PornHub’s Parent Company MindGeek Faces Lawsuit for Allegedly Hosting Nonconsensual Sex Videos

PornHub’s Parent Company MindGeek Faces Lawsuit for Allegedly Hosting Nonconsensual Sex Videos

Dozens of women are suing PornHub’s parent company, MindGeek, for allegedly running a “classic criminal enterprise” that knowingly profits from videos depicting rape, child sexual abuse, revenge porn, and other nonconsensual sex acts, according to a joint lawsuit filed on Thursday.

The civil complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of 34 alleged victims of child pornography, rape, and human trafficking. The women accuse PornHub of profiting from videos posted without their consent, according to a statement from their lawyers at Brown Rudnick LLP on Thursday.

“This is a case about rape, not pornography,” the complaint reads.

The firm is seeking damages for the “devastating” effects this exploitation has left on the plaintiffs as well as protections for them and “thousands of other victims” from further exploitation. The lawsuit also calls for MindGeek to adopt stricter policies to ensure only consensual videos are permitted on its platforms moving forward. MindGeek owns over 100 pornographic websites, including PornHub, RedTube, and YouPorn, that collectively bring in 3.5 billion views every month, the firm said.

Michael Bowe, who is representing the alleged victims, said in a conference call to reporters on Thursday that he is hopeful this case will be “a watershed moment” for the online pornography industry, which so far “simply hasn’t been policed enough,” CNN reports. He described the industry as operating “like an old-school red-light district” where important regulatory measures have been overlooked or ignored in favour of monetisation.

For its part, MindGeek has denied the suit’s allegations. In a statement to multiple outlets on Thursday, PornHub said it’s reviewing and investigating the complaint as part of its standard procedure because it has “zero tolerance for illegal content and investigates any complaint or allegation made about content on our platforms.”

The statement went on to say that PornHub has stringent measures already in place to detect and remove this kind of content. This includes a blanket ban on uploads from unverified users, a policy first instituted in December that saw millions of videos purged from the platform.

“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,” the company wrote.

It’s not the first time MindGeek has faced complaints regarding its library of tens of millions of porn videos. MasterCard, Discover, and Visa cut ties with PornHub in December in the wake of a damning New York Times column accusing the site of hosting nonconsensual and often illegal material. PornHub denied these allegations at the time and has since rolled out a bevy of updates to its moderation policies, detection systems, and verification rules. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

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