An adult website is on the receiving end of a hefty lawsuit after dozens of women stepped forward to accuse the site of profiting from videos depicting nonconsensual sexual activity.
The civil complaint alleges that Pornhub parent company MindGeek is a “classic criminal enterprise” with a business structure created to monetize nonconsensual sexual content.
Thirty-four women are included in the lawsuit filed in California.
MindGeek is one of the largest online pornography companies in the world. It owns over adult websites, production companies and brands, including RedTube, Tube8 and YouPorn.
Speaking to CBS News, a woman named Isabella disclosed that she was just 17 when her boyfriend coerced her into making a video. Isabella says she was naked in the video clip filmed. She moved on with her life, but she says while in college, she received a text from a close friend:
“I didn’t know you did porn,” the text read.
The video had been posted to the site without her consent.
“Immediately, I knew it was me. I mean, my face, my outfit — immediately,” she said. “My heart dropped into my stomach.”
The video had been viewed more than 200,000 times.
Pornhub denies the allegations.
“Pornhub has zero tolerance for illegal content and investigates any complaint or allegation made about content on our platforms,” the company said in a statement to BBC News, adding that it is “the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history, which include the banning of uploads from unverified users.”
In December 2020, a New York Times investigation found that the adult streaming site had been “infested” with child abuse and with videos depicting nonconsensual sex..”
Lauren Tabaksblat, partner at the law firm Brown Rudnick LLP, representing the women, said the company,” has been conducting a gaslighting campaign in the media and social media to discredit the victims. With the filing of this suit, we want to put an end to these shameless attacks, give voice to these and other countless victims, and force MindGeek to adopt practices that ensure only consensual content is on its platform.”