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Pornhub Strikes Back At Petition To ‘Shut Down Pornhub’ Over Alleged Child Rape Films, Trafficking

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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  • The anti–sex trafficking and sexual exploitation group Exodus Cry created a petition against Pornhub that has garnered more than 400,000 signatures since it was created Feb. 10.
  • The petition argues that Pornhub is a “super-predator site” that does not check age or consent of those in pornographic videos uploaded to the site.
  • Pornhub responded to the petition Monday, calling it “factually wrong and intentionally misleading” and accusing Exodus Cry of being a “radical right wing fundamentalist group.”

Pornhub struck back Monday at a petition to shut down the website demanding that the pornography platform be held accountable for the role it’s accused of playing in sex-trafficking and allowing child rape films.

Director of abolition for Exodus Cry Laila Mickelwait told the Daily Caller News Foundation that she has focused her efforts for the past eight years on the connection between pornography, sex-trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Her Change.org petition calls for the government to “Shut Down Pornhub and Hold Its Executives Accountable for Aiding Trafficking,” and it’s garnered more than 400,000 signatures since it was created Feb. 10. The petition criticizes Pornhub for allegedly failing to have a system to reliably verify the age and consent of those depicted in pornography.

“My research took me to discover what anybody could discover if they go on Pornhub,” Mickelwait told the DCNF. “And that is the fact that Pornub does not require verification of the age or consent of millions of people who are uploading hardcore pornographic content to their website.”

Pornhub responded to the petition in a Monday evening statement to the DCNF, calling it “factually wrong and intentionally misleading,” adding that Exodus Cry is a “radical right wing fundamentalist group.”

The pornography platform also accused the founder’s of Exodus Cry of having attacked both LGBTQ communities and women’s rights group, aligning with “hate groups,” and  espousing “extremist and despicable language.”

Pornhub cited tweets from Exodus Cry President Benjamin Nolot in which Nolot compared abortion to the Holocaust, shared his belief that homosexual marriage is “an unspeakable offense to God,” and said that “apparently all that is needed to become a hero in today’s society is to tell everyone you are gay.”

“Those black people in the gym who it turns out are white people seriously need to chill out on the tanning salons,” Nolot said in another tweet which Pornhub highlighted to the DCNF.

“Pornhub has a steadfast commitment to eradicating and fighting any and all illegal content on the internet, including non-consensual content and under-age material,” the company said in a statement. “Any suggestion otherwise is categorically and factually inaccurate.”

The organization maintains that it has “state-of-the-art, comprehensive safeguards” that “combat and remove all unauthorized content that breaches the platform’s policies.”

“This includes a robust system for flagging, reviewing and removing all illegal material, age-verification tools, and employing an extensive team of human moderators dedicated to manually reviewing all uploads to the site,” Pornhub noted in the statement.

Pornhub added that it “utilizes a variety of digital fingerprinting solutions,” including a YouTube technology for combating Child Sexual Abuse Imagery, CSAI Match, Microsoft PhotoDNA, which is technology that “aids in finding and removing known images of child exploitation,” and Vobile, software that reportedly scans uploads for unauthorized materials.

Mickelwait argued that Pornhub’s response seeks to “gaslight and deflect from the crimes they have committed” by falsely accusing Exodus Cry.

She pointed out that the accusations came after Pornhub was confronted by “hundreds of thousands of people around the globe regarding Pornhub/MindGeek’s complicity in the mass sex trafficking and exploitation of women and girls,” and that the Exodus Cry petition is sponsored by more than 75 of the “most respected child protection and anti-trafficking organizations.” (RELATED: Child Sex-Trafficking Is More Common In The US Than People Realize, Activist Says. Here’s What You Should Know)

The accusations against Exodus Cry are “factually and categorically false,” Mickelwait added, “and an obvious and nefarious attempt to distract from the evidence that this company is enabling and profiting from the worst kinds of abuse — including sex trafficking, rape, and the exploitation of women and children — and that they must be held accountable for their actions.”

Pornhub is “clearly profiting,” enabling and promoting “the worst kind of racism, hatred, abuse and exploitation of minorities, children, women and the LGBT community, especially youth,” Mickelwait continued.

“Take for example a small sample of recent titles on their site,” she said, before listing the Pornhub video titles: “Daddy Came Home Frustrated and Abused a Boy to Crying,” “Schoolboy Takes A Huge Black Cock,” “Black Dude Used As A Boy Toy Gets His Butthole Gaped by 3 Big Raw Thugs” and “Daddy Fucked Young Teen Boy Virgin First Time.”

“Then remember, that as a matter of fact and as a practice, Pornhub does not check the age or consent of the millions of people in the videos it cashes in on — and that is why it is infested with videos of real rape and sex trafficking,” she said.
Photo courtesy of Laila Mickelwait.

Director of Abolition at Exodus Cry, Laila Mickelwait. Photo courtesy of Laila Mickelwait.

Mickelwait gave the example of a 14-year-old girl in Palo Alto, California, who had allegedly been raped by a family member. She said the incident was posted to Pornhub.

“She was found by peers on Pornhub,” Mickelwait said. “And that’s how that crime scene was recorded. And that’s how that crime was discovered, and the abuser was thrown in jail.”

“And there’s multiple instances like this that have been highlighted in recent months in the media, but it’s not just children, it’s also women,” she added, referencing the 22 women who won a $13-million lawsuit against Girls Do Porn videos.

“In all of these cases Pornhub has been profiting off of and enabling the sex trafficking, rape of women and children,” she said. “And this is what has come to light.”

Micelwait noted that she wrote a February op-ed in the Washington Examiner in which she critiqued Pornhub as “complicit in the trafficking” of women and minors “and probably thousands more like them.”

“People were calling on me to start a petition because they wanted to express their anger at what was going on on the world’s most popular website for pornography,” she explained. “And then it just took off.”

The petition has gained “global” attention, Mickelwait said, and garnered 411,560 signatures as of press time.

She said the petition is already effective. A multi-party coalition of Canadian Members of Parliament and senators issued a letter Monday to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanding that the Canadian government take action against both Pornhub and Mindgeek, the company that owns Pornhub.

Dozens of activists gathered Sunday in Montreal to protest outside of MindGeek and against Pornhub’s alleged sexual exploitation of women.

“Just like girls and women can be trafficked into the sex industry, they can also be trafficked into the pornography industry,” the anti-sexual exploitation organization Defend Dignity’s Glendyne Gerrard told Montreal News. “They’re promised all sorts of things that don’t get delivered.”

MindGeek did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to further detail Pornhub’s accusations against Exodus Cry.

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