The Latest on Pornhub: Class Action Lawsuit + Undercover Investigations

Pornhub and its parent company Aylo (formerly MindGeek) have been doing everything in their power to avoid accountability for facilitating mass sexual crime. But the courts and undercover journalists are not letting them get away with it!

In a historic ruling, a federal district court in California has granted a motion to certify a class in a case against Aylo/Pornhub for allegedly “systematically participat[ing] in sex-trafficking ventures involving tens of thousands of children by receiving, distributing, and profiting from droves of child sexual abuse material (“CSAM”).”

Following on the heels of this groundbreaking ruling, a new undercover investigation by Sound Investigations has exposed more of the company’s shockingly lax policies around underage or nonconsensually created/uploaded content. Employees at Aylo’s advertising arm, TrafficJunky, confirmed that:

  1. Advertisers who uploaded child sexual abuse material would not get their account suspended and would not be reported to the authorities, and
  2. Advertisers would not be asked if they had obtained consent of the individuals in pornographic videos

What Does the Class Action Certification Mean? Why Is It Important?

The District Court’s certification of the class action lawsuit against Pornhub establishes that each plaintiff will not need to bring their own case individually; they can unite as a class. This decision means the Court found enough evidence of numerous victims who have been harmed in a common way—in other words, evidence of systemic abuse.

The court found, “there is evidence from Defendants’ own records demonstrating the presence of thousands of pieces of CSAM on their sites.” Further, the court states, “evidence suggests that Defendants knew that users were uploading significant amounts of CSAM to their websites. And despite that knowledge, Defendants did not implement sufficient policies and practices to prevent that from occurring over and over again.

While the case still needs to proceed to trial to establish liability, the certification is an important and groundbreaking step. It is the first time a pornography website will be forced to face a class of injured children.

Aylo Employees Confirm: “We Won’t Ask If You Have the Consent” 

Sound Investigations has released a number of scathing undercover videos, in which Aylo employees are caught admitting to the company’s appalling negligence around child sexual abuse material and non-consensually created/uploaded content.

The most recent video focuses on TrafficJunky, Aylo’s advertising arm. Advertisers may pay TrafficJunky to show pornographic ads on Pornhub and other pornography sites. In the video, undercover journalists posed as potential advertisers talking to TrafficJunky customer support. Numerous times, various support staff assured the journalists that they would not be asked if they had obtained consent of the individuals in the pornographic content, and that they did not need to provide any verification or identity documents before uploading content.

For example, one support staff stated: “We won’t ask you before you uploaded the pictures if you have the consent. You can upload them. My advice would be that you get the consent. That would be ideal. But if you are still uploading the creatives, I mean, we cannot stop you from advertising the pictures or the videos, right?”

Further, the undercover journalists were repeatedly assured by more than one employee that Aylo would not report them to the authorities if they uploaded child sexual abuse material:

Journalist: “If something does slip by, and perhaps there’s an underage model in there, you guys will email us and notify us?”

TrafficJunky support: “Yes.”

Journalist: “You won’t report us to like the authorities or the police?”

TrafficJunky support: “Yes. Telling it to the authorities are not part of our job as well.”

Journalist: “But you won’t contact the authorities.”

TrafficJunky: “Yeah. We won’t.”

An employee also stated that uploading child sexual abuse material would not result in the account being suspended:

TrafficJunky support: “But if you do upload something with, you know, someone that’s potentially underage, we will just reach out to you and let you know that that’s prohibited. Your account is not likely to become suspended or anything like that.”

Undercover Journalist: “If you guys deem anything against the rules, if someone looks to young, that’s not going to hurt the account?”

TrafficJunky Support: “Um, it shouldn’t.”

It is worth emphasizing that these conversations were recorded in August and September 2023. This means that even now, after Aylo/Pornhub has come under so much fire and has touted its supposed reforms, the company is still assuring advertisers that they can upload child sexual abuse material without repercussions, and it is still openly neglecting to verify consent.

Aylo has proven time and time again that it cannot be trusted to reform or self-regulate. This mega-exploiter must be held accountable.

ACTION: Donate to the NCOSE Law Center

The NCOSE Law Center is representing survivors in another class action lawsuit against Aylo/Pornhub. Please consider making a donation, so we can continue pushing forward for Aylo/Pornhub to be held accountable and for survivors to receive justice!

The Numbers

300+

NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

100+

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

93

NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

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