Here’s a little story I’ve wanted to tell for the last two or three years, since it happened.

There are things I won’t do for money.

An unapologetic client contacted me, very concerned because he had appeared on the National Blacklist. He was never my client. I’d first met him while stripping. I never danced for him. He was a fixture at the club and often I’d have a couple drinks with him and listen to his [likely embellished] stories. We sort of kept in contact when I became an escort and once I had dinner with him (in 2008?). He always offered for me to have dinner with him and hang out whenever I was in Dallas but we all know how I feel about hanging out for free with someone who is not part of my life and who simply wants an audience.

He was upset because an escort had retired and when she did, she posted all her collected blacklist clients. He (and other hobbyists) felt she did it for “revenge.” No, you morons, she did it so that she would be safe from retaliation and not destroy her business by being honest and warning other girls.

He wanted me to contact the NB and have his entry removed because he mistakenly thought I had some sort of pull with them. While I can guess who runs it, I don’t personally know them and don’t pretend that I do. I certainly wouldn’t waste any hard-won influence on getting a blacklist entry removed.

Not only do I have no idea what he’s really like behind closed doors, I’m not about to gainsay another girl’s experience. I give references for my clients but I also recognize everyone could have a vastly different experience than I do (and vice versa). If any man has made a blacklist, I’m pretty sure there was a good reason for it and I’ll believe her over him every single time, even if I have no idea who “she” is.

He then insulted me by offering to pay me for my efforts. That ended the conversation (not that it was going to last much longer).

You can buy my time. In some situations, you can buy sex with me. You can buy books from me. I’d love it if media paid me for interviews. I can’t think of anything else that I’m selling, so that’s the list of what you can buy from me.

You cannot buy me off. You cannot offer me money to invalidate another girl’s experience. Even before I became involved in the sex worker rights movement, it wasn’t an option. It certainly isn’t now.

Hos before bros.

Every. Single. Time.

14 thoughts on “hos before bros

  1. Awesome! You rock (and you make the world a better place). He, on the other hand, sounds like an entitled, arrogant, brat.

  2. Amanda,

    Thank you for this post. It’s something every girl who works really needs to read. While most wouldn’t sell out we also know that there are girls who do take the money and give a bad client a pass.

    And because of that other girls down the line get hurt or worse. Clients that harm escorts are predators. Often times they harm us because they know that because of the way we are viewed legally and in a societal perspective that they can get away with it.

    Often times we only have each other. Kudos for bringing up this important point and more importantly for your perspective.

  3. Serra — Thank you! In a country where we’re very marginalized, sex workers have to put safety first, even if it’s not their own butts on the line.

  4. Amanda, if I might ask you a question? You state, I’d love it if media paid me for interviews.” Why do you believe you should be paid?

    There are several things wrong with the practice of “checkbook journalism” and foremost is when you pay a source, what have you bought for the money?

    “Exchanging money when you’re looking for information from a source changes the nature of the relationship between the reporter and the source,” Andy Schotz, chairman of the Society of Professional Journalism’s ethics committee says.

    “It calls into question whether they’re talking to you because it’s the right thing to do or because they’re getting money.”

    Schotz says reporters thinking about paying sources for information should ask themselves: Will a paid source tell you the truth, or tell you what you want to hear?

    Paying sources creates other problems. “By paying a source you now have a business relationship with someone you’re trying to cover objectively,” Schotz says. “You’ve created a conflict of interest in the process.”

    I can respect that not only is a escort’s time valuable, she is paid for her time. However, once a journalist begins paying for access, where’s the line drawn? Does paying a fee for an interview allow me to contact the compensated subject for a follow-up question or during editing revisions?

    I won’t say I would never pay for an interview because they story might be so compelling and important there might be a reason to do so. However, there are valid reasons why a journalist paying for interviews is as bad an idea as a escort giving out freebies.

  5. Jeff — Simple reason: they lie to me about how the finished product is going to turn out, they lie to me about promoting my books (the sole reason I do these interviews in the first place), and they require enormous amounts of my time/energy. I’m a sex worker. I get paid for that. Period.

    I’ve heard the whole argument you present here from journalists themselves. Trust me, there is no integrity behind them getting my time/energy for free. None. They’re just getting what they want and I’m not getting anything of what I want.

