Jonathon Van Maren

From the front lines of the culture wars

Blogs

The New York Times takes on Pornhub over brutal underage rape and abuse videos

Maybe — just maybe — this is the beginning of the end of one of the worst companies on planet Earth.
Tue Dec 8, 2020 - 9:29 am EST
Featured Image
Smartphone with Pornhub logo Shutterstock

December 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — It is a safe bet that most people reading this don’t have much use for The New York Times, the once-grand Gray Lady that long ago devolved into a viper’s pit of progressives who despise everything social conservatives stand for. But that said, when the “paper of record” decides to tackle an issue, it means something. The New York Times still has clout. And last week, one of their most prominent columnists — Nicholas Kristof, the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes — decided to take on Pornhub.

Kristof’s column is chillingly titled “The Children of Pornhub,” and he takes no prisoners. He is obviously incensed by what he discovered, and tweeted his findings to none other than the Canadian prime minister: “A special question for Canada, because Pornhub is based in Montreal. Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau, you are rightly proud of your reputation as a feminist. So why does Canada host a company that inflicts rape videos on the world?” Somehow, I suspect that Trudeau won’t answer.

The horrifying orgy of rape, sexual abuse, torture, and sadism that unfolds daily on Pornhub won’t be news to most of my readers, but it is worth taking a look at a few excerpts from Kristof’s column. Many people who badly want to ignore the brutality of the porn industry have had their attention dragged to what is going on, and it is gruesome stuff. Pornhub, Kristof notes, racks up 3.5 billion visits a month, more than Netflix or Amazon. One ranking, he observes, “lists Pornhub as the 10th-most-visited website in the world.” Why is this a problem? Kristof explains:

Yet there’s another side of the company: Its site is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags … Most aren’t of children being assaulted, but too many are …

Pornhub is like YouTube in that it allows members of the public to post their own videos. A great majority of the 6.8 million new videos posted on the site each year probably involve consenting adults, but many depict child abuse and nonconsensual violence. Because it’s impossible to be sure whether a youth in a video is 14 or 18, neither Pornhub nor anyone else has a clear idea of how much content is illegal.

Unlike YouTube, Pornhub allows these videos to be downloaded directly from its website. So even if a rape video is removed at the request of the authorities, it may already be too late: The video lives on as it is shared with others or uploaded again and again.

“Pornhub became my trafficker,” a woman named Cali told me. She says she was adopted in the United States from China and then trafficked by her adoptive family and forced to appear in pornographic videos beginning when she was 9. Some videos of her being abused ended up on Pornhub and regularly reappear there, she said.

“I’m still getting sold, even though I’m five years out of that life,” Cali said. Now 23, she is studying in a university and hoping to become a lawyer — but those old videos hang over her.

“I may never be able to get away from this,” she said. “I may be 40 with eight kids, and people are still masturbating to my photos.”

Porn, Kristof says, is not the problem (and that’s where he’s wrong — as comedian Jeremy McLellan noted on Twitter: “Just a huge coincidence that every #MeToo story is also the plot of a porno.”) Kristof says rape is the problem, but his column highlights how the porn industry and sexual abuse have become inextricably linked:

I came across many videos on Pornhub that were recordings of assaults on unconscious women and girls. The rapists would open the eyelids of the victims and touch their eyeballs to show that they were nonresponsive. Pornhub profited this fall from a video of a naked woman being tortured by a gang of men in China. …

Of course, Pornhub promptly responded to Kristof by claiming that they are “committed” to combating child abuse, which is obviously a lie. Kristof follows up their denial with more stories of lives destroyed by the industry in irrevocable ways:

At 14, Serena K. Fleites was an A student in Bakersfield, Calif., who had never made out with a boy. But in the eighth grade she developed a crush on a boy a year older, and he asked her to take a naked video of herself. She sent it to him, and this changed her life. He asked for another, then another; she was nervous but flattered. “That’s when I started getting strange looks in school,” she remembered. He had shared the videos with other boys, and someone posted them on Pornhub.

Fleites’s world imploded. It’s tough enough to be 14 without having your classmates entertain themselves by looking at you naked, and then mocking you as a slut. “People were texting me, if I didn’t send them a video, they were going to send them to my mom,” she said. The boy was suspended, but Fleites began skipping class because she couldn’t bear the shame. Her mother persuaded Pornhub to remove the videos, and Fleites switched schools. But rumors reached the new school, and soon the videos were uploaded again to Pornhub and other websites.

Fleites quarreled with her mother and began cutting herself. Then one day she went to the medicine cabinet and took every antidepressant pill she could find.

Three days later, she woke up in the hospital, frustrated to be still alive. Next she hanged herself in the bathroom; her little sister found her, and medics revived her.

As Fleites spiraled downward, a friend introduced her to meth and opioids, and she became addicted to both. She dropped out of school and became homeless.

At 16, she advertised on Craigslist and began selling naked photos and videos of herself. It was a way to make a bit of money, and maybe also a way to punish herself. She thought, “I’m not worth anything any more because everybody has already seen my body,” she told me.

Those videos also ended up on Pornhub. Fleites would ask that they be removed. They usually would be, she says — but then would be uploaded again. One naked video of her at 14 had 400,000 views, she says, leaving her afraid to apply for fast-food jobs for fear that someone would recognize her.

So today Fleites, 19, off drugs for a year but unemployed and traumatized, is living in her car in Bakersfield, along with three dogs that have proved more loyal and loving than the human species. She dreams of becoming a vet technician but isn’t sure how to get there. “It’s kind of hard to go to school when you’re living in a car with dogs,” she said.

