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Ryan Robertson

Anchor/Investigative Reporter

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U.S.

Lawsuit against Visa, Pornhub over child porn charges moves forward

Aug 01, 2022

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor/Investigative Reporter

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Pornhub allegedly distributed child pornography, and Visa is accused of helping the site make money off the illegal practice. Now a lawsuit against one of the world’s largest payment processors will move forward.

19-year-old Serena Fleites is suing Pornhub’s parent company, Mindgeek. Fleites said when she was 13, her boyfriend at the time pressured her into making a sexually explicit video. The boyfriend then uploaded the video to Pornhub without her knowledge or consent. It’s alleged the video allegedly was seen millions of times before it was taken down.

Fleites’ lawsuit alleges Visa broke California’s Unfair Competition law because it helped process payments for something illegal: child pornography.

Her lawsuit also alleges part of Visa’s business model was to amplify and drive traffic to videos of child pornography through the use of computer algorithms.

The judge in the case ruled it was reasonable to conclude Visa knew Mindgeek was making money off child sexual abuse material.

Michael Bowe, Fleites’ lead attorney, told CNBC, “I’ll use the Court’s words. Visa ‘knew that Mindgeek’s sites were teeming with monetized child porn, intended to help Mindgeek monetize that child porn, and knowingly provided the tools to complete the crime.’”

The CEO and COO of Montreal-based Mindgeek both resigned in June. The company also laid off a number of employees after an article in the New Yorker showed the site hosted sexually explicit, nonconsensual videos, including those with children.

A Visa spokesperson said the company condemns “sexual exploitation and child sex abuse” and said the company “will not tolerate the use of its network for illegal activity.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

PORNHUB HELPED DISTRIBUTE CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, VISA HELPED PORNHUB MAKE MONEY OFF THE ILLEGAL PRACTICE, AND NOW A LAWSUIT AGAINST ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST PAYMENT PROCESSORS WILL MOVE FORWARD.

PORNHUB’S PARENT COMPANY, MINDGEEK, IS BEING SUED BY SERENA FLEITES, A WOMAN WHO SAYS WHEN SHE WAS 13, HER BOYFRIEND AT THE TIME PRESSURED HER INTO MAKING A SEXUALLY EXPLICIT VIDEO. THE BOYFRIEND UPLOADED THE VIDEO TO PORNHUB WITHOUT HER KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT, WHERE IT WAS VIEWED MILLIONS OF TIMES.

FLEITES’ LAWSUIT ALLEGES VISA BROKE THE LAW BECAUSE THEY HELPED PROCESS PAYMENTS FOR SOMETHING ILLEGAL, CHILD PORNOGRAPHY.

HER LAWSUIT ALSO ALLEGES PART OF VISAS BUSINESS MODEL WAS TO AMPLIFY AND DRIVE TRAFFIC TO VIDEOS OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY THROUGH THE USE OF COMPUTER ALGORITHMS.

THE JUDGE IN THE CASE RULED IT WAS REASONABLE TO CONCLUDE VISA KNEW MINDGEEK WAS MAKING MONEY OFF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE MATERIAL.

Michael Bowe, lead attorney for the plaintiff: “I’ll use the Court’s words. Visa ‘knew that Mindgeek’s sites were teeming with monetized child porn, intended to help Mindgeek monetize that child porn, and knowingly provided the tools to complete the crime.’”

THE CEO AND COO OF MONTREAL-BASED MINDGEEK BOTH RESIGNED IN JUNE. THE COMPANY ALSO LAID OFF A NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES AFTER AN ARTICLE IN THE NEW YORKER SHOWED THE SITE HOSTED SEXUALLY EXPLICIT, NONCONSENSUAL VIDEOS INCLUDING THOSE WITH CHILDREN.

A VISA SPOKESPERSON SAID THE COMPANY CONDEMNS SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND CHILD SEX ABUSE AND SAYS THE COMPANY WILL NOT TOLERATE THE USE OF ITS NETWORK FOR ILLEGAL ACTIVITY.