Passing of Backpage Co-Founder: James Larkin

Aug 11, 2023

This is a hard update to share; James Larkin, Co-Founder of Backpage, has passed away.

James Larkin spent his life fighting for free expression. He stood for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and by extension, SWer rights. Founded with Michael Lacey, Backpage was a website that allowed SWers, among others, to post ads for their services. The site provided SWers with an accessible and reliable place to conduct their business that was safer than the streets.

The federal government seized Backpage in 2018, just before Trump signed SESTA/FOSTA into law. The prosecution in this case has consistently refused to honor due process and has seemed more focused on ruining these men’s lives and reputations than finding the truth or anything resembling justice.

A mistrial was declared in 2021 because the prosecution made too many references to child sexual exploitation despite no one on trial being charged with those crimes. The next trial was set for August 8, 2023 but has been pushed forward three weeks upon the news of Larkin’s death.

James Larkin spent his life standing up to law enforcement, bureaucracy, and injustice. His death is a tragedy but his life is an inspiration. His legacy will live on, and the fight for the freedoms he fought for will continue.

We extend our condolences to the Larkin family, friends, and all those who have been affected by his work.