 at least 10 sex workers were killed in France.  That’s double the already startling rate of one sex worker death per month that France had in 2014…the majority of France’s sex workers, multiple healthcare associations, and influential NGOs like Médecins du Monde [blame the law,] yet…the…official assessment of the legislation…[includes] not a single page…[on] how the law has affected sex workers at all…

Social Distancing (#1042)

Indian activists battle prohibitionism disguised as “public health”:

…the National Human Rights Commission [of India] has urged the government to recognise sex workers as informal sector workers and provide them access to welfare benefits.  The NHRC’s recommendation came in its “Advisory on Rights of Women” issued…as part of a series…in the wake of Covid-19…lockdown[s which]…led to a sudden loss of employment, particularly in the informal sector with no alternate sources of money, food or shelter and it has “disproportionately affected” women who comprise a substantial proportion of such workers…HIV positive sex workers are unable to access antiretroviral therapy…which are essential for their survival and many sex workers are outside the purview of government schemes as they lack identity documents…

Disqualified (#1077)

A look at Hacking/Hustling’s report on shadowbanning:

Shadowbans are complicated, in part because they don’t just impact marginalized users…the term itself gained mainstream prominence after President Donald Trump tweeted about it.  Nor are social media platforms transparent about their shadowbanning process, making it difficult to verify when a user is shadowbanned and when they aren’t.  So what are sex workers up against, and how are shadowbans impacting the American public at large?  The answer is as urgent as it is complex…

The Implosion Begins

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[COVID-19 schemes] are throwing the working class under the bus.  –  Dr. Martin Kulldorff

Don’t Take My Word For It (#592)

The Australian site Mama Mia, like the US site Jezebel, seems unable to make up its collective mind about sex work.  It has often published anti-sex work propaganda, like its notorious “Faces of Prostitution” article from March 2015 (which featured pictures of bruised, emaciated, drug-ravaged women accompanied with propaganda text from the notorious Christian anti-sex group “Exodus Cry”), or the October 2013 article in which it opined that for sex workers to have Amazon wishlists was “creepy” and “bizarre” (Jezebel wrote on the same topic the same week).  On the other hand, it also published several good articles by the late Grace Bellavue, and now this new one interviewing a male escort who caters to women, and one of his clients.  And of course Jezebel now features the pro-sex work writer Tracy Clark-Flory, so maybe there’s hope for both sites yet.

Unchristian Nation (#907)

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

Border Patrol [thugs abducted] 19 people [from] a No More Deaths camp near Arivaca, Ariz., on [October 4th]…12 were in the country without [document]ation…[and] the remaining seven…were No More Deaths volunteers…No More Deaths representatives described the incident as a “military-style” raid with a “massive show of armed force”…[including] “dozens” of trucks…and a [tank]…This was the second raid against the humanitarian camp south of Tucson, near the U.S.-Mexico border, this year, and along with the escalated actions, Border Patrol officials also amped up their rhetoric against the group, [referr]ing t[o] the organization[‘s]…saving lives…as “harboring” people…

Between the Ears (#923)

Yet another ill-conceived, internet-connected dick gadget:

…the Qiui Cellmate internet-connected chastity lock…works by allowing a trusted partner to remotely lock and unlock the chamber over Bluetooth using a mobile app.  That app communicates with the lock using an API.  But that API was left open and without a password, allowing anyone to take complete control of any user’s device.  Because the chamber was designed to lock with a metal ring underneath the user’s penis…it may require the intervention of a heavy-duty bolt cutter or an angle grinder to free the user…There is no emergency override function either…Qiui, based in China…missed the three self-imposed deadlines to fix the vulnerable API…Several user reviews of the app complained that the app [also] had bugs that would cause the device to stay locked…Qiui joins a long list of sex toys with security problems that inherently don’t exist in non-internet-connected devices…Practice safe sex; don’t use a smart device.

