I'm Politely Inviting Pornhub to Kiss My Ass - OZY | A Modern Media Company

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Because not all naughty needs to be criminal too.

By Eugene S. Robinson

It was a kind of clickbait-y headline. Soon followed by an even more clickbait-y article. And it proclaimed that, in response to COVID-19 having its way with Italy and the Italian government responding by quarantining the country, folks at the open-access porn site Pornhub were going to grant Italians free premium access to all of the pornography they could handle.

Because who among us doesn’t enjoy the closeness that comes from gathering the entire family around a brief viewing of “Starbutts: The Backdoor Strikes Back”? Certainly not the folks at Pornhub.

Pornhub’s savviness has had it consistently news-adjacent for a while, launching Tor sites as part of the privacy-policy discussions, as well as Black Friday deals. And now? Apparently, crisis comforting. The point of which is, I guess, for us to note that the porn network, in applauding its offering of free premium porn to the quarantined masses, should earn some sort of social reward.

But before the masses start silently and solitarily celebrating what Pornhub has given them, I’d suggest that they not reward Pornhub at all. Mostly because of the lack of clarity around one news event you may have heard about from someone other than Pornhub.

My immodest proposal … is to extend an offer to Pornhub. The offer? To improve its future outlook and conditions, in addition to muscling up safeguards, I’ll propose that it does this: Kiss my ass.

That would be the pitchforks being hoisted and the torches being lit to the tune of 600,000 online signatures and counting for the website’s alleged profiteering off videos that feature revenge and statutory rape porn. Sure, 600,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the 42 billion times people visited the no-age-restricted Pornhub last year, but it was enough to get the world’s biggest porn site’s attention.

“Pornhub has a steadfast commitment to eradicating and fighting nonconsensual content and underage material,” owner MindGeek said in a statement to The Guardian. “Any suggestion otherwise is categorically and factually inaccurate.”

Yet despite the company’s “steadfast commitment,” videos featuring rape — not simulated rape — have been posted by amateurs on the network. These are videos of actual sex crimes being committed by people who somehow believed they passed muster as entertainment.

Moreover, Pornhub had previously provided a platform for fellow travelers from a company called GirlsDoPorn — which, incidentally, just lost a civil judgment, saw its officers jailed on criminal charges and even had one owner, post-trial, flee the country. Which makes him a fugitive from the long and restless arm of the law.

This is not an anti-porn screed though.

If you’re consenting and an adult, you may enjoy whatever degenerate scenarios you feel necessary to attain a fleeting and momentary release from the troubles of the day — providing those scenarios are legal and involve, yeah, consenting adults.

But if you’re a corporation, the biggest in the world for such content, and you’re pulling in millions in advertising revenue (from other porn companies and adult industries mostly), you might try to put into play a system that verifies the age of consent for the performers on whose back your corporation has been built. On top of that, while it’s a sound public relations strategy to smoke-screen us with the Italian premium-porn giveaway, maybe save it for a time when people’s parents aren’t dying.

And if your counterargument to this is the same one that the Twitters, Googles and Facebooks of the world lean on vis-à-vis “we’re just a marketplace for shared ideas and not the police of those shared ideas,” we might be willing to call bullshit. You know how they stopped selling a certain kind of single flower in convenience stores all over America because the flower containers were way too easily converted into crack pipes? Yeah, like that.

Which is why Exodus Cry, a group committed to stamping out sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, wants Pornhub fixed or shut down.

“I was drugged on a porn set,” said ’90s porn icon Olivia. “I was an adult and consented to be in the porn, but I didn’t consent to being drugged before I was in it.”

Olivia sued, and while she lost a cash judgment for damages against the film’s producers because the court wasn’t impressed by the fact that she later returned to appear in a “redo” of the drugged video (sans the drugs), she did succeed in getting the video pulled. This was pre-internet and pre-so-called internet “safeguards” that can switch you off the web faster than you can say “community standards.”

To act otherwise? Beggars belief.

So my immodest proposal, and you probably saw it coming, is to extend an offer to Pornhub. The offer? To improve its future outlook and conditions, in addition to muscling up safeguards, I propose that it does this: Kiss my ass.

And that it does that for as long as it takes to figure out how to run a business built not just on money but also on making naughty as nice as it can be for someone who’s not a sociopath. And meanwhile leave the rest of us to shelter in place in peace without all of the unseemly PR maneuvering. Yeah?

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