Financial giants Mastercard and Visa have officially prohibited the use of their cards on the darkly ubiquitous pornography site, Pornhub, following a New York Times piece outlining the company’s nasty habit of profiting off of videos of women and girls being sexually assaulted.
According to the Times, both companies began investigations of their financial ties with MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub, earlier this week.
In a statement on Thursday, Mastercard said that the investigation “confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site.”
Mastercard added that it would continue to investigate potential illegal content on other websites and take action if deemed necessary.
“We are instructing the financial institutions who serve MindGeek to suspend processing of payments through the Visa network,” said Visa in its own statement.
Nearly seven million videos are posted on Pornhub each year, the Times’ Nicholas Kristof wrote in a better-late-than-never exposé last week. While the majority of videos on the site depict consensual acts, countless videos of adult and minor assault and trafficking victims have been found—and sometimes reluctantly removed—on the website.
“In each case, offenders were arrested for the assaults, but Pornhub escaped responsibility for sharing the videos and profiting from them,” Kristof wrote.
For their part, Pornhub announced earlier in the week that it had made several policy changes to prevent the use of abusive content, but lamented that Mastercard’s and Visa’s measures were “exceptionally disappointing.”
As we’ve previously reported, Pornhub raking in obscene profits off of videos of rape victims is nothing new.
Assault survivor Rose Kalemba went up against the porn behemoth after discovering that it had allowed videos of her assault—which occurred when she was just 14 years old—to be uploaded and viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
Despite pleading with them for several months, it wasn’t until Kalemba set up a new email address and impersonated an attorney that Pornhub finally took down the videos of her attack.
Earlier this year, we reported:
“Women have told me that it is still happening, after they saw my blog. And these are Western women with access to social media,” Rose said, debunking Pornhub’s defense. “I don’t doubt that videos in other parts of the world, in places we know porn is consumed in large bulks like the Middle East and Asia are places where the victim might not even be aware that their abuse is being shared.”
According to The Washington Examiner, which recently published a piece calling for Pornhub to be “shut down,” the site is so massive, it can’t possibly review or responsibly moderate all of the 6 million videos uploaded each year. It can’t even begin to regulate its 42 billion visits per year, and without so much as a pop-up to confirm a viewer’s age on the landing page, it doesn’t even try.
This is how the platform wound up hosting 58 videos of a 15-year-old being raped last year. This is how over a dozen women wound up victims of “revenge porn” videos that, until recently, Pornhub refused to take down.
While major credit card companies refusing to do business with Pornhub is a massive step, we know true victory cannot happen until this vile website is eradicated from the web for good.
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