Jonathon Van Maren

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40 sex-abuse survivors launch $40M lawsuit against Pornhub for profiting from illegal vids

'Victims and survivors deserve justice, and Pornhub and MindGeek (Pornhub’s parent company) must be held accountable—both financially and legally—for the full scope and magnitude of its crimes'
Wed Dec 16, 2020 - 1:46 pm EST
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December 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Since the New York Times published their bombshell report by Nicholas Kristof on the orgy of rape and sexual abuse featured daily on Pornhub, the bad news continues to pour in for Mindgeek. U.S. senators are putting forward bipartisan legislation; a Canadian parliamentary committee is calling on top executives to testify; and Pornhub deleted over 10 million videos—up to 60% of the site’s content—in a panicked scramble to avoid accountability. The strategy does not appear to be working.

Today, Pornhub got hit again when the news broke that forty survivors of abuse and sex trafficking are filing lawsuits against the site for facilitating their online exploitation. In January, survivors of a porn production company called Girls Do Porn won $12.7 million from the company, with the men who ran Girls Do Porn are still facing federal sex trafficking charges. The civil suit detailed the threats, manipulation, grooming, and deceit utilized by the pornographers to accumulate the material. The victims were at times even “trapped in hotel rooms.”

Like many other traffickers and perpetrators of sexual exploitation, Girls Do Porn uploaded videos of the victims to Pornhub, which has consistently (and deceitfully) claimed to have a stringent verification process for videos. Pornhub promptly monetized the videos and raked in profits from the victims—and refused to take the videos down, even after the victims were awarded millions in a civil lawsuit against Girls Do Porn. Forty victims have filed suit on December 15 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, represented by the Holm Law Group PC and The O’Brien Law Firm, APLC.

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According to Benjamin Bull, general counsel for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), this is a hugely important step. “It’s very significant in that it continues to publicly reveal the outlaw nature of Pornhub,” he told LifeSiteNews. “They are pretending to be a responsible online operator when in fact they are the leading exploiter of women in the world. This is a zeitgeist moment, similar to the Harvey Weinstein story breaking and changing the cultural view. Exploiting women is unacceptable and perpetrators will be punished. They have been outed as a predator.”

Bull noted that Pornhub will be fighting this case tooth and nail. “The key will be getting past a motion to dismiss, which I’d say is 50/50,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Pornhub will attempt to buy their way out of the lawsuit rather than allow wide discovery into their business model.” After all, the stakes are incredibly high for Pornhub. If the lawsuits succeed, says Bull, “they will be required to change their business model in the same way the tobacco industry had to change their business practices. There will be strong constraints on uploading exploitative videos, warning labels, and a flood of additional lawsuits.”

Jake Roberson, NCOSE’s director of communications, says that more action is necessary. “We are urging the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Pornhub,” he stated. “Congress should also pass the EARN IT Act, which would finally allow digital platforms like Pornhub, Twitter, and Facebook to be held accountable if they aid and abet the distribution or consumption of child sexual abuse material.” While the recent progress has been encouraging, he told LifeSiteNews, “the work is far from over. Victims and survivors deserve justice, and Pornhub and MindGeek (Pornhub’s parent company) must be held accountable—both financially and legally—for the full scope and magnitude of its crimes.”

NCOSE and their allies are already pushing forward. “It has come to light that Visa, Mastercard, and Discover are still working with and processing transactions for TrafficJunky, the ad platform that Pornhub’s owner, MindGeek, also owns and which it uses to run advertising on Pornhub,” he explained. “We will be working to encourage credit card companies to sever these ties and any others that allow Pornhub to stay in business.”

In the meantime, Roberson told LifeSiteNews, we shouldn’t be taking Pornhub at their word. “There is certainly no reason for anyone to trust Pornhub. Regardless of any of Pornhub’s recently announced ‘improvements,’ the reality remains that it has profited for years from rape, child sexual abuse material, sex trafficking, revenge pornography and other racist and misogynistic content. Its entire business model is based on facilitating and monetizing the harm of women and the exploitation of myriad marginalized individuals. Pornhub must face full financial and legal accountability. Pornhub must be shut down.”

While we are far from that goal, we are closer than we’ve been in years.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Jojo Ruba, founder and executive director of Faith Beyond Belief, an organization that seeks to give Christians the tools needed to become effective apologists and ambassadors for Christ. Ruba discusses the recent news that the Canadian government, under liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is trying to ban therapy for persons struggling with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria. 

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 


  mindgeek, national center on sexual exploitation, pornhub, pornography

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