Opinion: Pornhub pundits need to take a long look at themselves

 As content is deleted from the world's most popular pornsite, the social media reaction leaves a lot to be desired.
As content is deleted from the world's most popular pornsite, the social media reaction leaves a lot to be desired. Photo credit: Getty

OPINION: Pornhub has long since tried to cultivate an image as being environmentally friendly, feminist and as wholesome as a website dedicated to pornography can be.

 But when a New York Times article broke the news the site was hosting child sex abuse content (CSAC), revenge porn, non-consensual cam videos and other repugnant content, that sunny standing was seriously tarnished.

Pornhub is now purging its site, removing any content from unverified users in a desperate bid to salvage its reputation.

But this purge has brought out the worst in people.

When the news broke and porn started vanishing from the world's most popular adult site, social media lit up with angry, disillusioned, and I imagine sweaty men complaining about the loss of content.

A quick search on Reddit turned up multiple instances of people complaining about the removal, often under the guise of a meme or joke.

Opinion: Pornhub pundits need to take a long look at themselves
Photo credit: Reddit

I saw it compared to the burning of the Library in Alexandria - which is impressive for no reason other than it shows an astounding amount of historical knowledge for people with fewer than two brain cells to bang together.

It sickened me to see these people enraged at a decision made to protect the vulnerable.  To see so many minimising the devastating abuse of children down to "but now my porn is gone!" was more than disheartening - it was infuriating. 

The internet allows anonymity which provides the ability to say these kinds of things without consequence - but knowing so many hold these thoughts inside themselves makes me seethe, because I know they wouldn't dare admit it to any of the women in their lives.

It's online, in the echo chamber of other degenerates, that they feel safe enough to twist a tragic news story back around to themselves, and their own percieved loss - as if losing their selection of free pornography is somehow parallel to the loss of innocence felt by the women and girls who found themselves as part of these collections. 

At this point, I feel it salient to point out I'm not anti-porn. Sexuality is healthy and should be enthusiastically expressed and enjoyed by legal, consenting adults.

But when Pornhub hosted and profited from content which actively caused devastating harm to young women and in some cases, children, it ceased to be sex-positive and became at best complicit and at worst - a participant. 

As well as relying on lax verification standards which meant anyone with basic computer literacy and an internet connection could upload whatever they wanted, Pornhub continued to partner with an affiliate company which it knew was coercing and manipulating women into sex work. A lawsuit against Pornhub's contractual partner Girls Do Porn alleges the site knew women were being trafficked as early as 2009 - but continued to profit from the videos years only deleting them last week,

The lawsuit, lodged by 40 women who say they were victims of Girls Do Porn, alleges they were convinced to have sex on camera - but  the crucial detail that these intimate encounters would be sold and distributed far and wide across the internet was skipped. 

According to NBC 7, some of the women said the sex was painful, and if they asked to stop, "the men would tell them they wouldn't be paid."

Girls Do Porn had an official channel on Pornhub, where it posted clips from the videos. Those videos gained 672 million views over the eight years the channel was up, according to a Vice report.

The videos have now been deleted - one day after the lawsuit was launched.

When it comes to the social media reaction to the mass deletion, one of the common rebuffs I saw was "but most of the videos weren't the problem" - which is a complete crock of shit if you ask me. 

To date more than 80 percent of Pornhub's content has been deleted. If just five percent of those featured abuse that's 650,000 videos which portrayed rape and abuse. 

The hordes of sexually aggressive man babies whining because their favourite video isn't at their greasy fingertips anymore signify the wider issue at hand. 

I wish I could say I'm surprised at the reaction this news has garnered but the tragedy is I'm not - as sure as the world keeps turning, some men will demonise women for their sexuality whilst simultaneously complaining when this sexuality is not made accessible to them. 

It's sickening, it's selfish and it's well past its expiration date. In a world where pornography is just a couple of clicks away, it's high time the standards were raised.

Vita Molyneux is a digital producer for Newshub.