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

Al Kelly

Mark Neuling | CNBC

Visa is suspending card payments for advertising on Pornhub and its parent company MindGeek after a lawsuit sparked controversy over whether the payments giant could be facilitating child pornography.

A federal judge in California on Friday denied Visa’s motion in a lawsuit filed by a woman who accuses the payment processor of knowingly facilitating the distribution of child pornography on Pornhub and other sites operated by parent company MindGee.

Visa Chairman and CEO Al Kelly said Thursday that he disagrees with the court’s decision and has confidence in its decision.

“Visa condemns sex trafficking, sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse,” Kelly said. “It is illegal, and Visa does not allow the use of our network for illegal activities. Our rules explicitly and unequivocally prohibit the use of our products to pay for content depicting non-consensual sexual behavior or child sexual abuse. We are vigilant in our efforts. to prevent this and other illegal activities on our network.’

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

“It is Visa’s policy to comply with the law in every country in which we do business. We do not make moral judgments about legitimate purchases made by consumers, and we respect the legal role of legislators in deciding what is and is not legal,” said Kelly. “The visa can only be used on MindGeek studio sites featuring professional actors in legal adult entertainment.”

A woman is suing Visa and MindGeek over a sexually explicit video her boyfriend recorded when she was 13.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney, of the Central District of California in Santa Ana, said Visa decided to continue to recognize MindGee as a merchant despite knowing that MindGee allegedly monetized child pornography.

The CEO said that Visa had already suspended sites with user-generated content in December 2020 and the acceptance of those sites has not been reinstated.

Mastercard told CNBC that it is directing financial institutions to stop accepting its products on TrafficJunky following the court’s ruling.

Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman spoke about the controversy recently, asking Visa to pressure Pornhub to remove child pornography from its site.

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

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

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

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