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Pornhub owners’ execs resign amid scathing report

Top executives of Pornhub’s parent company have resigned amid a scathing report of non-consensual videos posted on the porn website. Picture: Shane Uchi/UnSplash

Top executives of Pornhub’s parent company have resigned amid a scathing report of non-consensual videos posted on the porn website. Picture: Shane Uchi/UnSplash

Published Jun 23, 2022

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Chief executive Feras Antoon and chief operating officer David Tassillo of MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub, have both quit amid a scathing report of non-consensual videos posted on the porn website.

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The executives’ widely reported departure comes on the tail-end of a report by The New Yorker detailing graphic accounts of women and girls who had explicit videos of themselves leaked onto Pornhub.

Pornhub is one of the most infamous adult websites with over 100 billion video views a year, with over 125 million daily visits to the Pornhub Network sites, including YouPorn and Redtube.

The recent report highlighted failed moderation standards and filtering of websites such as these which ultimately allowed content of non-consensual victims and minors to be published on them and then widely shared on other sites.

However, it seems that these systems failed to protect minors from being exposed to their websites. Accounts by victims seemingly point to Pornhub as one of the first websites where content is distributed.

In the most significant account detailed in the report, the victim wrote to Pornhub in December 2018, saying: “Hi, I’m underage and had many videos and photos posted of me on here…They keep getting re-uploaded onto this site, and I am only 15 in them, and I don’t have the links. I don’t know what to do because every time I get them removed, you keep allowing them to be uploaded, it’s ruining my life.”

The Luxembourg-based company MindGeek responsible for Pornhub and other porn websites, including RedTube, YouPorn, and Brazzers, has claimed to be “an advocate for child protection” and “published content in a responsible way” using “verification tools, crucial in the fight to protect children”.

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In 2019, the company partnered with the International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE) with the mission of keeping children out of and away from age-restricted media.

Despite this, Mindgeek failed to maintain a clear perception of itself. In March 2021, Family First New Zealand joined forces with 104 sexual exploitation survivors and 525 NGOs from 65 countries calling on the Canadian Government to launch a criminal investigation into Pornhub-parent company MindGeek.

The open letter was submitted as part of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics inquiry into MindGeek for allegations of trafficking, underage content, and image-based abuse.

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More recently, Mindgeek came under fire in December when Mastercard and Visa cut ties after a bill was introduced in US Congress that effectively allowed victims of sexual assault, trafficking, and revenge porn to sue porn sites that allowed the non-consensual publishing of content.

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