Mark Rathbun: Tony Ortega Confides Deal for Silence About Child Sex Trafficking on

Mark Rathbun recounts the day blogger Tony Ortega divulged the deal that bought his silence about child sex trafficking on


Tony Ortega, you know, at one point, was really shining—was really sort of sucking up to me, because I was sort of the attention of a lot of media, and he wanted to get his media cred. And he flew all the way down to south Texas, to my home, and he had just got fired from the Village Voice, which he had sort of converted into this anti-Scientology platform for two years.

And at a rare moment where he had a motive to be somewhat candid, he told me about the circumstances in which he left the Village Voice. And the circumstances, he said, “You know, this can’t go anywhere,” but what happened was, is that, the Village Voice had been accused and factually had been, factually been investigated by law enforcement, of human trafficking and promoting the child sex-slave industry by its Backpages [] ads.

And he pointed—he told me that, you know, Scientology had been exposing that. And he said the problem is, is that Scientology was more accurate than anybody thought. And that in fact, the Village Voice was almost exclusively financed by that human trafficking operation and that there were profits beyond that. And so the owners, now that Scientology was exposing it and law enforcement was investigating it, said—decided they had to get rid of Tony Ortega, because he was just obsessed with Scientology, and he was keeping their focus on him and their operation, so they needed to get rid of him.

And so in order to do that, they—and to extract his cooperation in keeping quiet about what he knew—which is interesting, because of course he’s the first guy to accuse anybody who doesn’t go after Scientology as being bought off, right—he literally agreed to cover it up and obstruct justice for a payout of, essentially, a two-year buyout deal where they paid him enough where he could literally do nothing for two years and go out and write a book on Scientology, so that he could begin with some foundation of credibility upon which to continue his career, which he had turned into trashing Scientology.