Still image of Kanye West from his Apple Music Beats 1 interview with Zane Lowe
October 30, 2019

Kanye West: “[Porn addiction] affected almost every choice I made”

The research about the public health harms of pornography is clear, and now celebrity after public figure after icon — the latest being Kanye West — are increasingly willing to be vocal about the harms of pornography that they’ve personally witnessed and experienced.

Playboy was my gateway into full-blown pornography addiction,” Kanye West told Zane Lowe in an extensive interview for Apple Music’s Beats 1, “My dad had a Playboy left out [when I was five] and it’s affected almost every choice I made for the rest of my life—from age five to now having to kick the habit. And it just presents itself in the open like it’s okay. And I stand up and say, you know, it’s not okay.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Kanye also commented on the connection between strip clubs and sex trafficking, the way instant access to hardcore pornography has changed the way we view sexual material, and compared the similarities between his addiction to pain killers and his addiction to pornography.

The 42-year-old performer hasn’t been shy about discussing pornography in the past, but the candid admission of addiction during his lengthy Beats 1 interview was a stark departure from his past commentary.

As recently as August of 2018, West confessed to Jimmy Kimmel that having daughters hadn’t affected his view of the opposite sex with a blunt “Nah, I still look at Pornhub“—an admission that netted him a free lifetime premium membership from the prominent pornography website. Kanye’s subsequent rejection of pornography stands in powerful opposition to the desperate attempts of the pornography industry to position itself as a “respectable” entity.

Kanye West’s 180-degree pivot on pornography appears to highlight a remarkable transition in perspective and his comments on how the addiction impacted him are reflected in the research related to porn, addiction, and the harms of pornography. Over 15 states have now declared pornography to be a public health crisis and still more are in the process of considering similar measures.

Blurred image of a person sitting on a bed representing the federal charges against Girls Do Porn for trafficking
GirlsDoPorn’s Exploitation and Trafficking Are Not an Anomaly in the Porn Industry

In our rundown of the research and data that explains and confirms the public harms of pornography, there are several buckets that stand out as important indicators of porn’s widespread destruction:

  • Pornography is pervasive
  • Pornography negatively impacts sexual violence
  • Pornography has detrimental impacts on the brain
  • Pornography is associated with increases in sexually transmitted diseases
  • Pornography has negative physical, relational, and psychological impacts on males and females

There is so much information backing up the harmful effects of pornography on individuals and society that we had to dedicate an entire section of our website to covering it.

We’re glad to see more people speaking out about how dangerous and problematic porn and the pornography industry are, and we hope you will learn more and become a part of the movement to end sexual exploitation in all of its forms.

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Jake Roberson

headshot of Jake Roberson

Creative Director and Public Relations Manager

As a creative director in charge of public relations and digital strategy, Jake’s work with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation is to expose and subvert the complex web of sexual exploitation’s interconnectivity by leveraging digital mediums as a means for developing relevant tactics to reach, engage, convert, develop, and activate new allies for the fight to end sexual exploitation in all its forms.

Prior to his work with NCOSE, Jake spent five years running social media strategy for a large international nonprofit where he led content and marketing efforts that generated over $22 million in ROI from earned media value in the social media space, ideated creative campaign concepts that raised over $6 million in donations, brought in six figures worth of donation revenue from Facebook alone during his last three fiscal quarters there, and turned social media into one of the organization’s top three most-used resources.

When his work-life balance is well-balanced, Jake spends his time with his wife and four children by unsuccessfully attempting to convince them to enjoy his favorite hobbies (pickup sports, pop culture, and podcasting) in the few spare moments that aren’t filled with tending to their dreams, passions, and fights over who established possession over the toy first.

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