Mindgeek’s porn empire is on the verge of collapse

By Jonathon Van Maren

For decades, it has appeared that the digital porn industry is an unbeatable giant, oozing slime from nearly every screen worldwide. Porn companies rake in more money than entertainment giants; they both facilitate and exacerbate addictions stronger than heroin habits; more than any other corporations, they have facilitated the moral degradation of our society and the breakdown of human relationships.

Six years ago, I was present at a private lecture by several anti-porn activists who laid out a strategy to take down Mindgeek, the porn giant that owns Pornhub. I remember being both hopeful and skeptical — how could a company with so much money, that openly specializes in sexual content that celebrates abuse and degradation, be successfully targeted? As it turns out, the hard, dogged work of activists determined to make the filth-peddlers pay came to fruition.

It has been one scandal after another for Mindgeek over the past several years, with major companies cutting ties, their social media pages being shut down, and reams of press highlighting their distribution of child porn and videos of rape and assault. The once-untouchable corporation has become toxic almost overnight. One of the organizations that has worked so hard to bring this about is the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, a leading non-partisan, U.S.-based organization exposing the links between sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking, and the public health harms of pornography. CEO Dawn Hawkins explained how the campaign against Mindgeek is proceeding.

How significant are the blows that Mindgeek has been facing?

Anti-exploitation advocates and sexual abuse survivors have been fighting for years to dismantle Pornhub/MindGeek because it has hosted child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, non-consensual, incest and racist material.

Recently, a lawsuit against Pornhub and Visa brought by a sex trafficking survivor was allowed to move forward after a federal judge rejected significant portions of the credit card company’s motion to dismiss it from the case. In rejecting Visa’s attempt to avoid going to court, the judge ruled that there was enough evidence showing that the company ‘knowingly provid[ed] the tool to complete the crime” of distributing child sexual abuse material to warrant the survivor’s lawsuit against Visa being heard in court.

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