The Golden Rule Sets Off An Ethics Alarm At Popehat

I posted earlier here about the efforts by lawyers (and bloggers) Marc Randazza and Ken at Popehat to foil the despicable operators of “IsAnybodyDown?” That vile website solicits and uses nude photos of women who have not given permission for them to be posted. It often posts contact information for the women as well, and, as a final touch, promotes an alleged legal service that guarantees that it will get the photos taken down. This is a good bet, since the legal service is operated by the same two men who run the site, though it is very unlikely that the “lawyer” really exists. After Marc and Ken challenged the site, its purveyors launched another one accusing them of secretly working for pornography interests and being funded by the Mob.

These are not, in other words, nice people.

In his most recent post about their ongoing battle, Ken recounted an e-mail exchange with Chance Trahan, who founded and operates  “IsAnybodyDown?”with Craig Brittain. It is an exchange that confirms what one would assume about someone who engages in a business like his. A typical tweet from Chance to Craig reads in part, “You aren’t shit to the world you immoral fuck.” Yet Ken was moved to reflect upon even this individual’s humanity, applying the Golden Rule to and musing about how even the likes of Trahan and Brittain can have redeeming qualities. In doing so he provided as profound and lovely reflection on the ethical process of reciprocity, as well as kindness, fairness, forgiveness and empathy. With Ken’s permission, I present it here.“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.”

It bears noting that after posting this, Ken learned of further despicable conduct by the pair toward a victim of their website, and withdrew his offer, saying “murum aries attigit”—literally “the ram has met the wall,” meaning that hostilities and begun in earnest and there would be no turning back. That’s all right. The process Ken went through as he considered his treatment of the two men was exemplary, and one that all of us should remember and employe when we are tempted to regard another human being as beyond redemption.

13 Comments

Filed under Character, Love, Religion and Philosophy

13 responses to “The Golden Rule Sets Off An Ethics Alarm At Popehat

  1. I’m appalled that a site like that exists. I’m almost as appalled as I am by the fact that a person can be that kind of lowlife and still be normal enough to have a family.

  2. sue schumacher

    This seems like a truly simple ethical issue.

    But let’s dig deeper.

    Chance Trahan has found a gold mine of money – get men to freely post photos of naked women. Photos might be illicitly or freely taken – but posted without legal permission. Lustful men look at this website incessantly. Resulting in money from advertisers. Trahan then solicits additional information about the naked women (phone/address, etc), further fueling the lustful men, resulting in shovelfuls of money. Resulting in the mental and physical harassment of the women posted on the website.

    Trahan shows by his behavior that he is borderline psychopathic. He does not care about the women or the harm he does to them via his website. He likely has a very firm denial mechanism in place (the women are whores, they’re cheap for letting these photos be taken, they probably screwed the guy one way or another, etc). He may assume one or both of two things: the “good” women would never ever be in this position and get their photo taken (absolution for the “good” women that he knows), or he may assume that all women are potentially “bad” – give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile and end up with their clothes off and being a whore. He wants the money so badly that he is willing to demonize all women.

    How will he treat his wife and daughter under these mental regimes? His poor daughter, going through life thinking that “daddy loves you” – but if one little thing goes wrong in her life, good ol’ daddy will turn and become a vindictive “I knew you women were all alike” monster. His wife. Well, I can only imagine the mental battering she is going through – her husband abuses women, takes pride in it, and defends the abuse publicly. She is a mouse hoping not to end up in the trap she sees occurring every day in front of her. She may even be a hostage of the Stockholm syndrome, trying to protect herself and daughter.

    Yes, as a daddy, he probably does love his daughter. While she’s a toddler. Once she becomes 12 or 13, she will join the ranks of “women”. And if she isn’t a perfect, iconoclastic nun — daddy will accuse her of “being a whore like the rest of them”.

    Trahan is a psychopath. There is no use in discussing ethics or morals with him because he truly does not care.

    • Which was, I think, the conclusion Ken came to shortly after going through the exercise. Hence his retraction.

    • Myk

      All valid and accurate suggestions, except the part about the advertisers; the only ads the site carries are for the extortion..I mean ‘takedown service’, and for Chance’s “music”. So effectively Chance is payng himself to advertise, presumably because nobody in their right minds either likes his noise or wants anything to do with his activities.

  3. I would love to be a fly on the wall to see your reaction to this!

    Be advised that these actions, your slander and screen shots can and will be used as key factors should a case be pursued against you. Your posting, advertising, marketing, dissipating and otherwise disseminating the slanderous materials constitute actionable violations of Mr. Trahan and Mr Brittain’s rights of privacy and publicity.

  4. Yeah, Trahan left that same lame empty bumptious threat on my YouTube video. The stupids are strong with this one.

  5. Sorry for not understanding any possible good in these guys, but I really, really fear for Chance’s daughter.

    I can understand that these two lunkheads think that their depraved site is their golden opportunity to make loads of money. I can even understand (in a sad kind of psychopathic way) why they feel so vitriolic towards anyone who’s decided to take legal action against their Golden Goose (Vanadium Vulture?), because they perceive anyone who abhors their method of “getting rich” is trying to stop them realising their dream of getting rich without working for it.

    To take the devil’s advocate position: They really, sincerely don’t see anything wrong at all with making money. And as Sue said earlier, they don’t (or can’t) relate the women on their site to the women they love. Just as they can’t relate the men on their site with themselves. They’re different species, is all. So why would anyone else cause so many hassles for a genuine attempt to make themselves rich and/or notorious, using people who aren’t really people? How could other people be so obtuse? Surely it’s perfectly legal to make money? If it isn’t, we’ll it should be. After all, no-one’s getting hurt – hell, they even offer a way for the non-people on their site to get themselves off it! That makes them heroes. Doesn’t it?

    To be honest, all I can see here are two complete human failures trying to grab on to the Great American Dream. They just don’t understand that they should’ve taken responsibility for their pasts, in order to get on with the present. But, like all people who fail to take responsibility with themselves, they assume that anyone else in their position should be fair game, and anyone who asks them to BE accountable is just not “getting” them.

    (I was going to post something like this on my own weblog, but then it would not have fit in with the garbage on there. At least this site is a good place for intelligent discussion!).

  6. One thing everyone needs to realize is that they don’t just post nude embarrassing pics. They go out of their way to stalk these ladies and girls, including screen caps of their facebook pages, personal sites, emails and work links. And they mock those that beg for mercy. I hope Randazza skewers these aholes.

  7. Pingback: A Synopsis of the Involuntary Porn Site IsAnybodyDown.com Controversy — the tl;dr | A blog

  8. Pingback: IsAnybodyDown Part… Screw it: Craig Brittain and Chance Trahan Embrace Censorship | A blog

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