Dozens of women sue Pornhub alleging it profits from non-consensual content

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Dozens of women have sued the company that owns PornHub. They’re alleging that the adult video website profits from non-consensual content.

34 women filed a lawsuit in California which describes the site as a “classic criminal enterprise” run in the same way as the fictional Sopranos mafia.

The lawsuit

It’s alleged that MindGeek, the owner of PornHub, has created a “bustling marketplace” for “child pornography, rape videos, trafficked videos and every other form of non-consensual content”.

The lawsuit states:

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.

Read on...

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And it is a case about each of these defendants knowingly and intentionally electing to capitalise 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.

The lawsuit only names one of the plaintiffs. Meanwhile four are listed as being UK citizens when they were filmed. And 14 said they were underage at the time and therefore ‘victims of child sex trafficking’.

Survivors

Crystal Palace footballer Leigh Nicol shared a statement on Twitter saying she was a victim after her private videos appeared on the site:

Nicol said:

When the videos appeared on PornHub it ruined my life, it killed my personality, it zapped the happiness out of me. It brought me almost two years of shame, depression, anxiety, horrifying thoughts, public embarrassment and scars.

I still bear those scars. It’ll be an ongoing battle for the foreseeable future for myself and other survivors.

Serena Fleites is the only plaintiff the lawsuit names. She was allegedly 13 when her boyfriend coerced her into making a sexually explicit video. It was uploaded to Pornhub without her knowledge or consent, the lawsuit states, and was viewed millions of times.

Fleites became depressed and attempted suicide as a result of the video, the lawsuit claims.

According to the lawsuit, the women have suffered “substantial damages,” including “physical, psychological, financial and reputational harm”. Moreover, it states that MindGeek’s websites are some of the most popular on the internet. And the online porn industry as a whole may generate as much as 97bn USD a year (£70bn).

Lawyers for the women are demanding substantial damages.

Pornhub’s response

In a statement, Pornhub said it has “zero tolerance” for illegal content and investigates all complaints.

It described the allegations of running a criminal enterprise similar to that of the Sopranos as “utterly absurd, completely reckless and categorically false”.

And Pornhub said its website has:

the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history, which include the banning of uploads from unverified users, expanding our moderation processes and cooperating with dozens of non-profit organisations around the world

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