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Pornhub's New Problem: an $80M-Plus Lawsuit

40 women say online porn site profited from GirlsDoPorn sex trafficking videos
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2020 8:26 AM CST

(Newser) – Pornhub's problems continue, this time with an $80 million-plus complaint. The BBC reports that the online porn site and its parent firm, MindGeek, have been sued by 40 women who allege that the companies profited from pornographic videos they appeared in for content partner GirlsDoPorn, which has been accused of sex trafficking and was shut down by the Justice Department in October 2019. "As early as 2009, and definitely by fall 2016, MindGeek knew GirlsDoPorn was trafficking its victims by using fraud, coercion, and intimidation as part of its customary business practices to get the women to film the videos," the complaint filed Tuesday reads. The suit is the latest addition to Pornhub's financial issues, which includes credit card companies jumping ship after an expose about the site by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times.

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The women say they were misled into taking part in the porn videos, starting with their initial recruitment: The GirlsDoPorn site advertised for clothed modeling jobs. Once told they'd actually be shooting porn, the women say they received promises they'd remain anonymous and that their videos wouldn't be put online but instead sent to overseas markets on physical media. Ars Technica notes that some of the victims also asked for their videos to be taken off Pornhub, a request that was ignored. The suit says the Jane Does involved suffered from "severe emotional distress, significant trauma, attempted suicide, and social and familial ostracization," among other things, per Vice. The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial, as well as at least $1 million each for compensatory damages and at least $1 million each for punitive damages. GirlsDoPorn's principals, meanwhile, are facing sex trafficking charges. (Read more Pornhub stories.)

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