Craigslist CEO Fires Back at South Carolina AG

SAN FRANCISCO — Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster fired back Monday against South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster in a blog post, reacting to prosecution threats made against him, the ad site, and founder Craig Newmark.

The recently vocal McMaster has said multiple times in recent weeks he would take the site and both men to court, accusing Craigslist of endorsing, encouraging and promoting prostitution throughout the "Erotic Services" section on its various Web pages for cities and regions.

Just last week, Craigslist announced it would soon delete the controversial section, replaced with a newly-launched "Adult" section in which all ads would be monitored by its staff.  According to AP, McMaster claimed the move would create the same problem and that it wasn't good enough, so he would follow through on his plan to press charges.

In his post at, Buckmaster fought back, reports CNET.

"You accused Craigslist, and me personally, of engaging in criminal acts, reiterating your previous threat to file unwarranted and unconstitutional charges against us that are clearly barred by federal law," Buckmaster wrote.

"These very serious allegations followed the dramatic changes we implemented last week, widely applauded by other Attorneys General,"  Buckmaster wrote, pointing out that the adult services and soon-to-be-retired erotic services sections combined, for all cities in South Carolina, currently feature a total of 40 ads, all of which comply with their terms of use.

"That’s 40 ads out of a total of 334,180 currently listed on our SC sites" he said. " The rest comprise a thriving marketplace for South Carolinians, offering jobs, housing, for sale items, local services, and just about everything else."

Buckmaster also noted that one will find graphic ads in "adult" ad sections offered by AT&T, Microsoft, Village Voice Media and its publications, as well as in many newspapers, yet none have been targeted and attacked the same way as Craigslist. 

"What's a crime for Craigslist is clearly a crime for any company," Buckmaster wrote questioning if the South Carolina AG was ready to condemn the executives from mainstream companies.

"Mr McMaster, I strongly recommend you reconsider and retract your remarks," Buckmaster said on the posting. "We're willing to accept our share of criticism but wrongfully accusing Craigslist of criminal misconduct is simply beyond the pale. We would very much appreciate an apology at your very earliest convenience."

As previously reported by, McMaster is treading – stomping, really – through free speech and free expression territory and many lawyers believe his attempt to prosecute the site is political showboating on a ship that will sink in court.