from www.vice.com My friend Adam was, until recently, making a living as a self-employed web designer in South Carolina. He’d been doing it for a couple of years and had built sites for various small organizations like charities and clothing stores. In February, he was hired to make a porn site. The site was a pretty standard BrokeStraightBoys.com rip-off—it featured hetero guys making masturbation videos for a gay audience.
Then, a month ago, after the site had been online for just 24 days, Adam’s home was raided by the police, and all of his computer equipment was seized, forcing him to close his web-design business. Since then, he’s had no way to make money. I called him up to see how he was doing.
Q: VICE: Hey Adam, what made the police take your stuff?
Adam: I’m a web designer, and I was hired to create a porn site by a client.
Q: That’s not illegal, right?
I don’t think so. And an attorney I spoke to didn’t think so either. The police haven’t charged me with any crime, they just told me that I was a witness. I don’t know what that means.
Q: What are they saying you’re a witness to?
It’s been alleged that the guy who paid me to make the site was also paying guys to let him give them blowjobs and film it.
Q: Did you see any evidence of this?
No. And if it does exist, it definitely wasn’t put on the site.
Q: What has he been charged with?
Four counts of prostitution, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana.
Q: What happened when the police came to take your stuff away?
It was 8 AM and I was at my mom’s house, and these four SWAT guys turned up in bulletproof vests and combat attire. I looked out the window and saw that the yard was filled with cop cars.
Q: That’s seems pretty extreme for an illegal blowjob that you weren’t even involved with. What did they seize from you?
They took my desktop computer, my laptop computer, my camera, two broken computers, a broken iPad, a brand-new iPad that I had bought a week earlier, my mother’s Kindle, and my cell phone.
Q: How long ago was this?
A month ago. And I don’t have any of those items back.
Q: Do you know when you’ll be getting them back?
No idea. I spoke to an attorney and he told me he has clients who have been waiting years to get their stuff back.
Q: What’s happened to your web-design business now that you don’t have any computers?
It’s nonexistent. I don’t have a cell phone or a computer to even get in touch with my clients or my contacts. I don’t have any money set aside to deal with something like this—I wasn’t expecting four armed guys to bust into my mother’s home and steal all of my assets. They’ve seized my entire business, they’ve ruined me.
Q: Do you know if you’re eligible for any kind of compensation for the income you’ve lost as a result of all this?
I probably would be if I had the money to afford an attorney. Which I don’t. The problem is, I haven’t been charged with anything. If I’d been charged with something, an attorney would be provided for me, but as it stands, I can’t afford one.
Q: Is there anything on your computer that you don’t want the police to see?
There’s nothing illegal on there. But, like, is there anything on your computer you wouldn’t want the police to see?
Q: Duh. I would probably have a heart attack if someone went through my browser history.
The police didn’t know how to access my files, so I had to access them for them at the station. Which included my own personal pornography. As in, personal sex images of myself and others.
Q: So the police were looking at sex photos of you while you were sitting there in the room with them? That’s horrible.
Yeah. And the only thing that gave me comfort through the whole process is that they looked so fucking disgusted. They looked like they were gonna throw the fuck up. They probably hated it more than me.
Q: Yikes. Well, good luck. I hope you get your stuff back soon.