    If you need further clarification, read my posts on doing media, this blog has several. Or, put yourself in my shoes. Being paid would make the exchange honest and worthwhile. Not being paid just rips me off in every way possible.

  6. Hi Jeff,

    I realize you posed this question specifically to Amanda but as someone who has experience on this topic I have some points I would like to address.

    Reporters have contacted as an activist for media interviews. I have granted dozens of interviews from media outlets ranging from global to local. I stopped granting interviews because the reporter and the organization that he/she represents are playing checkbook journalism but expect me to play fair for free.

    Jeff. I worked in broadcast media for years. Ethics and integrity have as much to do with a story being presented accurately as a hot dog relates to a warm puppy. Media outlets are driven by ratings or some other measurable result to sell to consumers and advertisers. While reporters are not inherently bad people they are still doing a job. Getting a story and either editing it or having whomever they work for edit it to meet the goals of having the story capture the audience in whatever way will maximize the results for the media outlet. Media outlets aren’t altruistic they are selling a product. The story is told in whatever manner the media outlet feels will get them the wow factor and get an audience to pay attention. The reporter is paid. The media outlet is certainly attempting to make money. Yet it is considered an ethical breach of the interviewee receives compensation.

    I have been interviewed as an escort, a sex trafficking victim and an activist. In every case the interviewer is contacting me as a subject matter expert. Often times expecting large amounts of time be given to them answering emotionally difficult questions in which the reporter expects my honesty and yet the reporter and the outlet they work for offer me no ethical balance. They use and misuse my statements to fit the context of their article. An article that they then sell to advance the media outlet’s goals and their own in a manner that I have no control over, no guarantee of the integrity of the end result or even how or when it is used. Or sometimes even any guarantee that the time I invested will even result in being included in the article.

    I would argue Andy Schotz’s position because reporters and media outlets are paid scribes that hear what they feel their audience wants to hear. Payment for an interview has no effect on the quality of the result. It simply levels the playing field. Media outlets have been very good in convincing interviewees to give their time, knowledge and effort for free out of either altruistic interest on the part of the interviewee or because someone unfamiliar with being interviewed is often excited and honored just to be interviewed for the five minutes of fame. Journalists often know nothing about the subject matter they are writing on. Thus why they are contacting experts on the topic. There is a difference between interviewing a bystander to an incident that has no expertise on the topic and just happened to be there and asking a subject matter expert to invest pro bono hours or days with no creative control.

    Most journalists have invested time, effort and education into becoming journalists. They rightfully believe their skill set has value. Therefore if simply contact a reporter and ask them spend hours or days proofreading my resume, helping me edit a project in which I benefit and they receive nothing the journalist would immediately say no. Rightfully so. They earned their place as experts and it isn’t their job to assist me in say hypothetically putting together a video just because they know how to professionally create a video and I do not. Yet a journalist expects me to give them my expertise for hours or days at my own expense to someone who knows little or nothing about the topic in order to make the reporter and the outlet appear as though they do know.

    Payment doesn’t tarnish the ethics. It simply levels the field. Media outlets simply have found a convenient way of avoiding payment by using ethics as a diversion. A media outlet values their time, effort, resources and results. My time and Amanda’s time, along with our resources, our expertise and our concern for results are as important as the media outlet’s.

  7. Jill — Excellent points and ones I agree with. I’d also add that when you’re not a celebrity or have lots of money, being in media can have adverse effects on your life — yet another thing a lack of money certainly doesn’t compensate for.

    Jeff, time and experience makes for harsh but honest teachers. My view of media now is different from a few years ago. I’d rather get paid for my efforts than not, plain and simple. There’s a reason most sex workers avoid media.

  8. That’s one of the reasons why I think blacklists should NOT EVER be made public: if that lady would not have posted her bad clients on that website (I have an idea about which blacklist website you are talking about), you would have avoided this unpleasant situation. I also know of other situations in which a client retaliated badly against the lady he victimized when he found out he was on a blacklist.

  9. Elsa — I agree only to the point about imperiling her safety. I’m not sure how he (or others) figured out who had posted the alert. That’s my true concern.

    As for the men who make it onto blacklists? They deserve it. I have no pity for them. Women are publicly shamed all the time for so-called bad behavior, especially when they’re arrested as prostitutes. Men on blacklists deserve to be Googleable, at the very least.

Comments are now closed.