Lawsuit From 34 Women Calls Pornhub a 'Criminal Enterprise'

Filing says site profited from nonconsensual videos
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2021 5:07 PM CDT
Lawsuit: Pornhub Profited From Nonconsensual Videos
Porn actress Ginger Banks stands in the Pornhub booth during the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas in 2018.   (AP Photo/John Locher)

With content added to the site by unverified users, and by not requiring verification of the ages and identities of people in those videos, Pornhub has avoided following the rules that govern the established porn industry, a new lawsuit says. The result is a "criminal enterprise," a draft of the suit says, that "profited from content produced through human trafficking." CBS reports that 34 women have signed on to the suit, saying Pornhub has exploited them for profit by posting videos of them without their consent. Those videos are not just of sex but of rape, revenge porn, and child sexual abuse, they say. Their lawyer, Michael Bowe, said Pornhub has been permitted to run free. "This new industry of online porn, for the last 10 years, has been allowed by law enforcement, government entities, to operate by a different set of rules. Basically, no rules or oversight," he said.

The suit was filed Thursday in federal court in California against MindGeek, the company that owns Pornhub and more than 100 other porn sites. MindGeek overhauled its policies since December, when Mastercard and Visa blocked their cards' use on the site after a public outcry over the nonconsensual content. The company said it took down 80% of its content, which came from unverified users. CBS spoke to a woman whose boyfriend talked her into making a nude video when she was 17. When she was in college, she said, a friend texted her: "I didn't know you did porn." The video had been posted without her consent, she said, and Pornhub didn't try to check her age or make sure it was consensual. She withdrew and changed schools after "everybody at my college, pretty much" had seen the video, a total of more than 200,000 people. "The view count on the video will forever haunt my dreams," she said. "Just knowing that that many people saw it really messed me up." (More Pornhub stories.)

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