A UGA German professor, Max Reinhart, was advertising for transvestite sexual services at backpage.com. Cops contacted him pretending to be a potential client and set up a meeting time in a hotel room, where they agreed upon a price of $60 for certain services, and then arrested him.
I actually had this guy as a prof and am very saddened by this. I get that prostitution is a crime, and while I’m not sure how I feel about the criminality of prostitution, I am upset at this particular outcome. I’m sure I am I biased, but the thing is, this case of prostitution seems very different from what you typically imagine, where the sex worker is coerced, either directly or indirectly, and doesn’t have many options. I imagine Reinhart just gets off on the idea of being a prostitute and doesn’t really need the money (they list his base salary as $87,000 in the article, plus bonuses for various things). Now his name is mud and the reputation he worked so hard to build up is tarnished.
Granted it was stupid of him to advertise like that, and I imagine the sexual drive to do something so clearly illegal must be very strong indeed, but don’t cops have anything better to do than sit around trolling for sex workers?
Doesn’t that make it worse, not better? I am a little curious as to why you seem to think that it being different is a mitigating factor. I am far more sympathetic to someone who was coerced into committing a crime than to someone who did it completely of their own free will.
would this really ruin his reputation in academia?
not a snarky comment btw, I just think that academics tend to have a more open mind about sexual “deviancy” (not a value judgement - you know what I mean) so why should this matter?
I agree, but the monkey’s got a point. Breaking a law is in itself held to be bad, regardless of the actual content of the law. When looking only at breaking a law, doing so willingly is less excusable than being coerced to do so.
Sometimes, of course, the law in question is so damn stupid that following it does more harm than breaking it. While I think prostitution of any stripe should be legal, I don’t think it rises to that level.
I agree that he has more personal culpability, but my argument is that I think the overall law against prostitution is particularly absurd in this case. I think arguments against prostitution’s illegality have their greatest stronghold when they are seen in the context of trying to prevent exploitation of a particularly vulnerable group of people. In this case, the prostitute was not vulnerable or exploited.
For some reason, this particular case has gotten quite a foothold in the news . . . I saw an article online in the Daily Mail (UK paper) about it. While academia is in general liberal, UGA is a fairly conservative school. I could see there being repercussions.
Not all academics are as liberal or as open minded as their stereotype to begin with, but for those who are, the transvesticism might not be an issue but the prostitution would. Even the LGBT community (incidentally, Georgia does NOT have LGBT on its anti-discrimination policy [though when I worked there they loved to squawk about how much they love diversity]) would not come to his aid because, like the black community of the mid 20th century, they prefer law-abiding/scandal free visibility whenever possible.
Though what probably would piss them off more than anything else would be that he’s a foreigner in a tenure track position in the humanities making $87,000 base. Academics are petty as HELL when it comes to things like that. And you have to admit that somebody who is closing in on $100K by the time you include travel and other expenses really has absolutely no business prostituting themselves; that’s more than twice the average household income for the Athens area.
And I’m inclined to agree with that. To use the case as an argument for legalizing prostitution would be one thing, but you weren’t talking about the overall law in the OP. You even said you didn’t know how you feel about the criminality of it.
I just wanted to point out that your stated reasoning: “I’m not sure how I feel about the criminality of prostitution, I am upset at this particular outcome.” seemed a little fucked up. You did seem to be saying that regardless of the criminality, he “particularly” should be held less responsible than run of the mill prostitutes who are coerced because he did it willingly and has more to lose. That’s kinda fucked up.
But I have no desire to belabor the point. I’ll just chalk it up to you laying out your position a little awkwardly in the OP. I think we pretty much agree on the larger issues anyway.
Not to sidetrack off on a tangent, but I’d say that making prostitution illegal is an incredibly poor strategy for preventing the exploitation of prostitutes. A good amount of the exploitation they suffer is due to the illegality of their business.
But since the door is open, I think one of the most interesting solutions was taken by Sweden. Selling sex is legal, but buying it is not. Brothels and pimps are also outlawed. Weird law, but might work.
I must not be getting something here. I was saying that I felt that perhaps laws against prostitution are justified if they help a vulnerable population, but in this case it was absurd to pursue any legal action as the prostitue was totally not vulnerable.
:smack: He did say the same thing he quoted, but I didn’t type what I meant to say. I meant to say that I think one of the most compelling arguments for laws against prostitution is protection of potential prostitutes. If in fact, they do protect vulnerable women and men, which is clearly arguable.
Actually, I can see where some confusion could arise, because in this case the prostitute is the one being prosecuted. One could think that I was saying that laws against prostitution are absurd in this case, because the prostitue is not vulnerable, but in cases where the prostitute is vulnerable, it is justifiable to prosecute the prostitute. That’s not what I’m saying; I mean more that the overall law seems to have less merit when it is between two fully consenting adults, as opposed to one fully consenting and one who is questionably consenting and exposing themselves to significant physical and psychological harm in the process.
Ok, then that is fucked up. You want the courts to pick and choose which prostitutes to pursue legal action against on the basis of vulnerability, with the ones vulnerable being the ones prosecuted. Are you not getting how fucked up that is?
So, this guy was pretending to be female? Selling himself as a female hooker? But wouldn’t that be, like…I mean, he’s got something between his legs that shouldn’t be there unless it belonged to someone else, so…
Never mind. Don’t really want to know, come to think on it.