IsAnybodyDown: Craig Brittain’s 2005 Harassment Charge Unsurprisingly Predictive

Craig Brittain’s revenge porn site, IsAnybodyDown.com, might have been an unremarkable ripoff of Hunter Moore’s “Is Anyone Up?” site if not for “David Blade III, Esq.”  Blade was an invention of Craig Brittain, a fake attorney created to add an aura of legitimacy to Brittain’s extortionate scheme:  post nude photos along with full names, social media profiles, and phone numbers, then charge victims $250 to have them removed.

Nor was “David Blade” Brittain’s only only online impersonation.  I theorized that Brittain’s efforts went a step further: pretend to be a Craigslist user arranging a sexual encounter, then take the photos and post them to IsAnybodyDown.  That theory proved true when CBS Denver turned up emails bearing Brittain’s IP address, showing that he pretended to be a “Jess Davis” to solicit nude photos, using the photos of one of his victims.

Brittain maintains that “David Blade” is real (or, at least, was created by somebody else) and that all of the photos on IsAnybodyDown come from users of the site — not him.  According to Brittain, the allegations are a “fabrication” by attorney Marc Randazza (and other Brittain critics) to make money off of his site.  Or something.  Brittain says that “[t]here is no truth to it at all.  These women are told to lie by their attorneys.”

But allegations in a 2005 harassment charge and restraining order naming Brittain are unsurprisingly predictive of his future behavior: impersonating people on the internet in an effort to harm women online and offline.

According to records provided by a Colorado court, Brittain’s ex-girlfriend (who I am not naming) alleged that after she broke up with him online, Brittain took control of one of her Yahoo accounts and began posting her phone number and address in a chat room, suggesting sexual acts.  At about 7 in the morning, a man Brittain’s ex did not know, identifying himself as “Nate,” showed up at her door.  “Nate” explained that he had talked with someone he thought was Brittain’s ex-girlfriend an hour earlier.  Presumably, “Nate” was not there to have breakfast.

Craig Brittain was arrested and charged with Third Degree Harassment, and a restraining order was entered prohibiting him from contacting his ex-girlfriend for the duration of the case.  The charge also resulted in Brittain facing other legal trouble, as he was on probation for injuring an officer while evading police in 2003.

Craig Brittain was not convicted of the harassment charge. The charges were later dropped, along with the restraining order and probation violation, because of lack of evidence or because his ex-girlfriend wasn’t interested in testifying.  Additionally, any case against him would likely run into trouble over whether his acts were protected by the First Amendment.  Posting someone’s address and phone number online is likely protected speech, but credibly impersonating a person with the intent of having him show up at the impersonated person’s house is probably not.

The victim’s statement to the police reads:

About 3am I broke up with Craig and shortly after he had booted me from a Yahoo screen name I was using ———- and I had made another screen name so he had found the screen name and started harassing me in the chat room giving out my phone number + address. It went on til about 6:30am.  I had copied + pasted alot of the conversation we had, but because it was repetitive I eventually just stopped and told him to leave me alone.  Then I layed in bed.  Between 7am and 7:15am someone I did not know showed up at my door.  He asked if I was [name] (which is my nickname) and I was like yeah.  Then he told me his name was Nate + that I had talk to him about 1 hr ago, and I was obviously not under the sn that talk to him.  I didnt know who he was.  After he left I got really scared because I wondered who else was going to come to my door [illegible] I was even [illegible] at my house.  After that I went up to my mom scared.

The police report lists Brittain’s screenname — “hardcore_chat_thug” — and provides a statement from the responding officer, reading in part:

[Victim] said on this date at approximately 0300 hours she broke up with a male whom she identified as Craig Brittain 11/9/84 via a chat room on the Internet.  Brittain logged off his screen name and hacked into [victim]’s Yahoo account and logged on as “Craigs Wifey”.

Between the time of 0400 hours and 0615 hours Brittain repeatedly placed [victim]’s residential number and address on the chat room, suggesting sexual acts by [victim].

At approximately 0641 hours, Brittain called [victim] via the telephone.  [Victim] advised Brittain to leave her alone.

At approximately 0715 hours, an unknown male came to the [victim] residence introducing himself as Nate and stated that they had talked about an hour ago.  [Victim] stated she did not know this male and believed he was there in reference to the sexual advertisements Brittain posted in the chat room.  [Victim] explained she was “scared and freaked out.”

Further, Brittain’s ex-girlfriend alleged in the police report that Brittain had a history of posting girls’ phone numbers online.

It’s worth noting (again) that Brittain was never convicted and that there is no way to know whether the allegations are accurate.  But the allegation itself is notable because it shows that more people than Randazza and myself have alleged that Craig has impersonated people (real or imagined) online in order to harm women.  That he’s been arrested for it demonstrates that Brittain is well aware of the potential illegality of his acts.  All the more reason to continue denying it to the point of absurdity.

Especially now that a Federal agency is weighing an investigation into Brittain and “Is Anybody Down?”.

5 comments

  1. […] wrongdoing deserves due process. But in deciding how to feel about this, consider Adam Steinbaugh's latest post, in which he examines the allegations in a restraining order proceeding against Brittain back in […]

  2. Popehat says:

    Craig’s alleged — but not adjudicated — behavior in that case should be seen in light of his widely published Livejournal comments about women, and in light of the attitudes about women demonstrated by “Is Anybody Down.”

  3. Hardcore Comment Bitch says:

    Craig Brittain…Winning! Can’t we just pay Craig Brittain $250 to permanently remove himself from planet Earth?

  4. Bill Ryan says:

    Not being a lawyer some things about this are really hard to understand. If for instance, I pretend to be an ObGyn and give out a few breast exams, it seems I’m guilty of several really serious crimes. Even if I decide to change my title after being exposed to something like Female Body Analyzer instead of MD, I still broke some serious laws. People can argue about whether or not revenge porn sites are protected speech or not, but the takedown scam has to be fraud or unlicensed practice of law or some other crimes, doesn’t it? In my example, even if no one decided to schedule a visit, the fact I held myself out there and tried pretty hard to get people to pay me shows intent right (sort of like if I get a gang and plan to rob a bank – we have it planned out – show up at the bank and then we get cold feet at the last minute – we still conspired to do it). I know listening to non-lawyers talk about the law has to be really annoying..I also know you can’t really speak in specifics until you’re licensed but hypothetically speaking – isn’t the takedown lawyer scam criminal whether or not IAd is legal?

  5. […] Anybody Down?”  To get nude photos for the site, Brittain — who has been accused of impersonating a woman online in order to harass her — posed as a woman on Craigslist personals ads.  To have […]

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