Roku, a leading media streaming company, provides its users with the ability to stream television programs, movies, music, and more, on their personal devices. Unfortunately, Roku also facilitates access to hardcore pornography channels through hundreds of private and hidden channels.In the age of #MeToo, @RokuPlayer is facilitating pornography that depicts teen, incest, slavery, and incredibly violent themes. #TimesUp for #Roku! Click To Tweet
Pornographers are well aware of the backdoor Roku has left open to them. They widely advertise for their private channels and applaud Roku in forum after forum for being the go-to streaming device to permit this material.
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.
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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.
No other media streamer offers the amount of explicit video streaming channels as are available on Roku.
Roku’s Promotion of Sexual Violence and Exploitation Through Facilitating Pornography
Surely Roku would not allow hundreds of white supremacist private channels to use and advertise Roku’s systems. Roku would act to protect its brand from being used to support such hate-filled and degrading messages regarding race—we are merely asking that Roku would do the same for women, who are the primary objects of hate-filled and degrading actions in pornography, as discussed in the research below.
By supporting these channels, Roku’s brand is linked in tacit agreement with the content pornography websites create and the messages they send.
- Pornography Teaches Users that Women Enjoy Sexual Violence and Degradation: Analysis of the 50 most popular pornographic videos (those bought and rented most often) found that 88% of scenes contained physical violence, and 49% contained verbal aggression.12 Eighty-seven percent of aggressive acts were perpetrated against women, and 95% of their responses were either neutral or expressions of pleasure. In a separate content analysis of free, Internet pornography, researchers found that nearly half of all videos in which two or more persons were present ended with the act of ejaculation on the face or mouth of a female by one or more males.
- Pornography Sends a Message that Women Are Less Deserving of Moral Treatment: A 2010 study from the European Journal of Social Psychology came to the conclusion that objectified persons are associated with less personhood, and so the person viewing the objectified person views them as less of a person and as less deserving of moral treatment. Pornographic images clearly objectify and should, according to the Twitter’s own standards, be removed.
- Pornography is Linked to Increased Sexual Harassment and Violence:
A study of 804 Italian males and females aged 14 to 19, found that males who viewed pornography were significantly more likely to report having sexually harassed a peer or forcing someone to have sex.
Building on the link between pornography use and sexual violence, a recent meta-analysis of 22 studies from seven countries provides clear evidence confirming that pornography exposure is significantly associated with sexual aggression. As the authors state, “the accumulated data leave little doubt that, on the average, individuals who consume pornography more frequently are more likely to hold attitudes conducive to sexual aggression and engage in actual acts of sexual aggression.”
Fraternity men who consumed mainstream pornography expressed a greater intent to commit rape if they knew they would not be caught than those who did not consume pornography. Those who consumed sadomasochistic pornography and rape-themed pornography also clearly display less bystander willingness to intervene, greater belief in rape myth, and greater intent to commit rape. In other words, there was no type of pornography that did not result in a greater intent to commit rape by a user if they knew they would not be caught.
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.
 Ana J. Bridges, Robert Wosnitzer, Erica Scharrer, Chyng Sun, and Rachael Liberman, “Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best-Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update,” Violence against Women 16, no. 10 (2010): 1065–1085.
 Stacy Gorman, Elizabeth Monk-Turner, and Jennifer N. Fish, “Free Adult Internet Web Sites: How Prevalent Are Degrading Acts?” Gender Issues 27, no. 3–4 (2010): 131–45, doi:10.1007/s12147-010-9095-7.
 Loughnan, Steve, et al. “Objectification Leads to Depersonalization: The Denial of Mind and Moral Concern to Objectified Others.” European Journal of Social Psychology, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 8 May 2010, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejsp.755/full.
 Silvia Bonino, Silvia Ciairano, Emanuela Rabagliette, and Elena Cattelino, “Use of Pornography and Self-Reported Engagement in Sexual Violence among Adolescents,” European Journal of Developmental Psychology 3, no. 3 (2006):265-288.
 Paul J. Wright, Robert S. Tokunaga, and Ashley Kraus. “A Meta-Analysis of Pornography Consumption and Actual Acts of Sexual Aggression in General Population Studies.” Journal of Communication, (December 29, 2015): 1-23.
 John Foubert, Matt Brosi, and R. Bannon, “Pornography Viewing among Fraternity Men: Effects on Bystander Intervention, Rape Myth Acceptance & Behavioral Intent to Commit Sexual Assault, Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 18, no. 4 (2011): 212-231.
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.
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The National Center on Sexual Exploitation rarely advocates for boycotts. Instead, we work to raise awareness and to change corporate policies.
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