Nolte: Pornhub Under Fire for Allegedly Hosting Rape, Child Porn Videos

Porn actress Ginger Banks stands in the Pornhub booth during the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
AP Photo/John Locher

What consenting adults do in front of a camera for Pornhub — and what they watch at home — is none of my business. But what if it’s not “consenting,” and — my God — what if it’s not “adults”?

While America’s useless media meltdown over President Trump releasing a silly and harmless video of Nancy Pelosi ripping up his State of the Union speech, did you know that with a click, anyone of any age has access to the most hardcore porn available?

The front page (and a countless number of other pages) at Pornhub (which I won’t link) displays the most hardcore porn imaginable with a simple click. These are previews, not full videos, but the previews leave nothing to the imagination. No meaningful age verification is required.

How is that possible?

Why is that possible?

How is that legal?

Why is that legal?

I’m no prude. Far from it. I just don’t like porn. There’s a difference between sexy and dirty, and I grew out of watching that stuff decades ago, when you still had to feel the sting of shame that came with renting a VHS tape.

Nevertheless, I do not believe porn should be outlawed. But at this very moment, Pornhub is attempting to mainstream itself. The privately-owned site, a subsidiary of the more euphemistically-named company “MindGeek,” basically works as the YouTube of porn, a streaming video page looking to make money on subscriptions and advertising. Over the past half-decade or so, people’s main gripe with MindGeek was that it was creating a monopoly, starving competitors through piracy and then buying up the companies they weakened. But now there are serious accusations that the site is hosting revenge porn, videos of actual rapes, and even child porn.

Pornhub is a hosting site. The majority of its content is not self-produced, aside from content by other sites owned by parent company MindGeek and the occasional prestige project. But the site appears to have become so big it can’t possibly review or responsibly moderate all the content it hosts.  According to the Washington Examiner, up to 6 million videos are uploaded at Pornhub every year. And the market for this ocean of content is there. Pornhub records 42 billion — with a “b” — visits per year.

The problem is that anyone, literally anyone, can upload content:

In fact, all that is needed to upload pornography onto Pornhub is an email address. No government-issued ID is required, not even to become “verified” with their trusty blue checkmark that makes everything seem a-OK.

I know this, because I tried it.

It took me under 10 minutes to create a user account and upload blank test content to the site, which went live instantly. I could have then gone on to become Pornhub-verified, and all I would need to do is send a photo of myself holding a paper with my username. That’s it.

For traditional porn studios, this is another handicap vs. MindGeek. Title 18, Section 2257 of the U.S. Code has required directors to verify the age of all their performers at every shoot, maintaining documentation that everyone who appears on screen is legally eligible to do so. So, how does this statute apply to streaming sites where anyone with an email address can post videos? Can the platform skirt the documentation laws as long and warn independent performers or producers comply? Pornhub appears to be just dodging the question altogether.

And, of course, this setup is producing some real horror stories:

“I was raped at 14, and the video ended up on a porn site,” the BBC headline reads.

Last year Rose Kalemba wrote a blog post explaining how hard it had been – when she was raped as a 14-year-old girl – to get a video of the attack removed from a popular porn website. Dozens of people then contacted her to say that they were facing the same problem today.

A few months later, Rose was browsing MySpace when she found several people from her school sharing a link. She was tagged. Clicking on it, Rose was directed to the pornography-sharing site, Pornhub. She felt a wave of nausea as she saw several videos of the attack on her.

“The titles of the videos were ‘teen crying and getting slapped around’, ‘teen getting destroyed’, ‘passed out teen’. One had over 400,000 views,” Rose recounts.

Rose says she emailed Pornhub several times over a period of six months in 2009 to ask for the videos to be taken down.

“I sent Pornhub begging emails. I pleaded with them. I wrote, ‘Please, I’m a minor, this was assault, please take it down.'”

She received no reply and the videos remained live.

“The year that followed I withdrew into myself. I disassociated,” she recalls, “I felt nothing. Numb. I kept to myself.”

The problems with this are painfully obvious. Pornhub apparently has no idea whatsoever who is uploading content. Pornhub also has no idea and apparently doesn’t bother to verify the age of the performers in the videos, or if they consented to have sex, to be filmed, or to have the video commercialized and made public.

This is how 58 porn videos starring a 15-year-old ended up online, including — according to police — at Pornhub.

This is madness.

Are we so far gone in this country, so focused on bullshit like the federal government paying for biological men to have abortions that we can’t institute common-sense regulations that require sites like Pornhub to 1) require age verification before you can see anything considered pornographic, and 2) require the same consent checks and balances that filmmakers are required to abide by to ensure minors and others are not exploited?

Again, in no way do I want to see porn outlawed. But this is the first I’m discovering how unregulated and easy to access this all is, and that has to change.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

 

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.