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Off the Hook

For a while, it looked like Bada Bing was going Bada Bust. Just a few hours after Westword's November 11 "Bada Bing, Bada Boom!" hit the stands, the Denver escort agency's website was down, with users rerouted to www.mindyourownbusiness.com. Elsewhere in cyberspace, flame wars erupted on two popular forums for Colorado Adult Service Providers and their customers: www.theotherboard.com and www.sowet.com.

Many Denver "hobbyists" were enraged that a Westword reporter and photographer had infiltrated one of their Halloween parties (despite its having been held in a public place and promoted on the forums) and that Bada Bing owner Veronika Lake had spoken candidly about her business. They predicted Bada Bing's doom, spread the false rumor that her quotes were "pillow talk," and panicked over the perceived imminent crackdown by LE (law enforcement), which has yet to materialize. One other Denver escort agency and several independent escorts did take down their websites, though, and hobbyists complained of escorts rejecting new clients and failing to return messages. They also reported a sudden increase in prices during that weekend's "Westword scare."

"Girls, take a deep breath, give it about a week (or less) and hopefully return to your normal schedule," pleaded Other Board user "Pleasureseeker" in a post on November 13. "Your profession is as old and noble as time itself."

"At most Veronika is guilty of being naíve and letting her guard down," El Cid posted that same day. "For the compromise of the community's confidentiality, she should be shunned, but the death threats and flamesŠare over the line, people. Now as for the party and the supposed outing of hobbyists to the press let's keep a few things in mind. People were posing for pictures, and there was a clamor for pictures being made on this board immediately after the party. If we are to consider indiscretion a crime, then many of us are also guilty of compromising the community."

A third post November 13 was titled "A Statement in Support of Veronika Lake, Or 'Stop Your Whining You Sniveling Traitors.'" It read, "Veronika Lake has been loved and appreciated by the community for many years. I find it appalling that so many of you have turned your back on her in the face of a crisis. Whatever happened to gallantry? There was nothing in the article that revealed any heavily guarded secrets of the industry. And certainly nothing that should have us running for the hills."

The so-called sniveling traitors fired back. "The real risk in this hobby is not criminal prosecution. It is social prosecution by your family, your work and your acquaintances. For this reason, insiders are charged with an unwritten code of conduct to protect details of this hobby. Veronica broke that trust! She put a lot of other players at risk by stupidly confiding in a non-player for her own personal gain. Bad bad bad!"

A hobbyist who had attended the Halloween party in costume and whose photo had appeared in the article wrote, "The possibility of difficulties with the law are of little concern. The possible negative impact of my family relationships is a different matter. WW has a large distribution and it enters many family homes. I don't need to have my pre-teen nieces/nephews asking me 'uncle Dave, what went on at the party? Why were you there?'"

Meanwhile, with Bada Bing's website down, Westword was deluged with e-mails and phone calls from men wanting to know how to contact Lake to set up a date with one of her employees, as well as from three women who wanted to work for her as escorts. By mid-day on Monday, November 15, the Bada Bing website was back up and Lake was back in business.

 
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