Pornhub Sued By 34 Women Who Say Underage & Rape Videos Were Posted Without Consent

Well, here it is — the other shoe dropping.

Last December we told you Pornhub had deleted 80% of their videos following a New York Times op-ed about child sexual abuse victims who said they saw videos of themselves uploaded onto the site.

The porn giant, which dwarfs even Netflix with traffic from 130 million viewers every day, was accused of lack of verification for videos posted there — meaning it was accused of NOT assuring all the participants in the sex acts were of age or consented to the publishing of the videos.

They changed their policy overnight to remove any possibility of crossing the line — but the damage was done for many women. And now 34 of them have signed on to a lawsuit against the site’s parent company, MindGeek (which also includes the sites Redtube, Youporn, Xtube, and Brazzers).

The suit, filed on Thursday, accuses the company of running a “criminal enterprise” which “embraced under-age, non-consensual, and pirated content in its business” and “profited from content produced through human trafficking.” Attorney Michael Bowe told CBS News that while Pornhub does deal in “legitimate porn,” which he points out could already make them a fortune, “that wasn’t enough”:

“They incorporated into that business child porn, traffic porn, rape videos, to make money.”

Mindgeek told the outlet the idea Pornhub was a criminal organization was “utterly absurd, completely reckless and categorically false.”

Unfortunately for them, they now have to answer to several women who make a very strong case.

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Without Consent

One of those women, wearing a disguise on camera and going only by the name Isabella, told her story to CBS This Morning. After a classmate in college told her they didn’t know she did porn, she found the video — and was shocked at what she saw.

“Immediately, I knew it was me. I mean, my face, my outfit — immediately. My heart dropped into my stomach.”

She assumes her high school boyfriend shared it with a friend who uploaded it. Now it’s been viewed over 200,000 times — including, she says, “everybody at my college pretty much.”

“The view count on the video will forever haunt my dreams. Just knowing that that many people saw it really messed me up.”

Isabella says no one at the company ever contacted her about the video. She was just 17 when it was recorded.

Another woman willing to go on camera in disguise was Aubrey, who knows exactly how her video got on the site. Her husband is facing criminal charges under the revenge porn law for secretly filming them and uploading it. She said when she contacted Pornhub, they fought her on it, asking how she knew it was her:

“I told them that it’s me and I’m mad that it’s up there, and that I recognize myself, I recognize my bed… it’s me. And they need to take it down immediately.”

Days later the video was finally removed, after it had gotten over 400,000 views. But of course this is the internet — so of course copies have now been uploaded to several other sites.

Rape Videos

Ashley was featured in a video titled “sleeping pills,” which was on the site for over three years before she found out last August. She claims this is how she learned she was drugged and raped by her then-husband, who uploaded a video of the crime without her knowledge.

She says even the changes made to the site’s policy last year, which require ID verification for the person uploading a video, aren’t enough:

“Of course you have consent from the person uploading the video. They’re the one uploading it. But it’s the people in the video that really need to be asked.”

Ashley’s ex was arrested just last week on charges of sexual assault and distributing intimate images without consent.

Underage Girls

Perhaps the most disturbing case mentioned in the CBS report was that of Michelle, who says she was coerced into making videos at just 15 years old — by a man who has already been convicted of blackmailing underage children into performing sexual acts on camera.

She says the videos have followed her around ever since they were up, with strangers recognizing her — and one man even showing up at her home and telling her he tracked her down through Pornhub.

Of the 34 women in the lawsuit, 14 of them — nearly half — say they were underage when they shot the videos that went up on the site. And no one checked.

The lawsuit has another secret weapon — a former executive of the company who claims illegal content was seen as “good for business.” He says when content was flagged as illegal on Pornhub, Mindgeek would often just move it to one of their other porn sites.

The civil suit is seeking damages for all 34 women, a figure that could get into the hundreds of millions depending on the jury.

Seems pretty tough to defend against…

The Defense

In a statement to CBS, Mindgeek wrote:

“The spread of illegal content is an existential threat to the internet, and every platform has the moral obligation to join the fight against it. Illegal material on the internet harms its victims, internet users and all platforms that operate online. Any suggestion that the company tolerates or celebrates this material is patently false.”

They continued by pointing to their own policy changes as proof they were on the right side of history:

“Anyone who attempts to post nonconsensual imagery or child sexual abuse material on the internet is a criminal, and we are committed to remaining at the forefront of the internet when it comes to the elimination of illegal content. Every online platform has the responsibility to join this fight, and it requires collective action and constant vigilance. We hope other platforms will use our model to help eradicate unwanted content.”

What do YOU think of this new lawsuit??

You can see some of the victims, in disguises of course, tell their stories on camera (below):

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