I could probably pay a few of them and get the links removed but I do not want to support these guys in their blackmail system.
Blackmail? Google's blackmailing you, not some company you paid to be listed forever.
And here's a newsflash for you. If you ask me to do work, then I demand to be paid. If the work's not worth anything to you, then screw off and quit emailing me asking me to do it for free.
Find your link, remove it, confirm it's removed, email you a confirmation, that's 5 minutes. And that's $29US. Don't like it? Then don't email me. I have no obligation to work for you for free, not even for a minute.
THe irony is, the kind of entitlement to my time that you're demanding also results in me receiving emails where I'm being threatened (clearly) that they'll use the disavow tool to basically demote my site in Google. Turns out I don't care about that. The other demand I get - got one today - is that I MUST do it for free. Turns out, I actually don't have to. I think the best email I got was someone telling me that $29 was extortion. I then had to explain that $29 wasn't extortion - but his new price of $109 to have the link removed, see, now THAT'S extortion.
if it makes you sleep at night, you might realize that you paid to get in the directory to screw with your Google rankings, now you get to pay to get out of the directory, again to screw your Google rankings. That's your decision, quit complaining about it like it's someone else's fault. Not everyone has to run around in circles because you're cleaning up the very mess that you made.
And if you really want my opinion(!), I'd say it's good on you. All the people that made money by ranking in the easy days of directory listings are now paying the price. Poetic justice. You know how many directory links I have to clean up? None.
And if you're still reading, the real lesson here is, a domain costs $10. If you're going to place any more value on it than that, then don't do things that'll get you burned later. Do that kind of stuff on a $10 domain that you can throw away when it gets burned.