La Presse recently covered the announcement of Siskinds’ proposed class action against MindGeek entities. MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub, is alleged to have monetized from illegally disseminated intimate videos and photos including depictions of child sexual abuse, sexual assault of adults, as well as intimate images of adults who did not consent to the public dissemination of their images.
Louis-Samuel Perron · La Presse · Posted: Jan. 8, 2021
Jane Doe was 12 years old when she was sexually assaulted. A horror scene filmed and broadcast years later on Pornhub, the flagship site of Montreal-based montreal-based and global pornography giant MindGeek. This Ontario woman is the representative of a $600 million class action application filed at the Montreal courthouse.
After discovering through an acquaintance the video of her assault on Pornhub in January 2020, the young woman now an adult claims to have requested its removal through a form. A request, however, remained a dead letter. Far from being an isolated case, Jane Doe’s account echoes many disturbing testimonies reported last December in a shock investigation by the New York Times.
Plunged into turmoil, the online pornography giant has since been accused of tolering child pornography, sexual assault videos and sexual material obtained and disseminated without the consent of participants on its numerous websites.
The revelations sparked an outcry among Canadian politicians and civil society, prompting MindGeek to remove millions of videos and limit content publishing. The company has since been the subject of legal action in the United States, and now in Canada.
“MindGeek knew that its websites contained non-consensual material, including images of child sexual abuse, as well as intimate images of adults who did not consent to the public dissemination of this content,” the motion filed in Quebec Superior Court on December 29 argues.
The applicant is seeking $500 million in damages for all those whose intimate image has been published without their consent on a MindGeek website since 2007. This includes child pornography, sexual assault and non-consensual intimate images, the motion states. In addition, $100 million in punitive damages.
The discreet company based on Boulevard Décarie in Montreal knew that there was a “high risk” that sexual content would be posted on its websites without the consent of the participants, the petition alleges.
Nevertheless, MindGeek took “no action” to prevent this from happening and instead “monetized these non-consensual images and videos for its benefit,” the applicant adds.
The petition recalls that British media revealed as early as 2019 that dozens of videos of child sexual assaults were readily available on Pornhub. However, it was not until December 2020, under pressure following the New York Timesinvestigation, that MindGeek banned unverified users from posting content on Pornhub and removed millions of videos. In addition, until then, everyone could download videos directly from the website.
“MindGeek should have taken these actions in 2007 to ensure that non-consensual content was not broadcast on its websites,” the petition prepared by Siskinds Desmeules states.
In addition to having no policy to investigate the content of its users until 2019, MindGeek has not used enough moderators to verify videos of sex trafficking, rape and child pornography on its websites, it is argued.
Before deciding the merits of the case, a Superior Court judge must first authorize the class action. It could be a few years before the members of the class action are compensated, if necessary, unless a speedy settlement is made.
The Montreal-based company is also facing a $40 million lawsuit in California. Women allege that a partner of MindGeek, the GirlsDoPorn website, forced women to appear in pornographic videos.