Counterfeit Comfort (#984)

Halloween has become a focal point for challenging “sex offender” awfulness:

Every year in the run-up to Halloween, Patch publishes maps showing the homes of “registered sex offenders” in various cities….[the fantasy] that…children might be molested while trick-or-treating…ha[s] no basis in reality, and these stories—like the warning signs and restrictions imposed by local police prior to Halloween—mainly serve to stigmatize people who have already completed their sentences, along with their spouses and children, who have committed no crimes at all.  That stigma invites harassment, vandalism, and violence…This fall a petition organized by the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) is urging Patch and other outlets to cut it out…the petition asks news organizations to “cease a hurtful publication practice that has no positive effect at all on child protection or public safety”…

Working From Home (#1032)

Another example of sex worker ingenuity:

…In early May, one [of the] dancer[s from the East Hollywood hipster strip club Jumbo’s Clown Room] named Gabrielle reached out to a few of her coworkers to create a virtual strip show…within 24 hours they launched Cyber Clown Girls, which has now become a twice-weekly three-hour show featuring current dancers and alumni from Jumbo’s, and other performers from exotic dance communities…the show has given the strippers a new sense of agency and empowerment in an industry that is notorious for taking advantage of women…The co-founders take turns hosting and performing in the virtual show.  Each follows a theme — “Star Wars,” disco and funk, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — and features a different lineup of dancers who perform two short pieces in their homes.  Some dancers use portable poles, and others make creative use of bathtubs, windowsills, cars or apartment corners transformed by a makeshift set.  Like an in-person strip club, viewers (about 100 for each show) are encouraged throughout the night to tip the dancers using payment platforms like Venmo or Cash App.  The tips are eventually pooled and split evenly among all the performers…

The Widening Gyre (#1046)

The more cops are forced to deny “sex trafficking” scary tales, the harder it will be for them to spread such tales themselves:

Mysterious white dots have been popping up on windshields of cars…in Chester County [South Carolina]…Most of the reports and calls say they are finding white dots on their windshields after going into the Walmart…A rumor started on social media saying it was linked to sex traffickers trying to mark your car [sic]…Deputies say there is no evidence linking any type of human trafficking…[people have spread similar silly rumors about] car windshields…in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama…

Quiet Genocide (#1058)

Are Western media finally going to stop tiptoeing around calling this what it is?

…the aim of China’s actions in Xinjiang is clear:  to homogenize Uighurs into the country’s Han Chinese majority, even if that means erasing their cultural and religious identity for good.  What is taking place is a cultural genocide.  The repercussions bear heavily even on Uighurs living outside of the country.  Their burden is more than just raising awareness about what is taking place in their homeland—a task many have taken up at great cost to themselves and their families.  It’s also about preserving and promoting their identity in countries where few people might know who the Uighurs are, let alone what the world stands to lose should their language, food, art, and traditions be eradicated…

Tissue of Lies

A few journalists are beginning to see the danger of “sex trafficking” propaganda:

Trevontae Shareef…didn’t know that his girlfriend of seven months was a runaway from state foster care…until…a dozen [heavily-armed pigs and spooks barged into]…his mother’s house…and…searched [it without permission] until they found the 17-year-old girl hiding under furniture in the garage…They allowed a TV news crew to tag along for the raid and record footage…as [the thugs dragged] Shareef and his mother’s fiancé, Kirk Waters, outside and handcuffed them…Public announcements about the operation, vague on details but full of loaded terms, led to weeks of social media [hysteria] about…a [fantasized] child sex trafficking ring in Georgia…The Atlanta Journal-Constitution examined the criminal charges…and found that, by combining a variety of cases, [pigs intentionally and maliciously] fostered a false perception that confused the public and…harmed [innocent] people…

Social Distancing (#1080)

I’m glad prominent physicians are starting to weigh in on this, at long last:

Martin Kulldorff, Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and leading figure in the field of infectious disease epidemiology, argues…[that] lockdowns result in too much collateral damage…and impose unreasonable costs on the working class and the young in particular …”For older people this is much worse than the annual flu.  For children the risks are much less than the annual flu…We don’t close schools because of the annual flu.  We don’t ban people from driving cars because there are people who die in car accidents.  We let people live normal lives with standard precautions…As a scientist I have worked with infectious disease outbreaks for a couple of decades.  Then suddenly in the spring, I was hearing that we should “follow the science” by doing something that I think is contrary to science. That was absolutely stunning to me…among…infectious disease epidemiologists, the majority are in favour of an age-targeted strategy.  A minority are in favour of lockdowns and contact tracing”…

