Visa suspends card payments for ad purchases on PornHub and MindGeek amid controversy

Al Kelly

Mark Neuling | CNBC

Passport is suspending card payments for ads on Pornhub and its parent company MindGeek after a lawsuit sparked controversy that the payments giant may be facilitating child pornography.

A federal judge in California on Friday dismiss Visa’s offer to dismiss a lawsuit by a woman who accused the payment processor of knowingly facilitating the distribution of child pornography on Pornhub and other websites operated by parent company MindGeek.

Visa CEO and President Al Kelly said in a statement Fifth, he strongly disagrees with this court and is confident in his position.

“Visa condemns sex trafficking, sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse,” Kelly said. “It’s illegal, and Visa doesn’t allow our network to be used for illegal activity. Our rules explicitly and unequivocally prohibit the use of our products for payment. for content depicting gratuitous sexual behavior or child sexual abuse. We are vigilant in our efforts to prevent this and other illegal activity on our network.”

Kelly said the court’s decision creates uncertainty about the role of TrafficJunky, MindGeek’s advertising arm, and accordingly, the company will suspend its Visa acceptance privileges until further notice. new. During this suspension, Visa cards will not be able to be used to purchase advertising on any sites, including Pornhub or other MindGeek-affiliated sites, Kelly said.

“Visa’s policy is to follow the laws of every country in which we do business. We do not make ethical judgments over legitimate purchases made by consumers, and we respect the role we play. legitimacy of legislators to make decisions about what is legal and what is not,” Kelly said. “Visa can only be used at MindGeeks studio sites that feature adult professional actors in the legal adult entertainment sector.”

The woman is suing Visa and MindGeeks over a pornographic video her boyfriend made of her when she was 13 years old.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney, Central District of California in Santa Ana, said Visa made the decision to continue to recognize MindGeek as a merchant, even though it knew that MindGeek made money from child pornography. em.

The executive said Visa suspended websites containing user-generated content in December 2020, and acceptance of those sites has not yet been restored.

Master Card told CNBC it is directing financial institutions to suspend acceptance of its products at TrafficJunky following the court ruling.

Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman recently spoke out about the controversycalled on Visa to pressure Pornhub to remove child pornography from its website.

MindGeeks did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

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