RIP Corp

Sex, Lies and Classifieds: The Fall of Backpage

Episode Summary

Years before QAnon, myths and distortions about children being sold for sex fueled a politically-motivated moral panic in the name of protecting kids, yet largely targeting sex workers, not sex traffickers. This episode of RIP Corp is about Backpage — the classified advertising website founded in 2004 — and the path that led to its dramatic closure in 2018. The fall of Backpage led to a turning point in the coverage of sex work and criminal justice while also foreshadowing future media flashpoints.

Episode Notes

RIP Corp is a Charts & Leisure production.  Find us at, or follow us @ripcorpdotbiz on Twitter and Instagram, for all your dead business needs. Special thanks this episode to Melissa Gira Grant and Samantha Schuyler.

RIP Corp is written and hosted by Ingrid Burrington, with research and fact-checking from Matt Giles. Produced by Meghal Janardan and Mike Rugnetta. Original music and sound design from Andrew Atkin and Michael Simonelli. Design and illustration by Beatriz Lozano and Megan Mulholland. Executive produced by Jason Oberholtzer.