“I was dumb,” she acknowledged, noting that she had never imagined that the videos could be shared online. “It was one small thing that a teenager does, and it’s crazy how it turns into something so much bigger.

“A whole life can be changed because of one little mistake.”

Some of us have been screaming about this for years. Porn is ruining lives and swallowing childhoods whole — and our culture is ignoring the fact that Pornhub is pumping poison straight into our cultural groundwater while claiming to be woke about sexual assault. But while we virtue-signal about sexual abuse, we are also a culture that does this:

“They made money off my pain and suffering,” an 18-year-old woman named Taylor told me. A boyfriend secretly made a video of her performing a sex act when she was 14, and it ended up on Pornhub, the police confirmed. “I went to school the next day and everybody was looking at their phones and me as I walked down the hall,” she added, weeping as she spoke. “They were laughing.”

Taylor said she has twice attempted suicide because of the humiliation and trauma. Like others quoted here, she agreed to tell her story and help document it because she thought it might help other girls avoid suffering as she did.

What we’re seeing in the case of Pornhub is the largest outlet of a porn monopoly, which Kristof skillfully uncovers. Again, those of you who regularly read alternative media sources, including LifeSiteNews, will probably not be surprised by this. But the fact that progressives are being forced to confront this is a very good thing:

Pornhub is owned by Mindgeek, a private pornography conglomerate with more than 100 websites, production companies and brands … If it operated in another industry, the Justice Department could be discussing an antitrust case against it. Pornhub and Mindgeek also stand out because of their influence. One study this year by a digital marketing company concluded that Pornhub was the technology company with the third greatest-impact on society in the 21st century, after Facebook and Google but ahead of Microsoft, Apple and Amazon.

Nominally based in Luxembourg for tax reasons, Mindgeek is a private company run from Montreal. It does not disclose who owns it, but it is led by Feras Antoon and David Tassillo, both Canadians, who declined to be interviewed … Pornhub appears to be increasingly alarmed about civil or criminal liability. Lawyers are circling, and nine women sued the company in federal court after spy cam videos surfaced on Pornhub. The videos were shot in a locker room at Limestone College in South Carolina and showed women showering and changing clothes.

Despite Pornhub’s claims that they are increasing the number of moderators, the content is still horrifying, as Kristof discovered, explaining that while terms like “underage” have been eliminated from search possibilities, many other similar terms allow viewers to access the same content. And then there is content like this:

Moreover, some videos seem at odds with the list of banned content. … Another user posts videos documenting sex with teenage girls as they weep, protest and cry out in pain.

While Pornhub is becoming more careful about videos of potentially litigious Americans, it remains cavalier about overseas victims. One Indonesian video … shows what appears to be a young teenager having sex. …

“They’re making money off the worst moment in my life, off my body,” a Colombian teenager who asked to be called Xela, a nickname, told me. Two American men paid her when she was 16 for a sexual encounter that they filmed and then posted on Pornhub. She was one of several Pornhub survivors who told me they had thought of or attempted suicide.

In the last few days as I was completing this article, two new videos of prepubescent girls being assaulted were posted, along with a sex video of a 15-year-old girl who was suicidal after it went online. I don’t see how good-faith moderators could approve any of these videos.

Naked videos she made as a minor continue to haunt Fleites on Pornhub.

“It’s always going to be online,” Nicole, a British woman who has had naked videos of herself posted and reposted on Pornhub, told me. “That’s my big fear of having kids, them seeing this.”

That’s a recurring theme among survivors: An assault eventually ends, but Pornhub renders the suffering interminable.

Naked videos of Nicole at 15 were posted on Pornhub. Now 19, she has been trying for two years to get them removed.

“Why do videos of me from when I was 15 years old and blackmailed, which is child porn, continuously [get] uploaded?” Nicole protested plaintively to Pornhub last year, in a message. “You really need a better system. … I tried to kill myself multiple times after finding myself reuploaded on your website.”

Kristof suggested that credit card companies take action, and as one example of how influential his column is, Bloomberg reported on Saturday that Mastercard is already reviewing their ties to MindGeek after the revelations in the Times, stating that they do not tolerate illegal activity on their payment network. “We are investigating the allegations raised in the New York Times and are working with MindGeek’s bank to understand this situation, in addition to the other steps they have already taken,” Mastercard announced in a statement. “If the claims are substantiated, we will take immediate action.” Apparently, several investors are already speaking out in the wake of Kristof’s revelations. Visa, another credit card company, reacted in a similar way.

— Article continues below Petition —
  Show Petition Text
0 have signed the petition.
Let's get to 1!
Thank you for signing this petition!
Add your signature:
  Show Petition Text
Keep me updated via email on this
petition and related issues.
Keep me updated via email on this petition and related issues.
  Hide Petition Text

Kristof summed everything up with brutal precision: “Pornhub is Jeffrey Epstein times 1,000.” There are Members of Parliament in Canada — such as Arnold Viersen — who have been sounding the alarm on this for years. There are politicians in America, such as Senator Ben Sasse, who have been doing the same. Activists such as Laila Mickelwait have been relentlessly bringing the sexual atrocities of Pornhub to light. If The New York Times and the mainstream media finally join the fight, maybe — just maybe — this is the beginning of the end of one of the worst companies on planet Earth.

Jonathon’s podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he is joined by Dr. Jeff Myers, President of Summit Ministries, and one of America’s most respected authorities on youth leadership development.

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below:


  pornhub, pornography, rape, sexual abuse of minors, the new york times

Keep this news available to you and millions more

Your gift will spread truth, defeat lies, and save lives


Share this article