Visa, Mastercard block payments on Pornhub

Major credit companies join American Express in not allowing purchases on adult sites

Credit: Social media photo via Twitter

Credit: Social media photo via Twitter

Visa and Mastercard will block cardholders from purchasing content on Pornhub after shocking allegations emerged last week about rampant child pornography on the website.

Pornhub called the actions of both companies “exceptionally disappointing” in a statement Thursday.

“This news is crushing for the hundreds of thousands of models who rely on our platform for their livelihoods,” Pornhub said.

»PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Pornhub accused of allowing child rape videos

Earlier this week, Visa and Mastercard announced separate investigations into their possible links to Pornhub after an exposé in The New York Times, written by Nicholas Kristof, accused the popular adult site of featuring child rape videos, revenge porn and video taken without the consent of participants.

After investigating its financial ties to MindGeek, Pornhub’s parent company, Mastercard said Thursday that it confirmed violations of standards that prohibit unlawful conduct on Pornhub, and that it would terminate the use of its services on the site. The major credit provider also revealed that it was investigating other websites for potential illegal content.

Meanwhile, Visa said it would suspend the use of its cards on Pornhub even though its investigation was still in progress.

Two days ago, Pornhub announced steps to protect against images of abuse, nonconsensual activity and underage models on the site, including a ban on unverified users uploading material, according to The Associated Press.

Pornhub said next year it will announce ways in which individuals can become verified users. It will still allow new material from partners it knows, such as porn production companies.

Pornhub said it has hired a law firm to conduct an independent review of its content, has moderators who examine each video that is posted to the site and works with 40 organizations with a focus on child safety to monitor what it posts.

On Thursday, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation praised the decision by the credit companies and is urging the Justice Department, Congress and attorneys general in all 50 states to investigate.

“Visa and Mastercard have made the right decision to finally cut ties with a profiteer of rape. These companies are now standing on the side of human dignity and we applaud Visa and Mastercard for making this bold step,” said Dawn Hawkins, the senior vice president and executive director of the advocacy group. “We met with both Visa and Mastercard earlier in 2020 to ask them to stop processing payments for Pornhub and we are grateful that both companies will make these significant changes.”

Other payment companies have policies that altogether prevent their services from being used to purchase sexual content.

American Express won’t allow its cards to pay for “adult digital content,” according to the Times, and PayPal “prohibits all account holders from buying or selling sexually oriented digital goods,” including videos, pictures and subscriptions.

Last year, PayPal barred Pornhub and providers of videos to the site from making and accepting payments through PayPal. After that, Pornhub added new payment options, including Tether, a blockchain-based cryptocurrency.