Protesters marched to the offices of the Village Voice in New York yesterday, slamming the weekly paper for allegedly running ads for child prostitutes in its adult classified section, Backpage.com. Among the hundred demonstrators was the son of Norman Mailer, the paper's founder. "This was once a progressive paper, a people's paper, and to see it lose its credibility is heartbreaking," said John Buffalo Mailer. "He would not have approved of this at all." Protesters are calling for Backpage to be shut down.
Protesters piled up kids' shoes and presented a petition with some 250,000 signatures as part of the demonstration. "It's ironic that at its beginning, the Voice did exactly what we're doing today," fighting social ills, said a pastor. "Now, they're defending a revenue stream." The paper's operators say Backpage works with police to battle such advertising. The controversy began last August, when a team of attorneys general wrote to Backpage.com, saying its work against the ads was "ineffective," the AP reports. They cited 50 court cases in 22 states against alleged child traffickers who used Backpage. (Read more Village Voice stories.)