Jonathon Van Maren

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Anti-porn crusader details legal victory against ‘porn prof’ who tried to use the court to shut him down

Gary Wilson was sued by Nicole Prause, who viciously smeared him in an attempt to discredit his ongoing research into how pornography is harmful. He won.
Wed Aug 26, 2020 - 9:17 pm EST
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August 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — For years, the evidence that porn is utterly destructive has been mounting. Pornography has not only been mainstreaming sexual violence, but been spurring erectile dysfunction among young men and reshaping the relationships of entire generations. Laila Mickelwait of Exodus Cry has been consistently highlighting the vile abuses of PornHub, which showcases sexual assault and violence and regularly hosts videos of trafficking victims.

So why do so many academics consistently defend pornography? At a conference in Houston several years ago, I attended a lecture by Dr. Mary Anne Layden, one of the leading academics exposing the links between violence and porn. She explained that a handful of so-called intellectuals, whom she dubbed “the porn profs,” defended the porn industry due to their own connections to it. Gabe Deem, who came on my podcast recently, released a video this week on “The Porn Playbook,” explaining how academics such as Dr. David Ley and Dr. Nicole Prause “disinform, defame, and deny” to protect organizations like PornHub.

Even irreligious critics of the porn industry come under attack. Gary Wilson, the founder of the famous “Your Brain On Porn” site, is one such critic. He’s been pulled into court by “porn prof” Nicole Prause, who viciously smeared him in an attempt to discredit his ongoing research into how pornography is harmful. He explained in an interview how Prause has lied about him and why his recent legal victory against her is so important.

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LifeSite: Why is there so much resistance from a handful of academics to the science around porn addiction? 

Wilson: There has long been a close alliance between the most influential clique of sexologists and the porn industry. For example, the top sexology journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior, was for decades the official publication of the IASR (International Academy of Sex Research). For decades, the IASR was funded by Playboy Enterprises until it was turned over to the Kinsey Institute. See: Hugh Hefner, the International Academy of Sex Research, and Its Founding President | SpringerLink. It seems that old allegiances die hard, at least among Kinsey grads like Nicole Prause.

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LifeSite: Who is Nicole Prause, and why is she such a staunch defender of the porn industry?

Wilson: Nicole Prause, Ph.D. is a sexologist and former academic with degrees from Kinsey Institute. She has done research, some of which has been heavily critiqued in the peer-reviewed literature. She ignores the preponderance of the research on porn and is a vocal proponent of its harmlessness. She claims to have debunked “porn and sex addiction” with two papers the results of which are, in the opinion of various experts, actually consistent with the addiction model. She also appears to enjoy a very cozy relationship with the porn industry. (See: Is Nicole Prause Influenced by The Porn Industry?)

Few people know that Prause has stealthily created at least two websites with social media accounts supporting the porn industry:  

  1. 2016 — “PornHelps,” which had its own Twitter account (@pornhelps), was a website promoting the porn industry. Among its activities, it pushed outlier studies reporting the “positive” effects of porn. “PornHelps” chronically badgered the same people and organizations that Prause also often attacked using her own name and social media accounts. Both the @pornhelps Twitter account and PornHelps website were suddenly deleted when Prause was outed as being PornHelps.
  2. 2019 — Prause, as manager of RealYBOP Twitter and RealYBOP website, is also engaging in defamation and harassment of me, Alexander Rhodes, Gabe Deem, NCOSE, Laila Mickelwait, Gail Dines, and anyone else who speaks out about porn’s harms. In addition, David Ley and two other RealYBOP “experts” are now being compensated by porn industry giant xHamster to promote its websites (i.e., StripChat). Their mission is to convince users that porn addiction and sex addiction are myths. Prause (manager of the trademark-infringing RealYBOP Twitter) appears to be tight with the pornography industry and uses RealYBOP Twitter to promote the porn industry, defend PornHub (which hosted child porn and sex-trafficking videos), and attack those who are promoting the petition to hold PornHub accountable. This new site (not mine) exposes RealYBOP: Real Your Brain On Porn Exposed — Uncover the facts

LifeSite: What are the details of this case? 

Wilson: In February, 2020, Prause filed a temporary restraining order request (claiming I was endangering her), without notice to me (this was the latest in Prause’s seven-year reign of terror). The initial judge denied it and set a March hearing date to give me a chance to appear. This led to a second hearing date, as Prause still had not served me properly by the first.

For the next three months, Prause could have dropped her fraudulent restraining order with no repercussions to herself. In June, in an effort to avoid being dragged down to LA to attend the restraining order hearing scheduled for July, I filed an anti-SLAPP motion to have the restraining order (R.O.) dropped. SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” which essentially means I was claiming that she filed the R.O. just to silence me because the alternative was a costly legal appearance. Anti-SLAPP laws are intended to prevent people from using courts to intimidate people who are exercising their First Amendment rights.

