Local Conservative Greg Patterson blames the death of several sex workers in Detroit on the Backpage, because the killer may have targeted them based on their ads in that periodical.
The killers are the ones who should be held responsible, but what about parties whose negligent actions facilitate the killing? How about the example of a school with poor lighting, or the business with lots of bushes in which bad guys can hide? There are plenty of cases that show the property owner would be liable for the intentional torts of others.
So New Times knows that Adult ads are used by bad guys...even to the point of murder. Craigslist stopped accepting these ads after a similar incident and New Times picked up the business...at a considrable profit. So can they be held accountable for the deaths in Detroit? I would argue that they can be. What about future deaths? What happens if New Times continues to accept adult advertising and someone else gets killed? Actionable? I would say yes.
This is exactly the sort of spurious liability logic Conservatives tend to mock, except of course when it involves a target it does not like. In this case free market Conservatives really hate Backpage for accepting freely placed ads for free exchange involving consensual sex. I responded in the comments:
Why do you cast so far afield for an analogy in your third to last paragraph [the one above about schools with poor lighting]? Why not take a directly parallel example - what if some killer were stalking Starbucks barristas whose work places he identified through ads in the Republic or via Google Maps? Would you really run around in circles blaming Google? This is like saying that a serial killer is facilitated by the phone companies because they publish the phone book the killer used.
We are talking about ads placed via free exchange for consensual sex. Yes, in our bizarre society, Conservatives who nominally support all other types of free exchange have had this one sort banned. But it is ironically the very fact that this sort of consensual commerce is illegal that makes this work so dangerous. Escorts/hookers are vulnerable to abuse, crime, fraud etc. precisely because they have less ability to access the legal system for redress.
If you want to discuss who facilitated the death of these women, let's talk about those who drove their profession underground.