Pornhub Sued By Dozens Of Women, Say Site ‘Knowingly Profited From Videos Depicting Rape’
In this photo illustration, the Pornographic video sharing website Pornhub logo is seen displayed on an Android mobile device with a couple holding hands image in the background.
Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In its latest legal battle, the pornographic website Pornhub is being sued by more than 30 women who are accusing it of multiple crimes, including the violation of federal sex trafficking laws, the distribution of child pornography, and racketeering.

“The suit alleges that Pornhub’s parent company, MindGeek — and its constellation of porn brands — is a criminal enterprise that purchases, launders and uploads illegal content often obtained through human trafficking and sexual assault,” reported NBC News. “The women say in their suit that MindGeek used nonconsensual content to ‘become the dominant online pornography company in the world.’”

“Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the complaint alleges that Pornhub and MindGeek knowingly profited from videos depicting rape, child sexual exploitation, revenge porn, trafficking, and other nonconsensual sexual content,” according to a press release

The suit alleges that the women were victims of various sexual crimes, and were “victimized first by their original abuser, and then repeatedly by the defendants in this case.” 

The case is alleging “claims under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, which provides a private right of action for victims of human trafficking against any entity that engages in trafficking or benefits from a trafficking venture.”

“The statute allows for recovery of punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. The complaint also alleges federal racketeering claims, federal child pornography claims, as well as various state statutory and common law claims,” the press release explained, adding that the law firm “is seeking damages for the devastation this exploitation has caused these victims, protection for them and thousands of other victims from further exploitation, and the imposition of stringent policies and procedures that ensure only legitimate, legally compliant consensual content is permitted on MindGeek’s platform.”

Pornhub denied the allegations, describing them as “utterly absurd, completely reckless and categorically false.”

“Pornhub has zero tolerance for illegal content and investigates any complaint or allegation made about content on our platforms,” it said in a statement. “The allegations in today’s complaint that Pornhub is a criminal enterprise that traffics women and is run like ‘The Sopranos’ are utterly absurd, completely reckless and categorically false.”

According to NBC News, Pornhub argued that it has “the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history, which include the banning of uploads from unverified users, expanding our moderation processes, and cooperating with dozens of non-profit organizations around the world.”

One of the women who have filed the suit against Pornhub is Serena Fleites.

“I’m one of the people who ended up homeless, ended up dropping out of school, ended up on drugs, completely detached from my family. I ended up trying to kill myself many times. I ended up in mental hospitals,” Fleites testified before Canadian legislators earlier this year.

This legal move follows the decision by Pornhub to suspend all videos from non-verified users on the website in December after credit card companies Visa and Mastercard threatened to remove access to their services. Pornhub argued that its verification requirements go beyond what “platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter have yet to institute.”

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