Witnesses Give Pornhub Testimony To Canadian Ethics Committee – What They Said Left Members Stunned… - DirectPayNet

Witnesses Give Pornhub Testimony To Canadian Ethics Committee – What They Said Left Members Stunned…


In another twist in the ongoing Pornhub saga, witnesses were summoned to appear in front of the committee to detail their experiences with the adult content platform. Those witnesses included anonymous survivors of sexual abuse along with experts and sexual abuse campaigners.

What they said left many committee members stunned and “feeling physically sick.” Worse still, other experts called in to testify cast severe doubts on many of the statements made by MindGeek executives in their appearance before the committee one week prior. 

Let’s recap what was said and assess what this means for the rest of the adult content industry.

Survivors of Rape and Child Sexual Abuse Speak About Their Pornhub Experiences

The committee meeting hearing started with three survivors of sexual abuse recounting their stories. While here is not the place to repeat the specific acts they were subjected to, what they reported concerning their dealings with Pornhub left many committee members stunned. 

All three survivors had battled for months with the platform to get their videos taken down, only for them to be re-uploaded within a few days by another anonymous user. 

Some of these videos included the survivors clearly being drugged or intoxicated and undoubtedly unable to consent to the acts they were involved in, never mind giving their consent for the videos to be uploaded.

In testimony given last week, COO David Tassillo went on the record to say that humans moderated all videos uploaded to the platform (as opposed to automated software). In other words, content that depicted criminal activity, including the sexual abuse of minors, was being viewed and approved for uploading by content moderators. 

Witnesses revealed how they all had extreme PTSD and had experienced suicidal thoughts. In the case of one of the minors, they told the committee how the entire high school population had seen her naked and bullied her as a consequence.  

Others had their family’s social media in their video descriptions, along with phone numbers. They were often blackmailed, and parents and other close family members were tracked down and shown the footage as punishment for not complying with their demands. 

It was clear from the testimony that these ladies continue to suffer. One witness described her testimony as “Day 1192” of their struggle.

Experts Call into Question Validity of the Statements Made by MindGeek Executives

After the statements and the Q&A session with the survivors of sexual abuse concluded, several experts testified in front of the committee, including prominent campaigners such as Laila Micklewait, head of Traffickinghub, and Megan Walker, the Executive Director of the London Abused Wome’s Centre.

Not only did they bring additional stories of sexual abuse survivors who had footage of their ordeal uploaded to Pornhub, but they also brought into question a number of the statements made by senior executives last week.  

In particular, Miss Micklewait built upon testimony from one of the survivors, which unveiled that Pornhub utilizes technology to track links and property adult content from their model network to prevent unauthorized copies of their copyrighted material from appearing on other websites. However, she commented that they have refused to use it to prevent the re-upload of illegal content on other adult tube sites. 

She then outlined how Pornhub is complicit in the monetization, distribution, and advertising of child sexual abuse — all of which are federal crimes. 

She discovered through a freedom of information request that contrary to statements made by Pornhub executives last week (which is the same as being under oath) that Pornhub was not, in fact, a partner of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They had also made zero reports concerning child sex trafficking to the organization over the course of 2018 and 2019. 

Several agencies and individuals found examples of child sex abuse material (CSAM) on the site before Pornhub performed a content purge of over 10 million videos.

She then detailed the harassment and intimidation she had received from what she terms as the “MindGeek Mafia.” She revealed several newspapers were investigating similar claims to those made in the New York Times articles, but journalists had been intimidated into not publishing them.  

We’ve been helping clients in the adult content niche for almost two decades. Over the years, we’ve developed many strategies for better payment processing for adult merchants, and we’ve compiled them into a blog post here. Make sure to check them out!  

Reputational Damage Could Be Beyond Saving for MindGeek, Impacting Payment Processing 

The revelations of Friday afternoon will further damage the reputation of the already-struggling pornography enterprise. While, in the case of Pornhub, several steps have been made to address the issues raised in the past few months, it may be too little too late in the eyes of major payment processors and card networks such as Visa and Mastercard. 

After their internal investigation, Visa did restart processing for some MindGeek properties that used professionally-produced content. However, with more devastating and damning testimony from survivors and sex trafficking campaigners, the associated reputational damage may prove too much for the card company to bear. 

Without Visa, the entire MindGeek empire could struggle to remain afloat with customers and payment processors potentially turning their back on the platform. 

Once again, this raises questions for the entire adult industry. For instance, what if Mastercard and Visa (along with other significant card networks) turn their back on the whole adult industry? What then?

We’ve already mentioned that crypto may step in to pick up the slack, but that process will take time. In that scenario, adult merchants would need solutions that work today until crypto becomes more mainstream. 

Adult Content Merchants Need to Look for Specialized Solutions for Their Payment Processing 

With so many changes underway in the industry, there’s never been a better time to evaluate your current adult payment gateway and merchant account set up. Are you well-positioned to deal with the potential seismic shift taking place? Do you worry about your ability to accept credit card payments in the future?

With some help from the experts here at DirectPayNet, you can secure backup merchant accounts to give your customers alternative ways of paying. For example, ACH processing can help you to become much less reliant on credit card processing as major networks start to distance themselves from the reputational damage being inflicted on the industry.

We have several decades-long relationships with local acquiring banks in the USA, Canada, and Europe that specialize in providing payment processing to adult merchants. 

As someone who has been an executive in the industry myself, our team is uniquely positioned to help create content offerings that will satisfy the major card brands’ increasingly strict requirements. We can also help you to build those alternative payment methods that can help you mitigate the impact of potentially losing a major card network through no fault of your own. We will ensure you are compliant with any new laws or regulations and operating without fear of being shut down.

So if you’re worried about what the continuing fallout from the Pornhub saga means for your adult business, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today to get help developing payment strategies that future-proof your business!  

About the author

As President of DirectPayNet, I make it my mission to help merchants find the best payment solutions for their online business, especially if they are categorized as high-risk merchants. I help setup localized payments modes and have tons of other tricks to increase sales! Prior to starting DirectPayNet, I was a Director at MANSEF Inc. (now known as MindGeek), where I led a team dedicated to managing merchant accounts for hundreds of product lines as well as customer service and secondary revenue sources. I am an avid traveler, conference speaker and love to attend any event that allows me to learn about technology. I am fascinated by anything related to digital currency especially Bitcoin and the Blockchain.