PornHub Sued by 34 Women Claiming Videos Were Used Without Consent

Some of the women donned disguises to share their grim story.

A group of 34 women are suing PornHub for using videos without their consent.

The lawsuit against parent company MindGeek accuses it of racketeering, running a “criminal enterprise”, and knowingly profiting off non-consensual videos that involve trafficking, rape and even child porn.

A number of the women donned disguises to share their harrowing stories for a CBS investigation.

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One victim, “Isabella”, told the broadcaster a high school ex-boyfriend had sent a sex video she had made at 17 to someone else, who uploaded it anonymously; she found out about it when a college friend told her “I didn’t know you did porn.”

“The video got sent to me, and immediately I knew it was me. I mean, my face, my outfit — immediately,” she said. “My heart dropped into my stomach.”

She said more than 200,000 had watched the clip — “including everybody at my college, pretty much.”

“The view count on the video will forever haunt my dreams,” she added. “Just knowing that that many people saw it really messed me up.”

Breaking into tears, she said the video made her feel “Shame. And guilt. Because I feel like I did it to myself. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I am the victim of something.”

Another victim, “Aubrey”, said her ex-husband had secretly recorded them having sex, and uploaded it without telling her. The video was watched more than 400,000 times.

“I will never, ever be able to recover the emotional pain that this has caused me,” she said. “It truly, truly was a living nightmare.”

“Everybody had seen everything about me. And that’s just — that’s a very private moment. And it’s a very vulnerable moment. And it’s just — it’s hard to come to terms with. That the world has seen that.”

She immediately contacted PornHub to ask for it to be taken down; instead she was challenged by a company rep asking “How do you know this is you?”

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“I know this is me by several things. That is my bed, I have a mole on my right hip, that is my face, my voice, THAT IS ME and I am pissed,” she said.

“I told them that it’s me and I’m mad that it’s up there, and that I recognize myself, I recognize my bed… it’s me. And they need to take it down immediately.”

It took days for the video to be removed. But Aubrey said it just kept popping up on other porn sites soon afterward.

A third victim, “Ashley”, told the outlet that she was drugged unconscious and raped by her ex-husband, who shared the video in a PornHub video titled “Sleeping Pills.”

He was later on charged with sexual assault, distributing intimate images without consent and indecent exposure.

A fourth victim, “Michelle”, said she attempted suicide after being coerced into making videos at age 15, by someone who has since been convicted of blackmailing children to sexually abuse themselves on camera.

She said strangers to this day contact her about the videos; one man even showed up at her home, claiming he’d tracked her down through PornHub.

Of the 34 victims in the civil lawsuit, 14 of them were under age when their videos were filmed. Also, 14 said they were victims of people who were charged or convicted of sex crimes.

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Michael Bowe, the lawyer representing the women, said “This case is not about porn, it’s about rape.”

“The law prohibits what they are doing,” he said. “The law has not been enforced.”

He said the projected image that PornHub is a friendly, cleaner mainstream porn site “is a front.”

“This is an organization that deals with legitimate porn, [from] which you can make a fortune. But, that wasn’t enough. They incorporated into that business child porn, traffic porn, rape videos, to make money.”

He is seeking damages for all 34 victims, adding the payout could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.

In a statement, MindGeek told CBS: “The spread of illegal content is an existential threat to the internet, and every platform has the moral obligation to join the fight against it. Illegal material on the internet harms its victims, internet users and all platforms that operate online.

“Any suggestion that the company tolerates or celebrates this material is patently false.”

It added: “Anyone who attempts to post nonconsensual imagery or child sexual abuse material on the internet is a criminal, and we are committed to remaining at the forefront of the internet when it comes to the elimination of illegal content. Every online platform has the responsibility to join this fight, and it requires collective action and constant vigilance. We hope other platforms will use our model to help eradicate unwanted content.”

Last year, in a crackdown on nonconsensual content, the company deleted 9-10million of its videos, removed the ability to download clips, and added an ID verification requirement to uploaders.

PornHub boasts 130 million daily users, and is in the top ten most visited sites in the world.

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