News

Visa Suspends Business With Pornhub Ad Services Following Child Porn Case Ruling

   DailyWire.com
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

One week after a federal judge ruled that Visa Inc. allegedly helped monetize child pornography through adult websites like Pornhub, the payment processing giant on Thursday said it would suspend its services with the advertising arm of Pornhub’s parent company, MindGeek.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney of the Central District of California wrote, “Visa knew that MindGeek’s websites were teeming with monetized child porn,” in the Fleites v. MindGeek lawsuit filed last year alleging Pornhub’s operator violated federal sex trafficking and child pornography laws.

Visa, who has since condemned child sex trafficking, sexual exploitation, and child sex abuse materials, had asked the court to dismiss the claim that the company violated a California law prohibiting false advertising and illegal business practices. However, Judge Carney denied the request.

Alfred Kelly, CEO of Visa, wrote in a blog post that the company “strongly disagree[s]” with the judge’s decision, adding the allegations have mischaracterized its policies and practices.

“The allegations in this lawsuit are repugnant and stand in direct contradiction to Visa’s values and purpose,” Kelly wrote.

Kelly, who felt compelled as a father and grandfather to speak out, said Visa cards would no longer be able to purchase advertising on any sites affiliated with MindGeek.

MindGeek’s advertiser, TrafficJunky, which garners 4.6 billion daily ad impressions on the world’s top adult websites, has indefinitely lost its “privileges” with Visa after the recent legal decision has created “new uncertainty” about the advertiser’s role, Kelly wrote.

“Visa has longstanding rules and processes designed to uphold the integrity of our network,” the CEO wrote. “We have taken this opportunity to reiterate and reinforce our requirements with respect to legal transactions with all acquiring institutions – those institutions that bring merchants to our network and hold direct relationships with them.”

“We have made it clear that acquirers and merchants who are unable to meet our standards and requirements are not welcome on our network,” Kelly added.

Following a New York Times exposé published in 2020 that highlighted the story of Serena Fleites, the plaintiff in the case against MindGeek, Visa suspended its services with websites that contained user-generated content in December 2020. To this day, the company says users cannot use Visa cards on Pornhub.

Fleites alleges a former boyfriend pressured her into making a sexually explicit video which he would later upload to Pornhub without her knowledge or consent when she was 13 years old. The video garnered millions of views and spiraled the plaintiff’s life out of control.

MindGeek issued a statement that said the court has not ruled on the veracity of the allegations and is required to assume all of the plaintiff’s claims are true and accurate.

“When the court can actually consider the facts, we are confident the plaintiff’s claims will be dismissed for lack of merit,” a spokesperson from MindGeek told Variety. “MindGeek has zero tolerance for the posting of illegal content on its platforms and has instituted the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history.”

The online porn network operator also claims to have banned uploads from anyone who has not submitted government-issued identification that passes a third-party verification.

MindGeek said it eliminated the ability to download free content, integrated several leading technology platforms and content moderation tools, and instituted digital fingerprinting of all videos found to violate its rules against non-consensual content and child sexual abuse.

“Policies to help protect against removed videos being reposted, expanded our moderation workforce and processes, and partnered with dozens of non-profit organizations around the world,” MindGeek’s spokesperson said. “Any insinuation that MindGeek does not take the elimination of illegal material seriously is categorically false.”

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has played a part in an international effort to dismantle Pornhub by acting as co-counsel on a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of two childhood sex trafficking survivors alleging the videos and images of their abuse were posted on Pornhub and other MindGeek-owned sites.

As the case against MindGeek develops, the non-profit has called on Visa to cut ties with the pornography industry altogether.

“Visa long supported the monetization of child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, rape, and image-based abuse images found on MindGeek-owned pornography websites by continuing to process payments for the company despite being put on notice by NCOSE and others of the abuse. Now, Visa has taken an incremental step, but they must do more,” Dawn Hawkins, CEO of the non-profit, told The Daily Wire.

“If Visa cares about these issues as much as they say they do, Visa must suspend all payment processing services for XVideos, XHamster, and all pornography tube sites as well as their advertising arms, not only TrafficJunky,” Hawkins said.

However, Visa’s CEO wrote the company would not make moral judgments on lawful purchases and said customers could purchase content from MindGeek studio sites that feature adult professional actors in legal adult entertainment.

The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Visa Suspends Business With Pornhub Ad Services Following Child Porn Case Ruling