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Adult stars lash out at ‘war on porn’ after Pornhub forced to remove videos

Adult movie stars have lashed out at a ‘war on porn’ after PornHub was forced to remove 80 per cent of its videos over claims it is ‘infested’ with child abuse images.

The porn site which attracts 120 million visitors daily, ranking higher than Amazon and Netflix, has been forced to remove around 10 million videos uploaded by unverified users.

Credit card companies Visa, Mastercard and Discover have blocked their customers from making purchases on Pornhub since The New York Times published allegations it was profiting from videos of child sexual exploitation, rape and revenge porn.

But the adult performers who rely on Pornhub say that the decision has reduced their incomes to ‘pennies’ and have complained they are the victims of a ‘crusade against the sex industry’.   

Alana Evans, 44, President of the Adult Performers Actors Guild

Mary Moody, 29, (left) one of the website’s high-ranking actresses and Alana Evans, 44, (right) a veteran porn star and President of the Adult Performers Actors Guild union

Alana Evans, 44, a veteran porn star and President of the Adult Performers Actors Guild, said that this was made particularly difficult by the pandemic. 

‘Thousands of people have turned to this type of online sex work to feed their families, and this move is affecting those moms who just want to buy diapers and milk,’ she told NBC.

Pornhub, which attracted 42 billion views in 2019, is synonymous with online pornography and many adult performers feel it is an essential avenue to building a substantial audience.

Through Pornhub, the website’s Canadian owners have been able to carve out a dominant share of the industry, building other similar free ‘tube’ sites like YouPorn and RedTube, and their own production companies, Reality Kings and Brazzers.

Although Pornhub is famous for being free, performers are able to charge for premium content which they can offer to subscribers.

‘This is a crusade against the sex industry and the workers who comprise it,’ said Allie Awesome.

The 30-year-old told NBC she makes anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousands from Pornhub each month but this has now been reduced to ‘pennies’ which she takes from the site’s advertising share program.

Mary Moody, one of the website’s high-ranking actresses, used to rake in up to $2,000 per month for her sex videos.

‘Suspending Visa and Mastercard payments only prevents consensual adult sex workers from earning money on the site,’ the 29-year-old told the broadcaster.

'This is a crusade against the sex industry and the workers who comprise it,' said Allie Awesome

‘This is a crusade against the sex industry and the workers who comprise it,’ said Allie Awesome

Moody claims that the Times’ piece about Pornhub was fuelled by propaganda from ‘a dishonest, anti-LGBTQ extremist hate group’ who the author worked closely with on his article.

She also says that Pornhub is further ahead of many big tech social media firms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in policing child sex abuse images.

‘The allegations from the dishonest New York Times report fail to mention that porn sites do more to combat non-consensual sexual content & CSAM (child sexual abuse material) and have far less of it than major social media sites like Facebook,’ she said.

Carrie A. Goldberg, an attorney who specializes in sexual privacy violations, tweeted last week: ‘For every case involving a rape tape on Pornhub, I have 50 involving rape and CSAM being disseminated on Insta and FB.

‘Pornhub is far from perfect. But mainstream big tech is far worse and have a built-in mechanism for harassing victims directly.’

Mary Moody has 240,000 followers on Instagram

Mary Moody has 240,000 followers on Instagram

The Times piece claims that of the 6.8 million new videos posted each year on the site, ‘many’ depict ‘child abuse and nonconsensual violence,’ including scenes of incest and women being asphyxiated in plastic bags.

Because Pornhub users can download videos directly from the site, the Times argued, images of abuse could be endlessly reposted elsewhere on the Internet.

Simon Corneau, a professor in the sexology department of the University of Quebec in Montreal, said the decisions by Visa and Mastercard were a ‘major’ blow to Pornhub’s bottom line.

Pornhub called them ‘exceptionally disappointing,’ pointing to changes it made following the Times report: banning unverified users from uploading videos to the site, banning free downloads and increasing content moderation.

The credit card titans’ ban, it said, was ‘crushing for the hundreds of thousands of models who rely on our platform for their livelihoods.’

East Coast-based dominatrix Bardot Smith told NBC: ‘It’s one of many companies in the adult space that is exploitative and problematic in a number of ways. But people have to use them to make money.

‘If you search for a porn star’s name, it’s more likely you’ll get results from Pornhub and other tube sites than their private sites. It creates a monopoly on search traffic to adult content. So people are left with no choice but to interact with them.’ 

Pornhub is not new to controversy.

In 2019, several groups, including Unilever and Kraft Heinz distanced themselves from the site after an article in Britain’s Sunday Times identified videos with sexual content involving children.

Canadian Senator Julie Miville-Dechene, who in September proposed legislation aimed at preventing children from being exposed to pornography, told AFP there was ‘minimal verification’ of video uploads on Pornhub.

And ‘even if Pornhub takes down a video, it can reappear elsewhere online and spread,’ she said.

Miville-Dechene said she would take a wait and see attitude toward Pornhub’s latest measures.

A Liberal lawmaker meanwhile called Friday for the company’s top executives to appear before a parliamentary committee seeking explanations.

Canadian-owned site Pornhub, the 10th most visited website in the world, had 42 billion site visits last year

Canadian-owned site Pornhub, the 10th most visited website in the world, had 42 billion site visits last year

Responding to opposition questions, Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault this week told the House of Commons he was already working on new regulations to force ‘online platforms to eliminate illegal content including hate speech, child sexual exploitation and violent extremism content.’

A government bill would be introduced in early 2021, he said.

The spotlight on Pornhub comes in a context of proliferating child abuse imagery online: Cybertip, a Canadian tip line for reporting abuses, says it receives a total of about 10,000 calls per month about child exploitation cases.

In a statement, Pornhub told AFP it has ‘no tolerance’ for content that shows sexual abuse of children – while arguing that such images are infinitely less prevalent on its site that other major internet platforms.

Internet Watch Foundation, it noted, reported 118 such cases of abuse on its site in the last three years, compared to 84 million on Facebook.


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