Problem

Roku, a leading media streaming company, provides its users with the ability to stream television programs, movies, music, and more, on their personal devices. Roku also facilitates access to hardcore pornography channels through hundreds of private and hidden channels.

This stands in sharp contrast to the policies of other streaming device industry leaders such as Apple TV or Amazon’s Fire TV, which have rightly kept hardcore pornography off of their systems.

With an estimated 10 million monthly users, Roku is a company that produces streaming devices that connect to the Internet allowing you to display content on your TV, including content from popular web-based video hosting services like YouTube and Netflix. Roku also offers “channels” similar to standard TV channels (although competitors like Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV call them “apps”).

Roku’s public directory has more than 3,500 channels including many free providers like YouTube, PBS Kids, TED, Pandora, as well as subscription-based channels like Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu. Roku also allows developers to set up “private” or “hidden” channels which can only be downloaded with a code or direct link to the Roku website. Roku has at least 1,800 such private channels.

Roku does not expressly allow pornographic channels in their public channel store, however, because they allow developers to set up “private” or “hidden” channels, Roku has become a major mainstream destination for streaming sexually exploitive content. Hundreds of these channels can be accessed via direct download from the Roku website. In contrast, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV have taken measures to prohibit hardcore pornographic content from being accessed through their services.

Pornographers are well aware of the backdoor Roku has left open to them. They widely advertise for their channels and applaud Roku in forum after forum for being the one streaming device to permit this material. It is even more alarming that many of these pornographers are creating two porn channels on the Roku system. One channel is clearly marked as pornography, while another that they call “discreet” has a misleading name and cover graphic so as to “hide” these channels in one’s homepage. Much of the pornography available through the system depicts teen, incest, slavery, and incredibly violent themes.

Examples:

An example of a “discreet” channel that is really a front for a teen-themed porn channel.
An advertisement from one porn company

No other media streamer offers the amount of explicit video streaming channels as are available on Roku.

In the United States and around the world the culture of sexual violence—as characterized by sex trafficking, prostitution, sexual assault, and child sexual—remains a deeply entrenched problem. Therefore, we must begin addressing forms of sexual abuse and exploitation at their root. Research demonstrates that pornography fuels these problems. Thus, major corporations such as Roku, which are involved with the distribution of hardcore pornography, are contributing to the deepening of these already serious social ills.

We call on Roku  executives to follow the example set forth by other industry leaders by getting out of the business of facilitating access to hardcore pornography. This is Roku’s opportunity to become a corporate leader in the fight for a world free from sexual exploitation!

The public can join us by taking action below.

Proof

WARNING & Possible Trigger: These are screenshots of a sampling of pornographic channels available on Roku. All nudity is blurred. We are simply providing these examples as proof of Roku’s distribution of pornography to show that our accusations are factual.



Take Action

Email Roku Executives

Thank Apple For Its Good Work

Post on Social Media

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation rarely advocates for boycotts. Instead, we work to raise awareness and to change corporate policies.

You can help raise awareness about the need for Roku to stop facilitating pornography by posting the graphics found in the Tools section across all social media platforms.

Updates

Twelve Days of Action: Half-Way Through This Year’s Dirty Dozen List

While we’ve had a number of victories, the targets on the 2017 Dirty Dozen List have avoided changing their policies. They are still facilitating sexual exploitation. Examples of minimal progress: Comcast promised to implement changes, but insists on still selling extremely violent pornography. EBSCO Information Services has made some efforts to clean up their K-12 school […]

The Case for Naming Roku to the Dirty Dozen List

Roku, with an estimated 10 million monthly users, is a company that produces highly competitive streaming devices that connect to the internet and allow you to display content on your TV, including content from popular video hosting services like YouTube and Netflix. Roku offers “channels”, similar to standard TV channels, although competitors like Apple TV […]

You Can Tell Roku to Stop Streaming Sexual Exploitation

Roku is a popular streaming service that lets people bring TV, movies, and music into their homes. Unfortunately, this streaming service also facilitates hardcore pornography. Through “private” or “hidden” channel offerings, Roku allows well-known pornography companies to utilize its brand and technology to stream hardcore pornography. Similar companies like Amazon FireTV and Apple TV have remained […]

ARTICLE: Pornhub launches a Roku channel, says the ‘potential reach of this partnership is huge’

Originally Published: Talking New Media, by D.B. Hebbard, April 2016 … Roku has had an app store for a lot longer than Apple, and some publishers have experimented with the store by launching channel apps that contain video files. Bonnier’s Saveur and TIME magazine are examples, though neither app channel is very enticing. Now Pornhub […]

Tools

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