Mastercard Reviews Ties With Pornhub Over Alleged Assault Videos

Mastercard Intros Mobilized Virtual Cards

Mastercard is investigating the website after a withering New York Times column alleged it hosts videos of children and adults being sexually assaulted, Reuters reported.

Visa later announced it was also investigating Pornhub over the charges, and if they are found to be true, Pornhub “will no longer be able to accept Visa payments,” they said in a statement, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

In his Sunday (Dec. 6) column, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof wrote that Pornhub “monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags.”

He added later in the piece: “And call me a prude, but I don’t see why search engines, banks or credit card companies should bolster a company that monetizes sexual assaults on children or unconscious women. If PayPal can suspend cooperation with Pornhub, so can American Express, Mastercard and Visa.”

“We are aware of the allegations, and we are actively engaging with the relevant financial institutions to investigate, in addition to engaging directly with the site’s parent company, MindGeek,” Visa said in a statement, adding that if Pornhub is found to be breaking the law or policies set by its bank partners, then the site

PayPal in November 2019 cut Pornhub off from using PayPal to pay sex workers who let the company use videos in which they are featured. Pornhub said in a statement at the time that it would use other services to pay for its content and explore options such as cryptocurrency.

Reuters reported that American Express already doesn’t allow its cards to be used on the site and the card company has a policy against facilitating transactions involving digital pornography companies.

Pornhub denied wrongdoing, Kristof wrote, citing a company statement that reads: “Pornhub is unequivocally committed to combating child sexual abuse material, and has instituted a comprehensive, industry-leading trust and safety policy to identify and eradicate illegal material from our community.”

The columnist went on to cite numerous examples in which those policies apparently were not effectively enforced.

Reuters reported Mastercard is exploring the allegations with the bank of Pornhub’s corporate parent, Mindgeek.

A number of U.S. and Canadian politicians responded to Sunday’s column by calling for additional enforcement of regulations governing the Montreal-based company. The Times’s Kristof wrote that Mindgeek also faces increased threats of civil litigation.