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Pleasure can never be free.  –  Moroccan saying

Surplus Women

Your regular reminder: this isn’t confined to the US:

On 9 April, sex worker and activist Robyn Montsumi was arrested on a drug charge…in Cape Town.  A few days later she died in [what cops claim was]…suicide by hanging…artist Clinton Osbourn…created a life-size portrait of Montsumi…laminated it and put it up on a pole near the Mowbray police station…

Osbourn is hopelessly naive if he thinks cops will be “haunted” by a portrait of one of their victims; if they had consciences, they wouldn’t commit the crimes they regularly revel in committing.

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Police closed off the Longport area of Canterbury for several hours…following a report of…a woman [o]n the property…armed [thugs] were s[ent in while]…a police helicopter hover[ed] overhead…a woman in her 50s [w]as [th]en arrested on suspicion of immigration offences…[cops claim] the address may have been used as a brothel…

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

Raymond Rodio III…was [sentenced to 9.5 years for]…charges including sex trafficking and promoting prostitution.  After he completes his prison sentence, Rodio must register as a sex offender…“sex dungeon…sex slavery,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini [drooled, claiming that]…Rodio recruited women through social media, got them hooked on heroin or crack cocaine and forced them to have sex with men in the basement…Rodio operated the ring for about four years, victimized more than 20 women and forced some to use a bucket instead of a toilet…Rodio’s parents may have known “something untoward” was going on, but not necessarily that their son was running a prostitution ring…They were not charged with a crime…

A “ring” with only one member?  Were the 20 “victims” in one basement, or did he only have one “slave” at a time (and if they could quit, how were they “slaves”?)  And the parents somehow had no idea?  Reeeeeeeeeeally now.

Lower Education (#778)

California seems determined to completely eliminate due process in rape cases:

[California] Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed…[a law] to ensure California colleges and universities [deny due]…process [to] all students [accused of] sexual assault…in direct response to the Trump administrations’ attempts [to roll back the due-process-banning “guidelines” set forth in the infamous “Dear Collague” letter of 2011]…SB 493 will require state-funded colleges and universities to [refuse the protections enshrined in] common [law for centuries, despite the fact that minority students are disproportionately the subjects of rape allegations which lack the evidence to be supported in actual court]…On May 6…Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released new federal Title IX regulations that require schools to allow direct cross-examination of [accusers as in any other US criminal case], and would…raise the standard of evidence [back] from…preponderance of the evidence…to “clear and convincing” evidence, which is [still much lower than the burden of proof in other criminal cases.  Many]…lawsuits have already been filed challenging [expulsions and other punishments obtained under] the [Obama-era] Title IX regulations, including [75 in California alone and] a [class-action] lawsuit [against Michigan State University]

Naked Truth (#956)

Despite attempts to infantilize them as “victims”, Moroccan women know better:

…one of th[e] things that girls learn in Moroccan society…is [to]…enforce [a cost] when establishing almost any love and/or sexual bond with boys, and something that…married and divorced women tend to hold…[arranged] marriages…coexist…with the criminalization of [any] sexual relations outside of marriage…Consequently, there is a market for intimacy in which enjoyment is negotiated…the French-Moroccan anthropologist Mériam Cheikh has dedicated a doctoral thesis…[to] “the girls who go out”…the elegant euphemism [used] to designate prostitution practices, both professional and [casual]…the audacity in Cheikh’s research…is to…conclude that, in reality, the negotiations of sexuality are nothing more than a scale in the continuum of the bond between men and women that also includes marriage

Social Distancing (#1035)

Some of us have been saying this since March:

