HomeUS News updateMeet Pornhub's new owner: Ethical Capital Partners

Meet Pornhub’s new owner: Ethical Capital Partners

In the heat of a culture war around online access to sexually explicit material, Pornhub owner MindGeek was acquired by private equity firm Ethical Capital Partners on Thursday.

Pornhub is one of the largest adult entertainment websites on the Internet and has faced intense scrutiny for previously hosting videos depicting child sexual abuse. After the platform was criticized by a New York Times opinion piece, Visa and Mastercard suspended services from the site. Pornhub removed all unverified content and changed who is allowed to upload it to the site – but continues to struggle to rattle its critics.

Despite the controversy surrounding Pornhub, Solomon Friedman, vice president of compliance for Ethical Capital Partners, said in sharing how MindGeek hosts and moderates content about “sex-positive expression among consenting adults” There is massive “social, financial and technical” value.

Friedman told NBC News that Ethical Capital Partners will have “complete control” of its new asset. In a press release announcing the acquisition, the firm says it is looking for investment opportunities in industries requiring “principled ethical leadership.”

For nearly 15 years, Freedman, a defense attorney, said he has worked on litigation related to the investigation, detection and prevention of child sexual abuse material.

MindGeek has rarely spoken out in the years since the New York Times op-ed, but its new ownership is boldly asserting Pornhub’s right to exist.

According to Freedman, MindGeek’s tools for screening bad material practices were a “key reason” Ethical Capital Partners acquired. They include MindGeek and Pornhub’s Verified Uploader programs, a law enforcement portal and “a suite of tools” to screen content and track stolen content.

“We see a lot of untapped opportunity in really taking these tools and sharing them with the world,” Friedman said.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), it took Pornhub slightly less time on average to remove alleged child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in 2021. Pornhub responded to CSAM’s three notifications from NCMEC in an average of less than five hours, while the overall average for all websites was a little over 24 hours.

Of the 30 million reports of child abuse reported to the NCMEC in 2021, Pornhub submitted just over 9,000 reports, with MindGeek’s other pornography websites submitting fewer than 100 reports combined.

Friedman said Ethical Capital Partners plans to support sex workers and creators of sexually explicit content in discussions about law and regulation, including what payment processors like Visa and Mastercard do and what sex workers and pornography websites are allowed to do. Don’t give

“We’ve defended sex workers and we’ve seen the stigma,” Friedman said. “There is stigma and there is shame and that means discussions and debates are taking place in the absence of those who are most affected by it.”

Mike Stabile, director of public affairs for the Free Speech Coalition, the adult industry trade association, said the acquisition announcement has been greeted with optimism by adult stars and sex workers.

“At a time when the industry is under unrelenting assault legislatively and culturally, it really helps to have one of the largest companies speak up,” Stable said.

In conjunction with the announcement of its MindGeek acquisition, Ethical Capital Partners also announced the creation of an advisory board that includes Dr. Val Weber, who holds a doctorate in community health and the humanities. Weber has experience in the webcamming industry and hopes to strengthen the safety and health of performers and sex workers.

Weber said, “My goal will always be that performer safety is never sacrificed for any other approach to safety.” “It’s things like sexual health, but also mental health that’s constantly being surveilled and constantly having your livelihood taken away.”



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