US District Judge Rules VISA Aided Pornhub & Profited From Child Porn
“As the court sees it, financially benefitting from the sexual exploitation of minors is the core of this case.” US District Court Judge Cormac Carney
Ironic, isn’t it? Isn’t Visa the same credit card company that has refused to work with family owned businesses, gun stores and other all-American businesses in the past? Yep, same company and yet, here they are being called out by a US District Judge for profiting by aiding Pornhub to monetize child porn.
The East Bay Times reports:
Visa Inc. must face claims that it profited from child pornography by processing payments for the parent company of Pornhub, a decision that Visa says raises questions about the liability payments firms could shoulder as they handle billions of transactions.
US District Judge Cormac Carney in California denied parts of Visa’s motion to be dismissed from claims brought by a woman who is suing both the payments giant and MindGeek — the parent company of Pornhub — over a sexually explicit video taken of her when she was 13.
“It is simple,” Carney said in his ruling late Friday. “Visa made the decision to continue to recognize MindGeek as a merchant, despite its alleged knowledge that MindGeek monetized child porn. MindGeek made the decision to continue monetizing child porn, and there are enough facts pled to suggest that the latter decision depended on the former.”
Visa said it believes it’s an “improper defendant” in the case.
“Visa condemns sex trafficking, sexual exploitation, and child sexual abuse materials as repugnant to our values and purpose as a company,” the San Francisco-based firm said in an emailed statement. “This pre-trial ruling is disappointing and mischaracterizes Visa’s role and its policies and practices. Visa will not tolerate the use of our network for illegal activity.”
The lawsuit is the latest turn in a long-running controversy between Visa and Pornhub. The payments giant and rival Mastercard Inc. both began reviewing their ties to MindGeek after a New York Times column in December 2020 accused Pornhub of distributing videos depicting child abuse and non-consensual violence.
Immediately after the review, Pornhub announced it had removed 80% of its content.
Right, Visa condemns all this sexual exploitation, but has been actively involved in allowing its services to be used for all sorts of pornography.
Today in a major lawsuit VISA was implicated as knowingly complicit in the sex trafficking and monetized child sexual abuse of numerous Pornhub/MindGeek victims. @Visa #Traffickinghub pic.twitter.com/BGzbUZ7XsZ
— Laila Mickelwait (@LailaMickelwait) June 17, 2021
The New York Post adds information about the victim.
After several weeks, the clip, entitled “13-Year Old Brunette Shows Off For the Camera,” was taken down but reuploaded on other MindGeek sites in 2014, garnering millions of views and earning the company advertising money facilitated by Visa, the victim alleged. The illicit clip was still on the company’s sites as recently as 2020, according to the suit.
The plaintiff fell into a deep depression, tried to kill herself and became a heroin user after her unwanted infamy, she claimed. Still underage, she began acting in other porn videos produced by an older man to support her habit, the lawsuit said.
The report went on to say:
In his ruling, US District Court Judge Cormac Carney wrote that there was enough evidence to find that Visa engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the online pornographers.
“Here is Visa, standing at and controlling the valve, insisting that it cannot be blamed for the water spill because someone else is wielding the hose,” Carney wrote.
“When MindGeek decides to monetize child porn, and Visa decides to continue to allow its payment network to be used for that goal despite knowledge of MindGeek’s monetization of child porn, it is entirely foreseeable that victims of child porn like Plaintiff will suffer the harms that Plaintiff alleges,” the ruling said.
The Central District of California court also ordered MindGeek to undergo jurisdictional discovery and shine a light on its shadowy operations, which the judge said ensures “a hopeless whack-a-mole situation for victims.”
It also shot down Visa’s argument that it was an innocent third party, saying the credit card company briefly suspended its ties to Pornhub in 2020 amid allegations it housed thousands of illegal videos before joining forces again.
The news came a month after two Pornhub executives resigned amid widening inquiries into purported underage and non-consensual videos on the site.
MindGeek, which is based in Montreal and also owns Brazzers, RedTube and YouPorn, claims to have 115 million daily visitors and 3 billion daily ad impressions.
Pornhub was the ninth most popular webpage in the US last month, according to Semrush, a search engine marketing company.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said it investigated some 5 million suspected child pornography videos in 2021.