Ties to Pornhub, one of the world’s largest porn sites, continue to be cut. Last week, Visa announced that they will temporarily suspend all payments on the site while they investigate allegations that the pornography platform allows illegal content such as rape and revenge pornography. Mastercard went a step further and announced they will completely prohibit use of their cards on the site. The decisions came after The New York Times recently published a report by Nicholas Kristof detailing the site’s illegal actions. The Mastercard statement said, “Today, the use of our cards at Pornhub is being terminated. Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content…we continue to investigate potential illegal content on other websites.” Visa’s statement read, “Given the allegations of illegal activity, Visa is suspending Pornhub’s acceptance privileges pending the completion of our ongoing investigation.”


    The Right, long a critic of the platform, supports the companies’ actions. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced on Wednesday a new bill which would allow victims of “sex abuse and trafficking” to sue if a platform publishes content without their consent – something Pornhub has regularly been accused of. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation also praised Mastercard for the move, with Senior Vice President Dawn Hawkins stating, “Mastercard has chosen to defend human dignity and we applaud the company for making this bold step.”

    “In another MASSIVE WIN for our united #Traffickinghub movement, #Visa and #Mastercard have officially terminated their payment services on Pornhub after investigating the site for its complicity in the rape and trafficking of women and children.”

    Exodus Cry, Anti-Trafficking Nonprofit Organization


    Many on the Left say the move is a “significant threat to sex workers” and have pushed back. VICE News reporter Samantha Cole tweeted, “This has nothing to do with helping abused victims and everything to do with hurting online adult entertainers to stop them from creating and sharing adult content.” She added, “Sex workers and activists say that this is a dangerous, discriminatory decision—one fueled by anti-porn campaigners and conservative activist groups who want sex work abolished.” Another writer agreed, arguing that Kristof had no interest in sexual abuse victims but rather wanted to use them as “a political tool in his war against sex work.”

    “Their goal is a total porn ban on the Internet. Their next step will be to pressure Visa/Mastercard into banning any pornographic websites altogether  – which is already a lot closer to happening than you realize.”

    Aditya Mukerjee, Organizer of Identity Hackers for LGBTQ+ engineers

    Sex work organization Project Wuornos criticized the credit card companies for their decision “to take away income from sex workers not remotely at fault.” Tiffany Cabán, political organizer and candidate for New York Council District 22, wrote, “Outing sex workers is an act of violence.”


    Pornhub, who has denied the accusations, criticized the decisions and argued that the move would financially affect thousands of people who rely on Pornhub to make a living:

    These actions are exceptionally disappointing, as they come just two days after Pornhub instituted the most far-reaching safeguards in user-generated platform history…This news is crushing for the hundreds of thousands of models who rely on our platform for their livelihoods.”

    Pornhub statement
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