Last night I had an exchange on Twitter with Chance Trahan, the business partner of Craig Brittain and co-founder of the "Is Anybody Down?"/Takedown Lawyer extortionate scam that represents an effort to monetize humiliation of women for the pleasure of sick freaks.
I had sent Chance a tweet a few days ago asking him who "David Blade" is; he responded with a torrent of all-caps meatheaded abuse. He's taken down the account now, but this screencap (courtesy of Something Awful forum goon E4C85D38) you can get a flavor of a bit of it:
Among other things, he said that he would be releasing an "app" to fight me on the site he and Craig Brittain have put up (that's the one saying that Marc Randazza and I have been paid $350,000 each in porn industry mafia blood money to oppress them) and called me a bully. He also called me a FAT TREND KILLER, which I think he meant as an insult.
(Craig and Chance have also attracted the attention and support of the floridly ill and evil Crystal Cox, who has used the occasion to put up a slew of new sites attacking me and my firm, which — by the way — has nothing to do with this blog.)
Chance's cry of "bully" echoes Craig's. This illustrates something I've long observed — as a nerdy, mouthy fat kid getting picked on, as a prosecutor going after con men, as a lawyer doing both criminal defense and civil litigation: nobody whines about bullying more than a bully. Craig Brittain and Chance Trahan gleefully created and promoted a site that puts up misappropriated or fraudulently obtained nude pictures of women, adds their names and hometowns and contact information, encourages their verminous audience to harass the women, then chortles when the women beg or threaten to get the pictures taken down. Moreover, they've added fraud and extortion to that sick cruelty, first with the bogus lawyer "David Blade" offering to get pictures taken down for money, and now with the equally fraudulent "Takedown Hammer" calling themselves an "independent third party team" that will take pictures down for money. Yet they are able to imagine themselves as victims in the affair. It resembles classic mewling sociopathy.
I discovered something a bit disturbing last night. Someone showed me that Chance Trahan puts pictures on the internet showing that he has a very cute young daughter. I'm sure he loves her very much. I'm sure she loves him. Despite the fact that he's wantonly cruel, and a meathead, it would not surprise me at all to learn that he's a doting and tender parent. But somehow Chance Trahan is able to separate, in his mind, that little girl, and her mother, and his mother, and any other women he's ever cared about, from the women being humiliated and abused on "IsAnybodyDown?" He's able to put them in a separate category when his site posts women's phone numbers so people drooling over their pictures can call them incessantly. He's able to but them in separate categories when his site posts mocking posts about takedown requests.
But Chance Trahan's daughter is a human being, with feelings, and so are the people depicted on the site. So let me ask you, Chance: when your daughter is old enough to understand — say, 14 — and she asks you if you are proud of what you did with "Is Anybody Down?" and "The Takedown Lawyer?", how would you respond? If your daughter, as a teen, made a stupid young mistake that too many girls have recently and sent an explicit picture to a boy, and he sent it to a site like yours, would you be able to put that in a separate category, too?
I believe that people generally are not all good or all bad; I believe that "good people" are capable of cruelty and "bad people" capable of kindness. I think we're all broken, which comes out to different degrees. Despite that belief, my own brokenness is sometimes expressed by treating people as all bad — and exposing them to easy and occasionally cruel ridicule — when I write about them on this site. But like Chance, I have children that I love. Just as I can imagine my daughters being victimized by a site like this, I can imagine any of my three children, through their own brokenness, falling into a course of evil and cruelty like Craig and Chance have. I would be disappointed and humiliated but still love them, and would hope that others would still recognize their innate humanity — as I sometimes fail to do in writing about bad behavior on this site. A critic might say that when I write about bad actors on this site, I put them in a different category than myself and my kids, something like (though to a very different agree) Chance does with the women his site abuses. So let me make this clear: I'd be happy to take down this series of posts about Craig and Chance and their fraud and extortion and cruelty if they decide to stop doing what they are doing and spare the women on their site and take down their sites. I still believe that more speech — like this — is one of the best ways to address bad behavior, and that exposing bad actors is effective and appropriate. But I also believe, ultimately, in mercy for people who stop doing evil.
Chance, I recognize you as a fellow father, and human being, in the pictures of you as a proud father with a beautiful little girl. I ask you: look at her, then look at those sites, and make the decision to take them down. I will, in turn, take down these posts, and also apologize to you as a fellow human being for the cheap shots I have taken in the course of exposing what you're doing — because I've done wrong things, too. Craig, I don't know if you have children. But you seem to have a decent family made up of admirable people who have done good things, and I'm sure you love them and they love you. Look at them, and look at your sites, and decide if this makes you proud, and I will do the same.
But if you don't — I won't stop working with Marc Randazza to help the women you're treating that way, and I won't stop talking about your fraud and extortion, and I won't stop fighting you.
Update: I've just read an email exchange between "David Blade" and a victim. Never mind. Murum aries attigit.