My Time.com column today.
Goldman Sachs and Sex Trafficking: The Acute Discovery of a Chronic Condition:
Goldman Sachs has hit rock bottom and started to dig. Just when you thought the investment banking firm couldn’t look any less appealing, we learned over the weekend, from a damning New York Times report by Nicholas Kristof, that it is a minority stakeholder of Village Voice Media’s Backpage, an online peddler of child prostitutes. Following on the heels of a protest outside the Village Voice Media offices, Goldman Sachs acted quickly to ditch its investment of 16 percent of the company.
“We had no influence over operations,” Andrea Raphael, Goldman spokeswoman, reassured the public about its relationship to Backpage. But as Mr. Kristoff suggested, hang on just a quick second. It turns out a Goldman director sat on the board of Backpage’s parent company for “many years” and yet there was not even a hint of protest that the company’s Backpage site had been linked to sexual trafficking in 22 states. Goldman executives apparently grew “uncomfortable” with their part ownership in Backpage as early as 2010 but never bothered to encourage the company to purge its escort ads or even pressure them to check age and consent until political pushback and public opprobrium grew deafening. Nor, to be fair, did any of the other minority stakeholders. But there’s a reason board members are called “directors.” They’re supposed to be involved in the running of their companies.
Read the rest at Time.com here: