What just happened? Pornhub is once again being accused of hosting nonconsensual videos, including those showing rapes and child abuse, on its service. Thirty-four women are suing parent company MindGeek for allegedly being "one of the largest human trafficking ventures in the world," and "likely the largest non-regulatory repository of child pornography in North America."

The civil complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California, claims Pornhub and its parent knowingly profited from videos depicting rape, child sexual exploitation, trafficking, and other nonconsensual sexual videos. "This is a case about rape, not pornography," the complaint states, adding that MindGeek is a classic criminal enterprise run "just like the Sopranos."

Lawyers at Brown Rudnick LLP are seeking damages for the "devastating" effect the experience has caused the plaintiffs. They also seek protections for them and "thousands of other victims" from further exploitation.

The online porn industry "has operated like an old-school red-light district of commerce where rules that do apply and should be applied haven't been applied," said Michael Bowe, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs.

CBS News reports that one of the women was in high school and only 17 when her boyfriend coerced her into making a nude video. She forgot about its existence until a friend told her it had been anonymously posted to Pornhub without her knowledge or consent.

"I joined the lawsuit because I seek justice for myself and the countless victims who don't come forward," the victim said.

MindGeek owns dozens of porn websites, including Pornhub, RedTube, Tube8, and YouPorn, along with adult production companies and brands. It brings in 3.5 billion views per month. A recent survey showed PornHub was one of the most popular ways people in the UK got through last year's lockdown.

Pornhub said it is reviewing and investigating the complaint because it has "zero tolerance for illegal content and investigates any complaint or allegation made about content on our platforms." It called allegations that it is a criminal enterprise run like the Sopranos "absurd, completely reckless and categorically false."

Back in December, Pornhub stopped unverified uploads and banned downloads following a damning New York Times report making the same claims seen in the lawsuit. Mastercard and Visa soon cut ties with MindGeek, and Pornhub later added new safety measures that include verification by a third-party company for uploads.

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