Pornhub settles lawsuit brought by 50 women, including Canadians

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Pornhub and several affiliated companies have settled a lawsuit brought by 50 women who alleged that it profited from pornographic videos published without their full consent.

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“The parties reached a mutual settlement to settle the dispute and the terms are confidential,” Plaintiff’s attorney Brian Holm wrote in an email.

The lawsuit, filed last December in US District Court in California, alleged that Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek should have known or known that one of its business partners routinely fraudulently and coerced women into videos. did to show.

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The lawsuit initially involved 40 women, including three Canadians, but was later expanded to include 10 additional women and other businesses affiliated with MindGeek as defendants.

The original court filing alleged that MindGeek did not end the partnership with Girlsdoporn until the company’s operators were charged by US authorities in November 2019.

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Earlier this month, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a new public appeal for information, offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Michael James Pratt, one of Girlsdoporn’s owners.

According to the FBI, three others linked to GirlsDoPorn have pleaded guilty to sex trafficking charges, while two others are facing trial.

Authorities allege that the women were recruited to participate in the videos under false pretenses and that the pornographic videos would never be posted online or released in the US.

Although the site’s operators planned to post the video on their website, where viewers could pay to watch, portions appear on free sites, such as Pornhub, of admissions made as part of guilty pleas. According.

Girls were also pressured to participate in sex they didn’t want and were paid less, as admitted by Rubén André García, one of Girlsdoporn’s operators, when he pleaded guilty in November. Was.

In June, Garcia was sentenced to 20 years in US federal prison.

According to the lawsuit, MindGeek and GirlsDownPorn entered into a partnership in 2011. The deal allegedly allowed videos made by Girlsdoporn to be hosted on MindGeek’s sites such as Pornhub.

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The lawsuit also claimed that MindGeek-owned websites did not remove the videos when requested by the women who appeared in them. In some of those requests, the women explicitly stated that they were coerced, the suit alleged.

In January 2020, a court in the state of California awarded 22 women who appeared in a girlsdoporn video, approximately US$13 million in damages.

While MindGeek is legally headquartered in Luxembourg, its head office is in Montreal.

The company confirmed that a settlement had been reached and said the details were confidential.

“MindGeek has zero tolerance for posting illegal content on its platform, and has established a comprehensive, industry-leading trust and security policy to identify and remove any illegal content from its community,” the company said in an unsigned statement. of it.”

A joint request for dismissal of the suit was filed in the court on October 15.

MindGeek also faces a class-action lawsuit involving 30 women that was filed in June in another federal court in California.

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