March 18, 2021

Roku Has Facilitated Child Sexual Abuse Images and More Via Pornhub Private Channel—It’s Time to Shut It Down

Roku is an American media-streaming company that proudly operates the number one most used TV streaming platform in the nation. Roku helps content providers reach a larger consumer audience by setting up channels on the Roku platform, and allows consumers to stream content on their personal devices. However, what you might not know about Roku is that they have also become a major destination for the streaming of hardcore pornography. Pornography producers and consumers laud Roku for being the only mainstream media company that allows pornography on their platform and devices, through “private” or “hidden” channels. Most notably, and perhaps most egregiously, Roku hosts a private channel for Pornhub, a major pornography company that has recently come under fire for streaming videos of child sexual abuse, rape, sex-trafficking, and other illegal content.

Numerous survivors have spoken out about their abuse being distributed on Pornhub, and the Pornhub staff’s failure to remove the content or otherwise deal satisfactorily with the issue when it was brought to their attention. These allegations have led to much media attention, as well as government investigations into Pornhub’s crimes. Furthermore, many massive corporations such as Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal have rightly decided to cut financial ties with Pornhub.

Roku, however, has not followed suit, and continues to provide infrastructure that enables Pornhub’s exploitative practices.

All this is especially egregious because Roku claims to follow a Code of Ethics, the fundamental principles of which are “acting ethically and obeying the law, both in letter and in spirit”. One would think that this would forestall Roku partnering with a company like Pornhub (owned by Mindgeek), whose actions have been neither ethical nor legal. Hopefully no one needs to be convinced that Pornhub’s callous response to survivors and failure to remove abusive content transgresses basic common-sense ethics. But in addition to being unethical, Pornhub has broken the law in more than one way. As a Canadian-based company, they are subject to Canadian Law. In 2011, Canadian Parliament passed a law which stated that, if internet content-hosting service providers came across Child Sexual Abuse Material online, they were legally obligated to report it. For almost 10 years following the passing of this law, Pornhub failed to report the Child Sexual Abuse Material on their platform, despite receiving many complaints from victims. Instead, they usually continued to knowingly monetize this abuse. Furthermore, the evidence is overwhelming that the Pornhub executives have lied under oath to Canadian Legislators—another offense prohibited by the Criminal Code of Canada.

For these reasons a group of survivors and other advocates from over a dozen countries, including the International and National Centers on Sexual Exploitation have called on Roku to cancel the private Pornhub channel, and discontinue its affiliation with its exploitative parent company MindGeek.

Please help us hold Roku to account by emailing the company and sharing about this issue on social media.

Further Reading