Visa, Mastercard pause ad buys with Pornhub following controversy

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Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Aug 5, 2022 / 16:37 pm (CNA).

On Thursday, Visa and Mastercard temporarily suspended ad purchases with Pornhub and its parent company, MindGeek, after the latest court ruling in a child pornography lawsuit.

The action follows a court ruling last week that denied Visa’s request to be removed from the case, which alleged that the company was complicit in a child pornography crime involving a 13-year old girl.

The ruling determined that “Visa knew that MindGeek’s websites were teeming with monetized child porn,” but continued to process financial transactions that MindGeek profited off of from “sex trafficking” and distributing explicit content involving children.

In an Aug. 4 statement addressing the news, Visa’s CEO Alfred F. Kelley Jr. declared that the company “strongly disagree[d]” with the court’s decision and was “confident” in its position.

“In our view, our company’s role, policies, and practices have been mischaracterized,” Kelley wrote, adding that the allegations were “repugnant and stand in direct contradiction to Visa’s values and purpose.”

Kelley later added that Visa does not make any “moral judgments” on legal purchases made by consumers and that Visa can only be used to purchase content on sites that feature “adult professional actors in legal adult entertainment.”

But Patrina Mosley, a women and children’s policy advisor, points out the hypocrisy of such a statement.

“[Visa] acknowledge[s] that sex trafficking, sexual exploitation, and child sexual abuse are illegal, then goes on to say ‘we do not make moral judgments on legal purchase made by consumers,’” she wrote in an email to CNA.

“Visa and Mastercard knew exactly what type of business they were getting into when they allowed payments for ads to be processed on Pornhub. It is only after being sued have they relented, further toppling one of the world’s largest exploitation sites.”

Mosley, who has over a decade of experience in combatting sexual exploitation, referenced the fact that 16 states in the U.S. have already declared pornography a public health hazard.

But it’s not enough, she added: “The only way to help prevent exploitation is to make pornography illegal.”


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