CHICAGO There are no adult ads in this week's edition of Florida's Orlando Weekly, just a blank page where they would be, and there might not be any in the alternative paper next week, either.
Orlando Weekly publisher Rick Schreiber said no decision had been made about whether to run the ads for massage parlors, escort services and other businesses that advertise in the adult services section. Schreiber said he could not comment further because of an ongoing criminal case against three Orlando Weekly salespersons.
Those salespeople were arrested last week at a job fair sponsored by the newspaper, and charged with aiding and abetting prostitution and benefiting from its proceeds. The three sold ads to undercover agents of the local law enforcement agency, the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI), who allegedly explicitly said they were taking out the advertisements to solicit prostitution.
In this week's print edition, the alternative paper published a cover story entitled "Operation MBI Shame," a play on the code name the MBI gave its two-year investigation into adult advertising at the newspaper: "Operation Weekly Shame."
"The MBI has a jaw-dropping list of transgressions stretching back to its inception in 1978," the article states. "The MBI is an inept, inefficient police organization answerable to no one... And if you dare confront the agency on their appalling record, they will try to put you out of business."
In a statement released earlier this week, Schreiber said the paper's advertising policy "is based on the First Amendment of the United States and 100 years of past practice." The policy, he added, is: "We will not accept or publish any proposed advertisement which promotes or supports criminal activity."
He said the ads the paper were running were no different from those carried by numerous other local publications including the Orlando Sentinel, Verizon Yellow Pages, and the Orlando Gay Yellow Pages.