Over 700 Survivors, Advocates Call for Feds to Hold Pornhub's Parent Company to Account


Over 700 advocates on Tuesday called for the Department of Justice and FBI to conduct a criminal investigation into Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek, warning that the pornography platform is permitting “grave crimes” to continue.

“Based on the presented evidence, including testimony of victims and MindGeek executives … it is clear that MindGeek has violated federal sex trafficking and child protection laws, particularly child pornography distribution and reporting laws,” the group wrote in a letter to members of Congress.

The letter is signed by 132 survivors of sexual exploitation as well as representatives of over 600 organizations, including the Salvation Army, Fight the New Drug, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, religious groups, academic institutions and more.

“Congress must act to bring justice for survivors whose pleas to remove their child sexual abuse, sex trafficking and non-consensually recorded and distributed material on MindGeek-owned Pornhub have been repeatedly ignored,” Dawn Hawkins, CEO of NCOSE, said in a statement.

“MindGeek has profited from illegal material for far too long, and it must be held to account.”

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Only congressional leaders “have the power to discover why the sexual assault of women and children, child sexual abuse material (also known as child pornography), and non-consensual intimate images are being uploaded and distributed on internet platforms,” the letter said.

“This is occurring with no apparent legal consequences to individual perpetrators or the digital facilitators of monetized sexual abuse, (which constitutes human trafficking) as well as criminal sexual violence, and gross violations of privacy rights.”

The letter referred to testimony from victims and survivors during an April congressional hearing in which “victims described their powerlessness to remove documentation of crimes committed against them.”

One of these victims reportedly begged Pornhub to delete “intimate pictures of her” taken when she was 14 years old “to no avail.”

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“The experience led her to drop out of school, develop drug addiction, and become homeless,” the letter said. “She continues to suffer complex trauma and rarely leaves her home.”

MindGeek executives said during the April hearing that the company reviews every video before it is publicly posted, statements that support the accusation that MindGeek “knowingly and willfully distributed child sexual abuse materials which are present on their sites,” the letter said.

“Since MindGeek monetized the child sexual abuse materials, these admissions also show that they knowingly facilitated and benefited from sex trafficking of minors.”

“It is urgent that Congress demand that law enforcement agencies investigate MindGeek as the pace setter in what amounts to a massive criminal enterprise,” the letter said.

“Anything less than full legal accountability is an injustice to victims whose lives have been damaged as a result of MindGeek’s knowing and willful actions.

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“Moreover, in actions that may also be consumer fraud, MindGeek has admitted to enabling U.S. citizens to violate federal child pornography possession laws by encouraging the download and possession of images of child sexual abuse (i.e., child pornography),” according to the letter.

In a December Op-Ed for The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof accused Pornhub of monetizing “child rapes, revenge pornography, spycam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags.”

Kristof’s story prompted multiple lawmakers to call for investigations into Pornhub, and major credit card companies began reviewing their relationship with the popular pornography website.

Both Visa and Mastercard announced in December that they were no longer allowing their cards to be used on Pornhub, and Mastercard updated its requirements in April to ensure that porn websites document the age, identity and consent of all persons depicted in explicit content as well as those uploading the content. 

Following the backlash, Pornhub began removing videos that were not uploaded by the site’s official partners.

“As part of our policy to ban unverified uploaders, we have now also suspended all previously uploaded content that was not created by content partners,” Pornhub announced in December.

“This means every piece of Pornhub content is from verified uploaders, a requirement that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter have yet to institute.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation confirmed on Dec. 14 that Pornhub had removed 78 percent of its videos. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were over 3.2 million videos on the platform.

Neither Pornhub nor MindGeek immediately responded to requests for comment from the DCNF.

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A version of this article appeared on the Daily Caller News Foundation website.

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