Craigslist Goes On The Offensive: Sues South Carolina's Henry McMaster
from the go-for-it dept
It appears that Craigslist has realized, in responding to all those grandstanding Attorneys General, that it’s better to take an offensive position than to continue with its defensive strategy. First, it pointed out how misguided South Carolina’s Henry McMaster was in threatening to charge Craigslist’s management with criminal prosecution, and then it demanded an apology. With no apology forthcoming, Craigslist has sued Henry McMaster seeking declaratory relief that its actions do not violate the law. McMaster has continued to push forward with his plans to file a lawsuit, claiming that Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster is “the #1 defendant.” Craigslist, in response, points out that Craigslist:
- is operating in full compliance with all applicable laws
- has earned a reputation for being unusually responsive to requests from law enforcement
- has eliminated its “erotic services” category for all US cities
- has adopted screening measures far stricter than those Mr McMaster himself personally endorsed with his signature just 6 months ago
- has far fewer and far tamer adult service ads than many mainstream print and online venues operating in South Carolina
- has made its representatives available to hear Mr McMaster’s concerns in person
- has politely asked Mr McMaster to retract and apologize for his unreasonable threats
So, in response, Craigslist has filed its lawsuit to have a court declare that the company is not violating any laws, and that McMaster has no case. This is a good move, and you would have hoped it would quiet down McMaster, but he’s actually (no, seriously) using this to claim victory. In a statement on his website McMaster claims:
The defensive legal action craigslist has taken against the solicitors and my office is good news. It shows that craigslist is taking the matter seriously for the first time…. Unfortunately, we had to inform them of possible state criminal violations concerning their past practices to produce a serious response. We trust they will now adhere to the higher standards they have promised. This office and the law enforcement agencies of South Carolina will continue to monitor the site to make certain that our laws are respected.
That’s just blatant outright lying now. Craigslist made those changes last week, and at the time McMaster’s response was: “That response doesn’t work” and claimed it was proceeding with plans to punish Craigslist management with jail time. Since then, Craigslist has made no other change, other than to sue McMaster. To suddenly claim that it’s made a new change and is taking the matter seriously, when the only change is suing McMaster, is quite the delusional response. I have no idea how likely it is that McMaster will win his current race for the Governor’s spot in South Carolina — but so far the man has been an embarrassment to the state.