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Dozens of women are suing Pornhub alleging it shared nonconsensual sex videos

Dozens of women are suing Pornhub alleging it shared nonconsensual sex videos


Dozens of women are suing Pornhub alleging it shared nonconsensual sex videos

Pornhub and its parent company, MindGeek, are being sued by over a dozen women who allege the site intentionally monetized videos depicting rape, child sexual exploitation, trafficking and other nonconsensual sexual content, allegations that the company denies. The suit claims the plaintiffs “were ignored, shamed, and sometimes mocked when they asked MindGeek to remove videos of their abuse from its porn platform.”The lawsuit was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court Central District of California. The suit is seeking damages and protection for plaintiffs. In a statement to USA TODAY, Pornhub said it is reviewing and investigating the complaint, as it does with any allegation made about its platform, and that it “has zero tolerance for illegal content.”MindGeek owns over 100 pornographic websites, production companies and brands including Pornhub, RedTube, Tube8 and YouPorn.Court cases: Supreme Court issues decision on Obamacare after challenge from 18 statesMore: US court sides with Catholic agency in care disputeThe civil complaint called the company a “classic criminal enterprise” profiting off nonconsensual sexual content.”This is a case about rape, not pornography. It is a case about the rape and sexual exploitation of children. It is a case about the rape and sexual exploitation of men and women,” according to the lawsuit filed by Brown Rudnick LLP. Brown Rudnick LLP is representing 34 people who say the videos were posted without their consent, according to the suit. Some of the plaintiffs are minors.The complaint includes just one named defendant while the other 33 requested anonymity.Michael Bowe, the lawyer representing the alleged victims, said the company “has operated like an old-school red-light district of commerce where rules that do apply and should be applied haven’t been applied,” CNN reported, citing a conference call with reporters. An anonymous plaintiff on the call discussed the damage they said Pornhub inflicted on them. “It is time for the companies and individuals who have profited off of nonconsensual and illegal content be held liable for their crime,” one plaintiff on the call said. “I joined the lawsuit because I seek justice for myself and the countless victims who don’t come forward.”Pornhub said the claims that the company is run as a “criminal enterprise” similar to “The Sopranos” are “utterly absurd, completely reckless and categorically false.””This makes sense because this lawsuit is brought by Michael Bowe, a soldier of the ultra-right wing effort to shut down the adult content industry,” Pornhub’s email to USA TODAY said, in part. Bowe worked with attorney Marc Kasowitz to represent then-President Donald Trump during the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election. In February, Bowe appeared on the Doctor Oz TV show to discuss Pornhub’s alleged role in sharing nonconsensual sexual videos. Pornhub said it stands “resolutely” with all victims of internet-related abuse and is taking the allegations seriously. The company said it has safeguards in place that include banning uploads from unverified users and working with outside companies to remove illegal content.In April 2020, Pornhub hired Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP to conduct a review of the company’s content and focus on eliminating nonconsensual content. Last December, a New York Times column accused Pornhub of showing child abuse and nonconsensual sexual behavior. As a result, Mastercard, Visa and Discover stopped customers from making purchases on Pornhub.Pornhub has denied those allegations, calling them “irresponsible and flagrantly untrue.”Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda

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