Tony Ortega sits in coffee shops and hits his laptop until it spits out lies, bile and vitriol. He is a hate blogger.
The object of his ire is Scientology and, perhaps more disturbingly, individual Scientologists and their families whom he shamelessly harasses and attempts to discredit or “out.”
Ortega’s minor infamy comes from the fact that he’s a failed writer of fake news, a disgraced editor who ran a newspaper into the ground, and an internet troll, paid to attack decent people.
In 2007, Ortega was dropped in as editor of the Village Voice, prompting several actual New York journalists to simply up and quit in disgust.
He was evidently a frontman or a shill (or both) for James Larkin and Michael Lacey, cofounders of Backpage.com, which was shut down in 2018 by the U.S. Justice Department for being a conduit for child sex trafficking.
The story reads like a sordid crime novel, with Ortega as willing accomplice, motivated by greed and devoid of human decency. It might be entertaining, were it not for the real-life victims of his complacency and collusion—children sold on Backpage as sex slaves, victims of sexual violence, physical and psychological abuse, and murder—the details of which are well-documented.
The story reads like a sordid crime novel.
But while the Justice Department was building its case, Ortega became obsessed with Scientology, spewing out deranged hatemongering on the Voice blog while ignoring his editorial duties. Finally, in 2012, he was ousted from the paper, allegedly paid two years’ salary as hush money, and disappeared into the night, only to reappear in his current incarnation of self-aggrandizing “expert” on divinity.
Lacey, Larkin and five co-conspirators were indicted on 93 counts of facilitating prostitution, money laundering and conspiracy—handcuffed and fitted with orange jumpsuits. Meanwhile, Ortega freely hunches over his computer, spitting venom and spinning delusional yarns.
To be clear, this is a guy who overtly supports and defends the web “marketplace” that raked in $500 million from prostitution and child sex slavery. He publicly advocated for and defended the exploitation of human beings for profit.
Those who profit from the subjugation of others, who aid and abet an abhorrent enterprise, by their crimes live in fear and misery and, if they have a scrap of decency remaining, guilt.
Perhaps it is why Ortega’s “job” today is that of a troll—one who viciously lies, spreads hate, and harasses people of goodwill. Perhaps deep down he wants the world to know what a morally bankrupt person he truly is.
Because, unlike his colleagues, Ortega may not be in an orange jumpsuit. But he wallows in a prison of his own making—a prison of hate.