Creative industry professionals like make-up artists, photographers, and models know ModelMayhem.com as a network that connects up-and-comers with other like-minded individuals. It’s sometimes referred to as the Craigslist for models, photographers, and bookers, and for many, it’s often where they get their first shot at working in the industry. The website, which advertises itself as the “#1 portfolio website for professional models and photographers,” has recently been outed as a hotspot for rapists and one victim has come forward to Forbes with her story.
Internet Brands, the company behind ModelMayhem.com and other websites like ApartmentRatings.com and CarsDirect.com, is being sued for $10 million for failure to warn ModelMayhem.com users that rapists were actively seeking victims through the website. According to Forbes, law experts following the case are doubtful that the victim will win due to Section 230, a law that protects websites from the liability of what their users do.
The case that originally brought the situation to light involves two men, Emerson Callum, a porn star, and Lavont Flanders Jr., a former Miami police department and Department of Homeland Security employee. The anonymous victim helped put them in prison for life after being lured to Miami for a casting call, drugged and assaulted. “I thought at first it was just me,” the anonymous victim told Forbes, “but then I realized it happened to more and more women.” Flanders and Callum had allegedly been luring in victims through ModelMayhem.com since 2006. Many of their assaults were filmed and sold for profit. “There should have been a warning on the site,” the victim told Forbes. “They need to educate naïve people. This is every Internet company. It’s not just one website, it’s everyone.” Read the full victim’s full story about ModelMayhem.com here.