CFS.com LLC, the parent company of free gay cruising website CruisingForSex.com, is taking PayPal to court. The company hopes to force the online payment giant to restore an account designated to assist CFS.com employees affected by Hurricane Katrina.
The suit also seeks unspecified damages from PayPal for breach of contract and for emotional distress.
Cruising for Sex employs two people in the New Orleans area, Troy, who oversees the company’s servers, and Dorian-Gray Alexander, who fulfills video orders and sells ad space. Both men evacuated the region prior to Katrina making landfall, but are currently struggling to assist their families, most of whom have lost their homes and jobs.
Alexander is a co-plaintiff in the suit against PayPal.
Cruising for Sex founder, Keith Griffith, who also lives in New Orleans, says he started the fund for their relief and established a PayPal account to facilitate donations from site users.
“It made sense that the men who have enjoyed our site for years – for free – might want to now contribute to help the men who had made all this possible for so many years,” Griffith says.
On Sept. 5, four days after launching the relief fund, Griffith was informed via email that the PayPal account was being shut down because it violated PayPal’s acceptable use policy regarding mature audiences. PayPal’s mature audience policy prohibits accepting donations for any sexually oriented goods or services. Griffith noted that nothing precludes an adult website from using PayPal for other purposes—such as raising money for victims of Katrina.
“We weren’t using PayPal to sell dildos, porn, etc. The only use of PayPal on our site was in an attempt to raise donations to pay mortgages, buy gas, pay cell phone bills, and help these people and their families get back up on their feet,” Griffith says.
At one point, in the face of increasing media attention, PayPal restored the account in question only to suspend it for a second time within a matter of days. The account has remained closed since.