MindGeek hit with civil lawsuit, Oregon moves towards repeal of prostitution laws, and more stories from June 2021
Every month there are dozens of stories about political and legal actions being taken that affect the online adult industry. It can be tough to stay on top of all of the proposed legislation and legal challenges, so we’ve got a monthly roundup to keep you up-to-date. Check out our quick summaries of 4 top legal and political stories that impact the adult industry below!
Lawsuit Filed Against MindGeek, Visa
A huge civil lawsuit has been filed against MindGeek and credit card company visa by a legal team headed by former Donald Trump lawyer Michael J. Bowe on behalf of 34 plaintiffs alleging human trafficking by Pornhub. 33 of the plaintiffs are Jane Does, and the other plaintiff is Serena Fleites of the infamous New York Times Nicholas Kristof anti-porn propaganda piece. The lawsuit contains “background information” that is senational in tone, calling MindGeek “just like the Sopranos” and “a classic criminal enterprise”. Although this is a civil suit, the filing includes direct accusations of criminal activity, including violation of federal sex trafficking laws; receipt, transport and distribution of child pornography; racketeering; public disclosure of private facts; placing plaintiffs in “false light”; common law misappropriation of likeness; statutory misappropriation of likeness; and distribution of private sexually explicit materials. The suit also accuses MindGeek staff of intentionally re-uploading previously legitimately removed content, and the legal team claims to have whistle-blower evidence of such activities. The lawsuit was filed in California and has been assigned to 84 year old senior judge Consuelo Bland Marshall.
Texas makes it a felony to offer or pay a fee for sexual conduct with another person
The Governor of Texas has signed HB1540 into law, making it a felony to “knowingly offer or agree to pay a fee to another person for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with that person or another”. This puts content creators in Texas in a tough spot, as there is not yet any case law to determine whether paying a porn performer to shoot content is a felony under the act. Although likely intended only to affect full service sex workers, the new law makes it dangerous for adult performers to shoot with other people, especially as it is unclear whether the definition of “fee” applies only to money, or if a content trade situation would also be considered a “fee”.
Oregon House Bill 3088 moves to decriminalize full service sex work
The Oregon House Judiciary Committee has begun holding informational hearings for House Bill 3088, which would would repeal the laws of prostitution, promoting prostitution, and commercial sexual solicitation. Oregon non-profit organization the Sex Workers Project said of the bill “when voters hear the reasoning for protecting sex workers’ rights and autonomy, as well as [about] wasting unnecessarily public resources, our polling shows support reaching 68%.”
Canadian Parliamentary Committee releases report of inquiry into Pornhub / MindGeek
Following months of hearings that gave a platform to anti-porn activists and mostly shut out actual sex workers, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics of Canada’s House of Commons has finally issued their report into the “Protection of Privacy and Reputation on Platforms such as Pornhub”. The report came with 14 recommendations, mainly focused on age and identity verification for performers, holding platforms and internet service providers accountable for illegal content hosted on their sites, mandatory reporting requirements, and research into the link between sexual violence and pornography.