Pornhub: More than 30 women sue streaming site over lack of consent

Lawsuit alleges that MindGeek pursued an aggressive campaign in an attempt to shame victims

Maroosha Muzaffar
Friday 18 June 2021 09:16
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<p>A Pornhub logo is displayed at the company's booth at the 2018 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on 24 January, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 34 women have accused the company of uploading their videos to the site without their consent </p>

A Pornhub logo is displayed at the company's booth at the 2018 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on 24 January, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 34 women have accused the company of uploading their videos to the site without their consent

Thirty-four women have filed a lawsuit against the company that owns PornHub and various other pornography websites, claiming that their videos were uploaded to the site without their consent.

The women have lodged a civil suit against MindGeek — the company that owns PornHub — in the US District Court for the Central District of California and accused the company of running a “criminal enterprise.”

CBS News, which spoke with four out of the 34 women, reported that those suing the company have accused it of exploiting them for profit, hosting and promoting graphic videos of rape, revenge porn and even videos that depict child sexual abuse.

The lawsuit states: “With 3.5 billion visits per month to MindGeek’s flagship tube site, Pornhub, and its other tube and paysites, and a library of tens of millions of videos, MindGeek is the most dominant online pornographer in the world.”

The lawsuit further alleges that MindGeek pursued an aggressive campaign in the press and on social media over the course of the last year in an attempt to shame, discredit, and intimidate victims and advocates who dared to speak out.

Lauren Tabaksblat, partner at the law firm Brown Rudnick LLP, representing the 34 women, said: “Pornhub has been conducting a gaslighting campaign in the media and social media to discredit the victims. With the filing of this suit, we want to put an end to these shameless attacks, give voice to these and other countless victims, and force MindGeek to adopt practices that ensure only consensual content is on its platform.”

Isabella, a pseudonym used by one of the 34 women, told CBS News that Pornhub did not try to contact her to confirm her age or to ask whether the video had been consensual. She said that she was 17 years old when her then-boyfriend had forced her into making a nude video. Then she forgot about it until she was in college. A friend texted her one day and said: “I didn’t know you did porn.”

Isabella says she found out that the link to the video was anonymously posted on the site without her consent.

She was quoted as saying: “Immediately, I knew it was me. I mean, my face, my outfit — immediately. My heart dropped into my stomach.”

More than 200,000 people watched Ms Isabella’s video — “including everybody at my college, pretty much. The view count on the video will forever haunt my dreams. Just knowing that many people saw it really messed me up.”

PornHub meanwhile has said that the accusations by 34 women are “utterly absurd, completely reckless and categorically false.”

BBC quoted PornHub’s spokesperson as saying: “Pornhub has zero-tolerance for illegal content and investigates any complaint or allegation made about content on our platforms.”

MindGeek owns and operates more than 100 pornographic websites. It also owns porn production companies but CBS News claimed that for years the majority of content on PornHub was uploaded by users.

Meanwhile, the New York Times last year in December had also revealed that PornHub had videos of child abuse and rape-related videos on its website. PornHub however again denied this.

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