LA protests against Pornhub: When, where will it be held and how 2 million signatures sparked the movement

On the occasion of International Day of Non-Violence on October 2, protests have been organized in various parts of the world to demand that Pornhub be shut down


                            LA protests against Pornhub: When, where will it be held and how 2 million signatures sparked the movement
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A 27-year-old Tuscaloosa man was arrested on September 15 after an 18-year-old girl informed the police about a 2018 video on Pornhub featuring her performing sexual acts on the man, who had a verified Pornhub account. The man — Michael Terrell Williams — was booked into the Tuscaloosa County jail with a bond set at $75,000, as reported by abc3340.com. Pornhub.com cooperated with investigators as they checked the woman's claims about the video uploaded to the website which featured her as a 16-year-old involved in a sex act with Williams.

According to Fox News, a Pornhub spokesperson said in a statement, "Pornhub has a steadfast commitment to eradicating any and all illegal content, including under-age material, and actively works to employ state of the art, comprehensive measures to protect its platform from such content." 

However, the incident sparked outrage and a petition was started to shut down Pornhub. Powered by the anti-trafficking organization Exodus Cry, it was started on the Traffickinghub campaign by Laila Mickelwait. In a tweet back in May, she wrote, "The Internet Watch Foundation investigated and confirmed 118 cases of child rape and abuse on Pornhub in only 2 years. Half of the cases were Catagory A level abuse consisting of penetration and/or sadism." 

As per Reuters, Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) — which identifies and removes child sexual abuse imagery online — said it found 118 cases of child abuse on Pornhub from 2017-2019 but that this number was low and Pornhub quickly removed this content. “Everyday sites that you and I might use as social networks or other communications tools, they pose more of an issue of child sexual abuse material than Pornhub does,” said IWF spokeswoman Emma Hardy.

In contrast, the data for Facebook and Twitter is much higher. A BBC report says that at least 11.6 million pieces of content related to child nudity and child sexual exploitation were taken down from Facebook between July and September 2019. Moreover, a Twitter Transparency Report released in 2019 claims it suspended a total of 244,188 accounts for violations related to child sexual exploitation. 

How the petition sparked a movement

The petition states: "Pornhub, the world's largest and most popular porn site, has been repeatedly caught enabling, hosting, and profiting from videos of child rape, sex trafficking, and other forms of non-consensual content exploiting women and minors. We're calling for Pornhub to be shut down and its executives held accountable for these crimes." The goal is set for 2,500,000 signatures and at the time of writing it received at least 2,000,000 signs.

"This global movement to hold Pornhub accountable for complicity in mass child abuse and trafficking is for anyone and everyone who cares about the safety of children and the most vulnerable in our society. We all agree that no one should be raped, abused, and trafficked for profit on the world’s largest and most popular porn site. It is time to take a stand together, raise our collective voices, and shut it down," said campaign founder Mickelwait said in a press statement.

According to the Traffickinghub website: "The campaign is supported by a broad spectrum of over 300 child protection, anti-trafficking and women’s rights organizations, as well as experts and trafficking survivors of all backgrounds." With over two million signatures, the petition soon sparked a movement and on the occasion of International Day of Non-Violence on October 2, protests have been organized in various parts of the country. Here is all you need to know about them.

What are the protests about?

The Los Angeles-based anti-domestic violence organization Knockout Abuse West has been protesting outside the Los Angeles Pornhub/MindGeek office every Friday for the last 10 weeks and is organizing the global day of protest. The organization founder Jill Sorensen said in a press release, "In a world where one in three women are victims of abuse it is insanity to allow this digital giant and massive social influencer to blatantly promote and profit from real violence against women. Pornhub is strategically grooming a generation of young women and men to believe that real criminal abuse is normal. We need laws to stop this immediately."

Knock Out Abuse West along with the #Traffickinghub campaign are protesting against Pornhub for allegedly normalizing violence against women and for allegedly profiting off of content related to trafficking, rape, child abuse, revenge porn, and non-consensual content. They will hold protests outside Pornhub/MindGeek offices in Los Angeles, Montreal, and London.

When and where are the protests?

According to traffickinghub.com, the protests will be held from 11 am to 2 pm on October 2 at the Pornhub/MindGeek offices. The details are as below:

Los Angeles, California: 21800 Oxnard st., Suite 150, Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Montreal, Canada: 7777 boulevard Decarie, Suite 600, Montreal, Quebec H4P 2H2, Canada

London, England: Contact [email protected] for info on the London protest and related Covid-19 guidelines.

The protests will adhere to social distancing and Covid-19 precaution measures and in some areas, the number of protesters could be limited. For more details, you can visit the Traffickinghub website.

What Pornhub has to say

Refuting all such claims and allegations, a Pornhub spokesperson told MEA World Wide (MEAWW) in an official statement, "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. Any suggestion otherwise is categorically and factually inaccurate."

The statement further read: "Pornhub has actively worked to put in place state-of-the-art, comprehensive safeguards across its platform to combat and remove all unauthorized content that breaches the platform's policies. This includes employing an extensive team of human moderators dedicated to manually reviewing every single upload, a robust system for flagging, reviewing and removing all illegal material, age-verification tools, and a variety of automated detection technologies. These tools include CSAI Match, YouTube’s proprietary technology for combating Child Sexual Abuse Imagery content online; Content Safety API, Google's cutting-edge artificial intelligence tool that helps detect illegal imagery; PhotoDNA, Microsoft’s technology that aids in finding and removing known images of child exploitation; and Vobile, state-of-the-art fingerprinting software that scans any new uploads for potential matches to unauthorized materials to protect against any banned video being re-uploaded to the platform." 

"With these measures, our content moderation goes above and beyond the recently announced, internationally recognized Voluntary Principles to Counter Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse," the spokesperson said, adding, "Regarding the group behind the campaign and petition, their history of hateful rhetoric toward women and the LGBTQ community, as well as toward those who don't abide by their vision of purity, is quite troubling."

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