Visa Suspends PornHub Parent Company’s Advertising Arm From Payments Network Amidst Child Pornography Lawsuit

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Payments giant Visa
V
is suspending TrafficJunky, the advertising arm of porn conglomerate MindGeek, from its network amidst an ongoing child pornography lawsuit.

The decision comes days after a California district judge ruled against Visa’s motion to dismiss itself from a case brought against MindGeek, which owns multiple porn websites including Pornhub. The case has been brought by Serena Fleites, who was 13-years-old in 2014 when an explicit video of her first appeared on PornHub.com. Fleites’ boyfriend at the time had taken the video and posted it without her consent. MindGeek distributed the video among various websites it owned while TrafficJunky monetized the content by placing advertisements. Advertising revenue generated through TrafficJunky makes up over half of MindGeek’s revenue, according to the lawsuit.

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“We will suspend TrafficJunky’s Visa acceptance privileges based on the court’s decision until further notice,” Visa’s statement from Chairman and CEO Alfred F. Kelly, Jr. reads. “During this suspension, Visa cards will not be able to be used to purchase advertising on any sites including Pornhub or other MindGeek affiliated sites.”

In Visa’s motion to dismiss, the company argued that it has no ability to investigate the billions of individual transactions which flow through the network each year. It added that if the lawsuit was permitted to move forward it would undermine the entire payments industry. Judge Cormac J. Carney dismissed this argument in his refusal to remove Visa from the suit.

,[Visa] is simply being asked to refrain from offering the tool with which a known alleged criminal entity performs its crimes,” Judge Carney wrote in a decision filed on Friday, July 29. “That is not a tall order and does not spell out an existential threat to the financial industry.”

After a New York Times article published in 2020Visa and Mastercard
MA
suspended business with Pornhub, resulting in the site removing 10 million unverified videos. Visa later restored services for paid premium subscriptions and advertising on MindGeek sites, according to the lawsuit. Visa countered in its statement that it has not reinstated service for any sites containing user generated content, which is difficult to monitor.

In his statement today, Kelly highlighted that Judge Carney’s decision last week “concerned a pre-trial decision before Visa has presented any evidence. We look forward to shining a light onto the lengths Visa goes to ensure the integrity of our people and network.”

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Credit: www.forbes.com /

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