Document of the week | The Pornhub affair: the fight against porn

Pornhub’s impact on the pornography industry has been gigantic for a variety of reasons: in addition to facilitating access to free content and empowering porn actresses and actors, the platform has made possible… large scale video of rape and child pornography. The documentary Money Shot: The Pornhub Story retraces the struggle between detractors and defenders of the platform, which has just changed hands.

Posted at 8:00 a.m.


“Ethical Capital Partners bought MindGeek/Pornhub. They bought the crime scene that is Pornhub, ”wrote Laila Mickelwait Thursday afternoon, after the announcement of the sale of MindGeek, a Montreal company behind the Pornhub platform, to Ethical Capital Partners, an Ottawa firm.

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scene of Money Shot: The Pornhub Story

Laila Mickelwait is the head of TraffickingHub, a movement calling for the closure of Pornhub and for its leaders to be held accountable for enabling the distribution of images of rape and other sexual abuse and for taking advantage of the sexual exploitation of people, especially minors.

His fight occupies a substantial part of Money Shot: The Pornhub Storydocumentary by Suzanne Hillinger.

Available since Wednesday on , the film tells the story of the very popular streaming platform, recalls the upheavals it caused in the porn industry and the controversy it arouses, in particular since the publication in the New York Timesin December 2020, of an opinion report where it was a question of sexual assault videos on minors broadcast on the platform.

A nuanced film

Money Shot isn’t a full-throttle charge against Pornhub, but it does address the problematic aspects of the platform head-on. It is about the lack of control over the content that allows the dissemination of illegal material (child pornography, scenes of rape, etc.), the laxity in the treatment of complaints and the withdrawal of contentious videos, as well as the relative indifference of its leaders towards those who make them live, that is to say the sex workers.

The film also highlights the links between some Pornhub critics and the American religious right. Laila Mickelwait, for example, is connected to fundamentalist groups that are against all forms of pornography – Sports Illustratedit is porn in their eyes, underlines the documentary.

These lobbies lead a primarily moral fight on the backs of the victims of sexual exploitation, judge some participants in the film.

Suzanne Hillinger manipulates explosive content with great nuance. She highlights diametrically opposed points of view and skillfully identifies the complex issues they raise. Does cutting off supplies to this kind of platform do more harm than good? What are the consequences of an ill-conceived legal framework? What is moral and what is protected by freedom of expression between consenting adults? How can victims of aggression be protected and spared them the trauma of spreading the abuse suffered?

Money Shot lucidly addresses issues that concern the Internet in the broad sense (scabrous content is also found on Facebook and many other networks, the documentary recalls). And, without minimizing the trauma of victims of sexual exploitation, he keeps in mind that the demand for porn is not going to disappear and that this industry must protect those who make it live: sex workers.

Available on Netflix, in English (French subtitles available) and in French

The article is in French
Tags: Document week Pornhub affair fight porn