The backlash against Village Voice Media's ownership of Backpage.com continues with a group of high-profile musicians speaking out against the controversial website of online classifieds accused of enabling sex-trafficking.
Alicia Keys, members of Pearl Jam and Alabama Shakes, and Talib Kweli are just a few of the musicians rallying for Village Voice to shutdown the classifieds. REM's bassist Mike Mills said in a statement:
Village Voice Media has a history of being a strong advocate for the arts, reporting extensively on musicians and their work in its 13 weeklies across the country. That musicians are now speaking out against Village Voice Media’s refusal to take down the Adult section of Backpage.com where pimps advertise the sale of girls for sex is significant and should send a clear message to the company that it needs to take action to ensure no child is sexually exploited through use of its site.
Other musicians speaking out include Daniel Bedingfield, Rosanne Cash, and The Roots.
One of Backpage's most vocal critics has been New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who has written several scathing editorials lashing out against Village Voice for accounting for "70 percent of prostitution advertising among five Web sites."
In response, Village Voice has cheekily dimissed Kristof's claims as part of an "uninformed crusade," accusing the two-time Pulitizer-winning journalist of failing to adhere to New York Times' standards of journalism.
Shortly following Kristof's March editorial, the son of novelist Norman Mailer (who co-founded The Village Voice) gathered outside the newspaper's offices to protest Backpage.
John Buffalo Mailer expressed his disappointment to The Associated Press saying, "This was once a progressive paper, a people's paper, and to see it lose its credibility is heartbreaking. He would not have approved of this at all."