The offices of Rentboy.com were raided last week by the Department of Homeland Security, sending the male escort world into total disarrray. Citing a 1961 statute called the Travel Act, seven Rentboy staffers were arrested and face the very real possibility of jail time for running what officials are calling an “internet brothel,” even though that’s a made up term with no practical or legal application.
Jake Jaxson, founder of the CockyBoys porn studio, has responded to the bust on the dotcom era site with a short film designed to tug hard at the heartstrings. Beginning with news footage of the raid, the film then shifts its focus to an escort and porn performer named Rob Yaeger, who’s been escorting for about five years.
Yaeger’s story is a unique one. He got into escorting for three reasons. The first was financial — he had student loans to pay and a disabled partner to support. (Steve, Yaeger’s partner, was severely burned and knocked into a coma by a freak water pipe explosion, meaning medical bills also became an issue.) The second was practical—with a partner needing full-time attention, Yaeger couldn’t get a regular full-time job even if he wanted to. His third reason was physical—since he couldn’t have sex with his partner anymore, he needed an alternate outlet for physical release. Escorting was the one job that allowed him to stay home, have sex, and pay the bills.
Having seen what he describes as “some beautiful ass apartments in Manhattan,” Yaeger explains that escort clients seek emotional connections as much as (if not more than) they want sex.
In a Huffington Post editorial introducing the video, Jaxson explains his theory of why the Rentboy offices were raided.
“My belief, sadly, is that they were targeted and brought down because of PRIDE. They showed too much pride to be ignored, pride in creating a network of individuals wanting and needing to connect and explore their sexuality beyond the parameters set out, dictated, and prescribed to us by the moralizers for profit, the “glass housers” and the “do as I say, not as I do” crowd.”
This film doesn’t describe the experience of all rentboys, obviously, but it does illustrate the very candid realities experienced by those affected by the raid.