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The rise and fall of a 1960's extortion ring




Sherman Chadwick Kaminsky was one of the three main ringleaders of the extortion ring.
Sherman Chadwick Kaminsky was one of the three main ringleaders of the extortion ring.
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When it comes to the history of gay rights, the Stonewall riot in 1969 in New York is well known. But a few years earlier, another event was perhaps more pivotal.

It was the breaking up and prosecution of a gay extortion racket where men posing as police officers would shake down prominent gay men. The case was dubbed "The Chickens and The Bulls."

The "chickens" were the young, often under-aged men used to entice and blackmail prominent, but closeted, gay men. And the "bulls" were the corrupt men who ran the operation and posed as detectives.

The case, which involved dozens of people across the United States, is the subject of a lengthy piece in Slate written by William McGowan.

Guest:

William McGowan joined Madeleine Brand from a studio in New York earlier this month.