A well respected Silicon Valley weekly newspaper is coming under fire.
Critics accuse The Metro newspaper in San Jose as serving as an online brothel.
“There are pictures, very graphic pictures of women exposing their privates, and making very obvious what they will and won't do,” said Chuck Gillingham, a Santa Clara County prosecutor who handles sex and child exploitation crimes.
Gillingham said Wednesday he was speaking as a private citizen. “Its obviously prostitution,” said Gillingham, calling it a form of legal pimping.
The CEO and Executive Editor for the Metro, Dan Pulcrano declined an interview for this report about the allegations.
But in text messages, Pulcrano called it “a phony story, a shameless attempt to divert attention from the stories we released today.”
Pulcrano was referring to the latest issue of Metro where the paper investigates actions by former labor boss Cindy Chavez, who is running for Board of Supervisors.
Pulcrano accused the county’s labor faction of helping organize today’s news conference by Gillingham.
The adult classifieds site is run by a company called Backpage.
Gillingham said no laws are being broken because the Metro is protected by the First Amendment.
But he questions what he calls the Metro’s moral leadership. “The fact that it’s legal doesn’t make it right, and that’s the point,” said Gillingham.
Pulcrano said the Metro has a contractual agreement to keep the link to the site up, but will consider removing it when that contract expires.
Pulcrano did not say when that might be. Paul Alvarado said today’s news comes at a bad time for his community. Alvarado and his neighborhood association have been fighting prostitution along Monterey Road south of Willow Street.
“I think it’s sad,” said Alvarado. “It’s very sad that something that’s supposed to be used for good is being used for such bad things.”