Pornhub sued over alleged trafficking and child porn

National

MIAMI (NewsNation) — Internet porn peddler site Pornhub is facing a lawsuit that alleges that they knowingly participated in child pornography, rape, and human trafficking.

The lawsuit filed by the international law firm Brown Rudnick argues that MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub, is in violation of federal racketeering charges through its exploitation of non-consensual content. In the complaint, MindGeek is accused of being a “classic criminal enterprise run, according to those who know it best, ‘just like the Sopranos.'”

MindGeek operates pornographic website brands such as RedTube, YouPorn, and Pornhub, its most famous. They also own porn production companies. Pornhub is the most popular site for pornographic content in the world.

Thirty-four women are identified in the lawsuit by name or the title Jane Doe. Some are stated to be victims of child sex trafficking, while others allege adult sex trafficking.

“It is earth-destroying, life-shattering for these victims. It is one thing to experience a rape or be abused, and it is another thing for that trauma and the worst moment of your life to be uploaded to the world’s most popular porn site,” said Laila Mickelwait of the Justice Defense Fund. She’s been fighting Pornhub for a decade.

The suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California accuses the company of knowingly profiting from illegal acts and attempting to block the removal of illegal content from its platforms.

“Put simply, a central element of the business plan that the MindGeek used to become the dominant online pornography company in the world was the maximum use of non-consensual content. That business plan worked. And the Mindgeek defendants got rich,” the complaint states.

Pornhub responded to the allegations by telling a NEWS10 affiliate that they have zero tolerance for illegal content. The company also attacked the victims’ lawyer, claiming he is waging a holy war against legal pornography.

Pornhub called attorney Michael Bowe “a soldier of the ultra-right-wing effort to shut down the adult content industry.” They also called him a “legal pitbull aligned with fanatical groups who embrace extremist ideologies and Q-Anon conspiracy theories while masquerading as anti-trafficking organizations.”

Bowe responded to this claim, saying, “That is their trope for everybody. Everybody who criticizes them is some far-right-wing person who is trying to destroy the porn industry.”

Bowe emphasized that he believes porn is a legitimate business, and he has no issues with two consensual adults in pornography. His concern is the company profiting from nonconsensual sex and underage intercourse.

Last year, Pornhub removed all content from nonverified users, which made up 80% of its content. It also stopped users from being able to download videos and added a requirement for ID verification. The changes followed backlash and credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard banning purchases on Pornhub.

Mickelwait says underage users still slip through the cracks. “No human moderator can tell the difference on a consistent basis between a 16-year-old nude body and an 18-year-old,” said Mickelwait.

The suit also names major credit card company Visa as a defendant that also profited off the exploitation.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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