34 women accuse Pornhub owner of hosting nonconsensual videos

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As many as 34 women are suing MindGeek for racketeering, intrusion into private affairs, distribution of private sexually explicit material and more. MindGeek owns over 100 adult content websites including Pornhub.

In papers filed with the United States District Court in the Central District of California, attorney Michael Bowe representing the 34 plaintiffs alleges that MindGeek has been profiting off of videos featuring the women which have been posted without their consent.

Each of the plaintiffs is an alleged victim of sex trafficking either as a child or as an adult.

“This is a case about rape, not pornography. It is a case about the rape and sexual exploitation of children. It is a case about the rape and sexual exploitation of men and women. And it is a case about each of these defendants knowingly and intentionally electing to capitalize and profit from the horrendous exploitation and abuse of tens of thousands of other human beings so they could make more than the enormous sums of money they would have otherwise made anyway,” wrote Bowe.

The filing goes on to liken MindGeek to a criminal enterprise, highlighting some of the firm’s darker moments including a rather disturbing bro-culture at an executive level.

The attorneys point to a long history of those associated with MindGeek and Pornhub making incredibly inappropriate “jokes” that downplay the seriousness of sexual assault, child abuse and human trafficking.

The accounts from the plaintiffs is harrowing to read and they paint MindGeek as a firm that isn’t as active when it comes to removing nonconsensual content as it would have the public believe.

In one account, a 19 year old girl was trafficked by an adult couple who filmed 12 videos of their assault of this girl. The videos were uploaded to Pornhub without her consent. Throughout 2020 Jane Doe 29 (as the filing refers to her as) tried to get the videos removed.

“Pornhub responded that ‘The Model’ had provided the necessary documentation and identification and so Pornhub did not remove the videos,” wrote the attorney.

And there are 33 more stories like that one above.

Pornhub is reportedly investigating the complaint and takes abuse of its platform seriously. However in the next breath Pornhub denies the allegations of the company’s structure in the worst statement we’ve read yet.

“The allegations in today’s complaint that Pornhub is a criminal enterprise that traffics women and is run like ‘The Sopranos’ are utterly absurd, completely reckless and categorically false,” Pornhub wrote to CNN.

But that’s just one aspect of this case. There are 13 complaints here and MindGeek’s statement doesn’t seem to address any of them.

The filing also accuses Visa of profiting from the exploitation hosted by MindGeek.

You may recall Visa and Mastercard cut ties with MindGeek last year but for one of those firms, the severed ties were quickly repaired.

“Visa’s ban on MindGeek’s websites was shortlived. Although Visa continues its ban on MindGeek’s websites that host usergenerated content, like Pornhub, in short order Visa reembraced MindGeek and began processing payments again for MindGeek’s paysites despite knowing that these revenue streams are likewise permeated with trafficking like GirlsDoPorn, and that MindGeek used its trafficking venture overall to attract, advertise, and funnel visitors revenues to these paid sites. As of the filing of this lawsuit, Visa continues to process payments for such content,” wrote the attorneys.

The women are seeking compensatory damages, restitution for all monies earned from videos and images of the women, costs, treble damages and a jury trial which sounds like a lot but, really, to our mind it’s the minimum.

We doubt this will be the end of Pornhub or MindGeek but perhaps its time to stop supporting firms that keep finding themselves in positions like this.

We’ve heard OnlyFans is looking to expand and at least that way you’re paying a model directly for their work.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.