Three questions on Pornhub and credit card companies

15 December 2020

Last week, the EFC was one of more than 40 signatories to a letter to Visa and to Mastercard asking them to stop processing payments for Pornhub. The letter was initiated in part by our Canadian partner ministry Defend Dignity, and so as another instalment of our Three Questions Series we asked Glendyne Gerrard, director of Defend Dignity, to answer a few questions about it.

Q1. What’s the connection between these credit card companies and Pornhub?

Until recently, Visa and Mastercard processed payments for users on Pornhub, the world’s largest porn site with main offices in Montreal. Some videos that Pornhub hosts are of actual rape and child sexual abuse. Brave victims are coming forward with stories of Pornhub ignoring their pleas to remove the videos of their sexual assaults; and while their pleas were ignored, the videos continued to tally tens of thousands of views. Through their business relationship with Pornhub, Mastercard and Visa were making themselves complicit in this criminal activity. We were thrilled to learn last week that, after an expose in the New York Times and short investigations, both companies have decided to stop processing payments for Pornhub because of this unlawful content. However, the companies are still investigating their tie with advertisers on Pornhub, which is how the porn site makes their big dollars.

Q2. What difference will it make if Visa and Mastercard cut their ties with Pornhub?

Pornhub and its parent company MindGeek are a Canadian business that is promoting and profiting from sexual exploitation, rape and child sexual abuse. Our ultimate goal is to see them shut down and held responsible for this activity. While Mastercard and Visa's recent stance doesn't do that on its own, it does help shine a line on Pornhub's criminal activity and puts pressure on the Canadian government to act. Also, in a very practical sense, this recent move by Visa and Mastercard further limits ways for Pornhub to make money from their exploitative content - a very good thing. Paypal cut ties with Pornhub in 2019, so all of the major payment options have disappeared for them.

Q3. What can I do?

You can take a moment to participate in our Choose Change campaign and send a letter to Visa and Mastercard! The letter is both a Thank You for their recent action against Pornhub and also an encouragement for them to stop processing payments for all porn sites and cut ties with advertisers. This recent victory has been big, but the work isn't done. We need to take collective action to see real change happen! You can find the letter on our Choose Change website.

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