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PornHub Owner MindGeek Faces Class Action in Canadian Court

— January 12, 2021

The proposed class action claims that MindGeek allowed videos of child sex exploitation–and other nonconsensual acts–on its subsidiary website, PornHub.

MindGeek, the adult entertainment conglomerate best-known for its ownership of PornHub, is facing a proposed class action accusing it of hosting and proliferating videos of child sex abuse.

The Globe and Mail reports that the lawsuit was initiated by an Ontario woman who claims that PornHub hosted a video which depicted her being sexually assaulted at the age of 12.

Lodged in Quebec Superior Court, the complaint seeks class action status. The anonymous plaintiff is also demanding that MindGeek pay approximately $600 million to everyone whose images were uploaded and hosted on the company’s websites—without their consent—after 2007.

While none of the allegations have yet been tested in court, MindGeek and its most famous subsidiary, PornHub, are facing multiple lawsuits in the United States and other jurisdictions.

According to The Globe and Mail, the plaintiff—identified in court documents only as Jane Doe—was not aware that there were images of her circulating on PornHub. She only began to investigate the site after an acquaintance messaged her on Twitter in 2019; Doe did not see the messages until several months after.

A gavel. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr/user: Brian Turner. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Upon seeing the message, Doe says she clicked on the PornHub link. Although she could not access the video—it was hidden behind a paywall—Doe claims to have recognized herself in the still image “previewing” the content.

In her lawsuit, Doe states that she filled out a form requesting that PornHub remove the video. Although she received an automated reply several days later, she is not sure whether PornHub actually took the vide offline.

Attorneys with Siskinds Desmeuls, the Quebec-based law firm behind the suit, said Doe’s treatment is not atypical.

MindGeek, claim Doe’s attorneys, took “no steps” to ensure that only consensual videos appeared on its many pornographic websites—some of which, like PornHub and YouPorn, allow “amateurs” to upload their own content.

The lawsuit further notes that neither PornHub nor MindGeek’s other amateur-accessible holdings employed or otherwise utilized volunteers trained to detect exploitative videos potentially depicting sexual assault, trafficked persons, or child pornography.

The Globe and Mail notes that, while MindGeek is registered in the small European nation of Luxembourg, its main offices are located in Montreal.

The company, which turns a half-billion dollar profit but generates comparably little revenue due to its outstanding debt, garnered extensive scrutiny following a New York Times publication.

Published in December 2020, the Times article alleges that MindGeek—knowingly or not—profits from videos depicting the illegal sexual exploitation of minors. The Times also made a well-known but little discussion observation: that PornHub clearly hosts “revenge porn,” featuring men, women, or both, who never consented for their sexual images and videos to be uploaded online.

Although PornHub and MindGeek have steadfastly denied all allegations of wrongdoing, PornHub has since removed over seven million videos uploaded by users without accounts or by users whose age and credentials could be not verified.


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Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek facing proposed class-action lawsuit

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