On 23 March, Boris Johnson locked down the [UK]…It would last for three weeks, he said, and it had one simple aim: to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed by Covid cases.  Six months on…A quarter of the population is still under lockdown.  The rest of us are living under the most stringent social rules in living memory…Riot police are violently shutting down anyone who protests against this new authoritarianism…And…we are heading for the largest recession on record, with millions of jobs on the line…arbitrary rules are introduced by government decree…people can be fined for visiting loved ones…ministers make statements about who we can hug…there is serious talk of Christmas being cancelled…why did we shift from temporarily protecting the NHS from a spike in Covid to protecting all people from ever catching the virus?…how come you can gather in groups larger than six at work but not in a pub?…those of us…who have taken a critical approach…are often caricatured as not taking Covid-19 seriously…but…one of the key problems with a society-wide lockdown was precisely that it distracted society’s focus from the more targeted policies required to protect…the elderly and the vulnerable…It increasingly seems that the…freezing of economic life, the tight control of social life, and the halting of certain health services…could prove more harmful than the disease itself…

Social Distancing (#1045)

Like its neighbor the Netherlands, Belgium only pretends to respect sex workers:

Brussels’ sex workers are angry that they were not consulted before the City…sprung a prostitution ban on them on [September 28th, using the excuse]…of the coronavirus…the ban not only concerns street prostitution…but also sex work in…rendez-vous hotels…Maxime Maes of sex worker union UTSOPI [said]…“The virus is just an excuse.  This is not about the coronavirus, but about longstanding issues with the people living in those districts”…referring to how neighbourhood committees have repeatedly attempted to have several hotels in the Alhambra district closed…

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What we really need are safe and legal ways for sex workers to do what millions of Americans depend on them for.  –  Kate Zen

Under Every Bed 

Population 23,639:

…Guardians of the Children hosted a walk and candlelight vigil to raise awareness about child exploitation…[and] human trafficking…[but because North] Platte [Nebraska has no actual “sex trafficking” the members conflated it with]…child abuse [so they could claim at least a few hundred]…cases…

The Widening Gyre (#786)

When a headline writer doesn’t actually read the article first:

…historians offer a…thesis for the purpose QAnon serves.  The “nocturnal ritual fantasy”—a term coined by the historian Norman Cohn in his landmark study of European witch trials, Europe’s Inner Demons—is a recurring trope in Western history.  And it is often a politically useful one.  Deployed by the Romans against early Christians, by Christians against Jews, by Christians against witches, by Catholics against “heretics,” it is a malleable set of accusations that posit that a social out-group is engaged in perverse, ritualistic behaviors that target innocents—and that the out-group and all its enablers must be crushed…

Apparently, New Republic editors are so fixated on the “left-right” fantasy, and the belief that all social evils proceed from “The Right”, that they’re willing to characterize the Romans, the Christians, and the great majority of 1980s and 1990s Americans as “The Right” in order to cram an article into that paradigm.

Guinea Pigs (#955)

Just a reminder that this privacy-destroying abomination started as a means of spying on sex workers:

Palantir…promises t[o]…create clarity and order.  But to deliver, its software needs data — lots of it.  Now, two never-before-seen documents, “Intermediate Course” and “Advanced Course” training manuals, reveal how the Los Angeles Police Department has taught its [thugs] to use Palantir Gotham…At great taxpayer expense, and without public oversight or regulation, Palantir helped the LAPD construct a vast database that indiscriminately lists the names, addresses, phone numbers, license plates, friendships, romances, jobs of Angelenos — the guilty, innocent, and those in between.  LAPD’s Palantir database includes information from the DMV…[and] 1 billion pictures taken of license plates from traffic lights and toll booths in Los Angeles and neighboring areas.  If you’ve driven through Los Angeles since 2015, the police can see where your car was photographed, when it was photographed, and then click on your name to learn all about you…

Thou Shalt Not (#971)

Pregnant women are easy targets for crypto-moralists:

Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should completely avoid caffeine, according to a study published in The British Medical Journal.  Its findings, though, were quickly picked apart by skeptics who are sick of women being warned that almost everything they do…is a risk to their kids.  “I don’t think we need to worry about coffee,” says Clare Murphy…[of] the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. “I think we need to worry about this relentless pursuit of pregnant women and regulating of pregnant women’s choices”…the paper…is…a meta-analysis of several earlier studies…conducted by James E. Jack, a professor of psychology at Reykjavik University whose life’s work seems to be excoriating caffeine…in a culture enamored of shame and blame, especially when it comes to moms, it is this kind of research that gets funding and attention…Murphy says that her country’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently published guidelines “whereby they want a woman’s entire alcohol history through the entire pregnancy—from a glass of beer they had before they knew they were pregnant—to be all documented and transferred onto a child’s health record.”  The clear implication is that anything a mom does can and will be held against her if a child exhibits problems…