I filed my SLAPP motion because she was trying to suppress my free speech (I have critiqued her studies and claims), ruin my reputation, force removal of evidence of her unethical behaviors from YBOP, and intimidate witnesses in two defamation lawsuits filed against her (Donald Hilton, M.D. and Nofap founder Alexander Rhodes). Her M.O. is to harass and defame those who speak about porn’s harms, intimidating them into silence. Enough was enough.

As it turns out, the judge combined the two matters (the restraining order and the anti-SLAPP motion), and both Prause and I were able to participate remotely (due to COVID-19). This spared me from going anywhere near her, thankfully.

Shortly before the August 6 hearing, her own attorney tried unsuccessfully to withdraw from representing her. One of his reasons, according to his Declaration, was that she was attempting to force him to behave unethically — that is, to do something he could not do in good faith. We know from the document he filed seeking a continuance that she had tried to make him submit a lot of inadmissible “evidence” (likely in the form of letters from her friends, and unsupported accusations), so we suspect he was referring to this. 

Around this same time, she announced on Twitter that she had obtained a “protective order” against me (which was entirely untrue). The judge denied her attorney’s request for a continuance, affirming the August 6 date. After the hearing, the judge ruled in my favor. In order to do so, that is, in order to grant my anti-SLAPP motion, the judge had to find (1) that her restraining order was unlikely to succeed on its merits and (2) that it was, in fact, an attempt to suppress my rights to speak out on a matter of public interest (see: Nicole Prause’s fabrications of victim-hood exposed as groundless: she is the perpetrator, not the victim).

The final, more elaborate order is under review. After the judge signs it, he will also have to approve my motion with the actual accounting of attorney fees my lawyer has charged. Anti-SLAPP suits automatically award attorney fees to the victor, but the amount must first be “blessed” by the court. All this will take time.

LifeSite: Why is it important, and what do people need to know?  

Wilson: It is important because porn proponent Nicole Prause, with the help of her equally agenda-driven colleagues, is using unethical and illegal methods to try to silence and de-platform those of us who speak about the harms of porn. Prause was willing to infringe on my legal rights in a malicious attempt to silence my voice. 

Over the past seven years, she has falsely, publicly, repeatedly accused me of being such things as a “physical stalker,” “white supremacist,” “fraud,” “pseudoscientist” and “Mormon porn collector,” and of “hacking into computers” and sending death and rape threats. (That’s a very short summary — much more here: page 1, page 2, page 3.) As an aside, she also sought to apply for my trademarks (YBOP, YourBrainOnPorn); still infringes on them (RealYourBrainOnPorn.com); and, of course, filed her unfounded restraining order against me.

She has also falsely accused others of similar things, including researchers, medical doctors, therapists, psychologists, a former UCLA colleague, The Reward Foundation, men in recovery, TIME magazine editor Belinda Luscombe, professors, IITAP, SASH, Fight The New Drug, Exodus Cry, NoFap.com, RebootNation, YourBrainRebalanced, academic journal Behavioral Sciences, its parent company MDPI, U.S. Navy medical doctors, the head of the academic journal CUREUS, and the journal Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, to name a few (see: Numerous Victims of Nicole Prause’s Malicious Reporting and Malicious Use of Process).

No matter how egregious a false accusation, a defamation suit is not a practical remedy for her defamation because legal fees can run hundreds of thousands of dollars for her victims yet cost zero dollars for Prause. This is because her insurance company covers her defense costs in such suits. This is why Prause brazenly continues to defame me and many others (including the two who have filed defamation suits against her, Don Hilton and Alex Rhodes). She doesn’t have to pay a dime but can bleed her victims dry. 

Even if I were victorious, collecting damages and attorney fees is problematic. Only the lawyers come out ahead in such suits.

Finally, this year, Prause targeted me with her baseless restraining order request, and I had no choice but to defend myself. Fortunately, the judge agreed that her restraining order was nothing more than an illicit attempt to silence me by forcing me to spend thousands of dollars defending my reputation and granted my anti-SLAPP motion. 

LifeSite: How do you respond to the accusations Prause is making against yourself and others (like Gabe Deem, who has come on our podcast) on social media platforms? 

Wilson: As explained, she makes many false allegations and misrepresents events in malevolent ways. Her primary goal is to ruin the reputations of those who speak about the harms of porn use or suspect activities in the porn industry. It’s a tried and true propaganda tactic — if you can’t address the evidence, disparage and defame the messengers. 

When asked specific questions about her accusations, I try to answer as honestly as possible, often with supporting evidence I have been documenting for several years. When necessary, I “lawyer up” to defend myself from her aggressive actions such as the baseless restraining order request and her attempt last year to grab, and then infringe upon, my trademarks.

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, Jonathon interviews John O’Sullivan, a speechwriter for British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. An author and conservative writer whose essays have been featured in National Review, O’Sullivan shares his thoughts on everything from international affairs and the future of conservatism to Brexit and Black Lives Matter. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below:


  courts, defamation, gary wilson, lawsuit, nicole prause, your brain on porn

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