COLUMBIA, S.C. – Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster pointed out Saturday there are plenty of places in South Carolina other than his Web site to find prostitution ads and obscene photos, saying in a blog that he wants to know why the state's top prosecutor is targeting his company.
South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster has threatened to prosecute Craigslist executives for aiding and abetting prostitution if an ad on the Web site leads to a prostitution case in South Carolina.
In the post on his company's blog, Buckmaster linked to a publication in Greenville he said has a larger number of adult ads and more explicit content than his Web site. He later updated the post to point out a publication in Charleston that listed 19 adult ads on Friday.
In contrast, Buckmaster said the Greenville "adult services" portion of his site has had one ad for the past three days with a photograph of a completely clothed person, while the recently closed "erotic services" section had eight ads, none of which had obscene texts or nude pictures.
McMaster's office did not return a phone message left Saturday.
Buckmaster said no one would consider suing or conducting a criminal investigation into either traditional publication.
"But if for whatever reason you were so motivated, would you target a venue with 9 PG-13 rated ads, or one with 250 XXX rated ones?" he asked on his blog.
Earlier this week, Craigslist pledged to eliminate its "erotic services" category and screen all submissions to a new "adult services" section before being posted. New postings in the "adult services" category will cost $10.
McMaster, a Republican who plans to run for governor of South Carolina in 2010, has met with Craigslist attorney Bart Daniel of Charleston, who explained the change. But the attorney general said Friday his office still planned to monitor the site closely.
Craigslist came under closer scrutiny last month after a Boston-area man was accused of fatally shooting a woman who placed an ad on the site. Police believe 22-year-old Philip Markoff may have been involved in other crimes against women who also posted ads on Craigslist. Some reports have suggested he was targeting victims to pay gambling debts.