The Implosion Begins

Cops will embrace any belief, no matter how bizarre, which gives them more power:

…what if the cop patrolling your neighborhood held bizarre and unsubstantiated views?  What if…he…was watching videos…[claim]ing that a satanic cabal of high-profile…pedophiles is running the world’s most insidious sex ring?  Or was swiping through memes popularizing …[fantasies] about kidnapped children kept in underground tunnels so their blood can be harvested to help keep wealthy people alive?  And what if they sincerely believed it all?  In a small but growing number of places across the country…[cops] have endorsed QAnon, [just as they endosed “sex trafficking” hysteria from which it sprang]…

Working From Home (#1070)

We’re way past the watershed when a prominent sex worker activist gets a network news byline:

Sex workers are the majority of creators on [OnlyFans], and here was a celebrity coming in and making more in a day than they could in a year.  Many sex workers rely on [the site] as their sole source of income during the pandemic, as in-person encounters became unsafe.  But what especially angered workers was how [former Disney star Bella] Thorne caused a wave of chargebacks that “broke OnlyFans”…[by] promising a $200 pay-per-message nude photo that she then shied away from sending…Shortly thereafter, OnlyFans…limit[ed] max subscription and tip payments and extend[ed] payout time by 23 days in 14 countries where fraud risk is deemed highest…To rub salt in the wound, Thorne’s sister Kaili responded to the controversy by seeming to dismiss and shame sex worker concerns…while the scandal has mostly died down, the problems it revealed remain worthy of our attention, especially as we head into fall and winter without a clear end to the…pandemic in sight…

Tissue of Lies

As I predicted almost 9 years ago, these debunkings are becoming common:

…The myths spread about human trafficking are endless.  Every year viral headlines claim the Super Bowl (and other major sporting events) are hotbeds for human trafficking.  This has been debunked for years.  The vast majority of sex workers get into the industry through friends or social activities, not through coercion of pimps.  There are ads to fight human trafficking in airports all over the country, despite there never being a confirmed case in one (but many cases of interracial families are reported)…These myths will continue feeding conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and QAnon until there’s a cultural effort to share the truth.  Human trafficking has been marketed as a national problem for decades and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars both publicly and privately, yet still has no credible studies showing the numbers of victims, no proof there’s a nation-wide crisis, and scarce evidence that current solutions help the underlying problems at all…

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If your fantasies offend the police…you can be destroyed.  –  Marty Klein

Tales from the Dark Side

In a world where prosecution for thoughtcrime has become a grim reality, it might be wise to restrict such discussions to fully-anonymized online accounts“:

…You are NOT free to fantasize about sex that is illegal.  If you do, and you’re caught, you will have to prove you do not actually want to do those things.  This is almost impossible…if two people email or text about [ageplay]…and the digital trail falls into the hands of the police, the person playing the adult role in the fantasy could be in big trouble…There are police departments in every state with units devoted to finding people who fantasize online about adult-child sex.  They have huge budgets and almost unlimited power.  These [cops] are going undercover in ADULT chatrooms…looking for people to arrest…they invite the hobbyist—whom they [pretend]is a predatory criminal—to meet for…legal sex….[with] an adult…[and when] he does…he is arrested for allegedly intending to have sex with a child

The Maze of Consent

An excellent essay on the deeply misogynistic basis of modern “consent” dogma:

