As you know, the big topic in the gay porn universe this past week has been the federal raid on Rentboy.com in New York, and the arrest of six of its employees as well as CEO and founder Jeffrey Hurant. Now, porn industry advocacy group the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) has issued a statement calling the raid “not only a violation of the free speech rights [of Hurant], but also for those men who advertised on the site.”
Hurant is most likely to be the primary person targeted for prosecution although the other six remain in danger of serving prison sentences themselves unless prosecutors strike deals with them to drop charges in exchange for information.
Thus the FSC is focusing their attention on trying to help Hurant with his own defense, which could be costly and for which he now has no financial means to support it, with all of his assets having been frozen by the government.
Per the FSC’s statement:
Unfortunately, we in the adult industry have plenty of experience with these raids. From our inception as a legal business in the late 60s, adult filmmakers and workers have been surveilled, censored, raided and harassed by law enforcement units from vice squads to the FBI. In the past few years, adult performers, producers and service providers have protested as their bank accounts were shut down, their health records subpoenaed and their right-to-work violated by misguided moralists. No matter what the tactic, the goal is the same – push us into the shadows and silence our voices.
Our industry is diverse; many of us have different needs and concerns. Time after time, this has been used to divide us; performers against providers, producers against performers, straight against gay. However, it is clear that if we do not unify in the face of these assaults, the industry we have all worked so hard to build will crumble. Instead, our differences should be our strength our unity in the face of censorship, our secret to survival. At times like these, it is more important than ever that we amplify each others voices and come to each others defenses, even when it means a risks to ourselves.
Jeffrey Hurant was not a member of the Free Speech Coalition. However, we stand in solidarity with anyone who find themselves targets of government censorship. With his assets seized, Jeffrey is incapable of mounting even a basic a legal defense.
They’re hoping others in the adult industry, be they gay or straight, will see that “Every time the government successfully silences one of us, it is easier for them to silence the next,” and will therefore come to Hurant’s aid.
You can donate to Hurant’s defense fund here, via RentBoyFund.org, where donations will go to help pay the legal fees of the Walters Law Group and other lawyers in San Francisco and New York who have agreed to help defend Hurant. They will also go to help with basic living expenses for Hurant.