Craigslist CEO wants apology from attorney general McMaster

Staff Report
Published May 19, 2009

Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster is calling for an apology from S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, but the only thing Buckmaster is likely to get is a criminal charge of promoting prostitution in the state.

In a letter sent to Buckmaster on May 5, McMaster ordered to remove within 10 days the portions of its S.C. pages that deal with the solicitation of prostitution and the posting of pornographic material.

Previous coverage: McMaster tells Craigslist to remove illegal content

Also concerning the attorney general is the unrestricted access to pornographic pictures, which minors can view.

“Many of the classified and communication services on the Craigslist site provide the public with a valuable service,” McMaster said. “However, it appears that the management of Craigslist has knowingly allowed the site to be used for illegal and unlawful activity after warnings from law enforcement officials and after an agreement with 40 state attorneys general.”

McMaster said he has no choice but to go ahead with the investigation and prosecution.

However, Buckmaster said that McMaster is singling out Craigslist and that other Web sites, including The State newspaper’s online classifieds section, have as many solicitation ads as Craigslist, if not more.

“Many prominent companies, including AT&T, Microsoft and Village Voice Media — not to mention major newspapers and other upstanding South Carolina businesses — feature more ‘adult services’ ads than does Craigslist, some of a very graphic nature,” Buckmaster wrote in his blog.

In November, Craigslist entered into an agreement with 40 state attorneys general and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to enact safeguards to combat unlawful activity and improve public safety on the Internet classifieds service.

“As of (May 13) for all U.S. Craigslist sites, postings to the ‘erotic services’ category will no longer be accepted, and in seven days the category will be removed,” Buckmaster said. “Also, for all U.S. sites, a new category entitled ‘adult services’ will be opened for postings by legal adult service providers. Each posting to this new category will be manually reviewed before appearing on the site, to ensure compliance with Craigslist posting guidelines and terms of use. New postings will cost $10, but, once approved, will be eligible for reposting at $5.”

But that does not go far enough to please McMaster.

“The Craigslist South Carolina site continues to display advertisements for prostitution and graphic pornographic material. This content was not removed as we requested. We have no alternative but to move forward with criminal investigation and potential prosecution,” McMaster said on his Web site.

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Added: 20 May 2009

If you think McMaster is out of line, join the following Facebook group to show your support to Craigslist and to send McMaster a message about his actions:


Added: 20 May 2009

Outrageous! Nothing smells more putrid than a public official trying to make a name for himself by bullying good honest Americans. Hopefully the South Carolina AG will be reprimanded for bullying as was the Duke men's lacrosse team's false accuser---Durham's prosecutor--- a few years back. Both of these cases/threats are embarrassing to the good people of the Carolinas. Hopefully, he will not win any votes for acting liking a scumbag---and better yet, maybe he ends up in the long unemployment line as a consequence for abusing his power for self gain like the Durham prosector ( I don't want to know their names.)

geoff cutter

Added: 13 Jun 2009

he want a apology, before he get ones he need to apology, to us. Let Hate crime be done and him and his staff look the other way. When a person flags a posting that says email craig and it flagged by a person just because the psoting is in a gay section for men and his staff say they can do anything it a free add space. They will not look in to it get the person name and call the cop in your town. Tell me you dont get told who flad it. When will they take action when some one elese get killed. THis is not begin done any other town that craig has listed as far as I see. tell me Craig and CEO what are you going to do about it