…the notion that sexual contact is degrading to women has become wrapped up in the contemporary progressive language of trauma and consent…For all its protestations about how hot consent can be, the progressive discourse surrounding sex is markedly unsexy.  Amid the obsession with power, oppression and the ever present threat of harm, the notion of desire (or, heaven forbid, fun) all but disappears…This laser-focus on consent effectively recasts sex itself as a dangerous act, to be undertaken with extreme caution and only if absolutely necessary…men are increasingly seen as predators almost by default, while women are cast as helpless, even infantile.  (Witness the rise of the word “grooming,” previously reserved for sexual predation of children, as something done to women in their twenties)…young people are now being taught to expect absolute emotional safety in sex, love and courtship at all times—and that if they feel hurt, disappointed or betrayed, it means they’ve been violated…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#831)

“Legalization” of sex work always features weird, arbitrary laws written by obsessive bureaucrats:

Toronto will no longer force workers at body rub parlours to keep their doors unlocked—a win for sex worker safety…Toronto bylaws prohibited…parlours…from keeping their doors locked, so that inspectors could [barge in at will and without warning]…the rules [predictably] led to thefts, abuse, and even death..By locking doors, workers are now able to screen people entering their businesses…In February, Ashley Arzaga…was [murdered] by a 17-year-old man who entered her North York spa with a machete…60 avoidable robberies targeted body rub parlours [in the past year]…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#991)

Laws are for the peasantry, not the rulers:

The preferential treatment afforded to [Randal] Woolery wasn’t mentioned in the de[ferential coverage by bootlicking media like the Seattle Times]…But [it was sharply criticized in The Honest Courtesan] and…[now that the] public…[is clamoring for greater] police accountability…the [mainstream media are finally getting around to talking about it almost a year later]…Unlike the four other men arrested in the sting that night, Woolery avoided having…an “embarrassing situation” fully videotaped…The p[ig] also wasn’t taken in handcuffs to a [filthy sty] to await booking…[and] didn’t spend any time behind bars that [or any other] night…Woolery…has been [on paid vacation ever since, with]…his case [conveniently] postponed [using the excuse of] the coronavirus pandemic…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1016) 

Why I keep telling you local laws banning surveillance technology are feel-good bullshit:

The Los Angeles Police Department has used facial-recognition software nearly 30,000 times since 2009, with hundreds of [pigs rooting through]…a massive database of mugshots [in search of people to pin “crimes” on]…the LAPD has consistently denied having records related to facial recognition, and at times denied using the technology at all.  The truth is that, while it does not have its own facial-recognition platform, LAPD personnel have access to facial-recognition software through a regional database maintained by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  And [were that database banned, they could simply fall back on secret resources such as FITlist]…

Dangerous Speech (#1031)

A judge reverses one iota of the government’s persecution of two journalists:

The FBI [was] recently [forced to] return…scores of personal possessions belonging to veteran newspapermen Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin as the result of a judge’s finding that the bureau violated their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure when it…raided the men’s homes at gunpoint two years ago…Judge Susan Brnovich found that certain categories of items listed in the FBI’s 2018 warrant applications were “impermissibly vague”…the FBI’s warrant affidavit sought “evidence of wealth” from January 1, 2010 to the date of the search.  “Nothing suggests that Lacey and Larkin’s homes were filled solely with items obtained solely from illegal proceeds or to suggest that Backpage.com was being run out of their homes,” Brnovich writes. “Both individuals were successful and wealthy before 2010.”  And yet, prosecutors have contended that Lacey and Larkin’s affluence was wholly derived from the alleged crimes of conspiracy, money laundering and the facilitation of prostitution through the online listings giant Backpage.com, which the two men sold in 2015…

Quiet Genocide (#1058)

Oh look, someone in Hollywood appears to have grown a spine:

Judd Apatow is refusing to let Hollywood off the hook for allowing itself to be censored in…China in order to reap financial rewards…the…director said studios would shoot him down if he ever pitched a movie about a man who escapes Chinese concentration camps…Disney has recently come under fire for filming part of its live-action Mulan film in Xinjiang and using the film’s end credits to thank [the Communist propaganda ministry for]…the region…In addition to censoring content, Hollywood studios have also included China-friendly content in certain films in order to guarantee a theatrical release in the country…When filmmakers take a stand against China (see Quentin Tarantino refusing to edit out the Bruce Lee scene in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), their films are blocked from the country and risk losing a significant percentage of their box office…

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