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Content on Pornhub Reportedly Normalizes and Promotes Racism and Racist Stereotypes

By June 9, 2020No Comments
TRIGGER WARNING

In light of the recent #BlackLivesMatter protests, Pornhub stepped in to offer solidarity and support for the anti-racism cause. But what they got from us in response was probably not what they expected.

Check it out:


In the past, the charity arm of the massive porn site has very predictably (and in many cases ironically) latched onto trendy humanitarian causes including saving the whales, saving the pandas, cleaning up beaches, and ending domestic violence.

Related: How The Porn Industry Capitalizes Off Of Racism And Racist Stereotypes

But like so many of the other causes they say they support, including fighting racism, the content on their site shows how they care more about public perception than they care about following through with making sure the content on their site is in alignment with the causes they say they support. Allow us to explain.

Normalizing Abuse Isnt Normal

The racist content reportedly on Pornhub

Firstly, it’s important to note that Pornhub is like YouTube, in that content creators from all over the world can upload and monetize their content—even if it’s violent, features children, or promotes racist stereotypes.

The site has received a lot of backlash in the last few months due to them reportedly hosting videos of victims of sex trafficking, child sex abuse victims, and victims of image-based abuse. Many survivors of these abuses have stepped forward and claimed that the video evidence of their exploitation and assaults could easily be found on Pornhub’s site.

In response, Pornhub representatives defended their reviewing process, stating that they have an extensive process for fingerprinting nonconsensually uploaded videos, and they take care to make sure illicit content does not show up on the site. (Click here to read more about our investigation of their processes, and our review of if Pornhub’s efforts are truly effective in preventing the spread of nonconsensual content.)

But despite their reported efforts to suppress the spread of nonconsensual porn, there is reportedly a lot more problematic content on the site that has nothing to do with child abuse, trafficking victims, or nonconsensual content.

After weeks of protest and unrest across the world in the wake of George Floyd’s death, one thing in their terms of service is glaring to us. Pornhub claims to not allow content that is “racial” on their site. See for yourself, in the 6th section:

pornhub terms of use

But is that true? There’s no “racial” content on the site that could contain racist stereotypes that are “hateful” or even “abusive”?

Like we showed in our tweet response above, here is a simple sample of titles that are reportedly available on the site:

– “Black Slave Punished by White Master”
– “White Cops F— Black Chick, Force Boyfriend to Watch”
– “Gang Banged by Blacks”
– “Skanky N—r gives a Blowjob”
– “Black Slave Girl Brutalized”

There have even been reports circulating on Twitter that Pornhub’s suggested search terms also include “exploited black teens.”

But maybe these videos were uploaded to Pornhub without the site knowing before they claimed they “stand against racism and social injustice”? Maybe they can’t control the auto-populated search terms that appear on the top of their site?

No, here’s more information from Pornhub about how their reviewing system works.

Pornhub itself has stated in an FAQ blog that “every video and photo uploaded…is reviewed manually by a large and extensive team of moderators.”

That would mean Pornhub is knowingly and actively promoting content that shows racism, not to mention—as we discussed earlier—child sexual abuse material, revenge porn, and videos of trafficked individuals.

People Are Not Products - White

Also in an FAQ article on Pornhub’s site is this defense of racist and sexist content on the platform where it exists on the platform:

“Unfortunately, there’s a ton of racism and misogyny in the sex industry (and in society as a whole), and because Pornhub is a community-built platform, it comes through sometimes, no matter how hard we try to be fair and respectful.”

But saying “sometimes” would make it sound like racist content is rare, difficult to find, and they remove it as soon as they’re made aware of it. But is that true?

Related: Why Does The Porn Industry Get Away With Racist Portrayals Of Black People?

A quick review of the porn site’s own recent annual report tells us that the search term “ebony” ranked in the top 10 search terms in 2019, and “interracial” porn was 76% more popular in the United States last year than everywhere else in the world. In some regions, searches for “big ass ebony” increased by 186% in 2019, and there was also a 149% increase in searches for “thick latina.”

You might ask, what’s the big deal with these search terms on Pornhub? Based on expert reviews of pornography featuring Black men and women where specific parts of their anatomy are mentioned, or specific races of people of color are highlighted in the category or description, in many instances, this content shows extremely offensive stereotypes of the performer’s race or ethnicity, and contains deeply racist themes.

And in cases of “interracial” pornography, multicultural/multiracial couplings are seen as a taboo fetish, rather than something that’s normal and acceptable.

And, again, Pornhub admitted in their 2019 report that this content is extremely popular on their site. Look below for the most-searched-for terms of 2019.

And that’s not all.

According to our sources, Pornhub’s search bar auto-populates suggested terms with the n-word if a user types it in. And, recently, information circulating on Twitter has shown that Pornhub reportedly approved ads and videos to be monetized that contained the name “George Floyd” in the title. If this is true, it means Pornhub is profiting from content that is exploiting his death. How is this at all acceptable?

But is Pornhub alone in perpetuating racism and racist stereotypes?

Black and white porn performers are treated very differently

A recent “Daily Beast” article by Aurora Snow exposed the realities of racism and racist casting in the general mainstream porn industry.

The article explains how black performers are treated differently not only on-screen, but they’re also treated poorly on sets when the camera isn’t rolling.

Additionally, in general, black women in porn are paid less than white women purely based on the fact that they’re black. And the roles black women are cast in are often completely racially stereotyped.

Related: How Mainstream Porn Normalizes Violence Against Black Women

From the article, performer Daisy Ducatti said, “There are people that genuinely don’t give a f— because there is profit in racism, there are racist people willing to pay… It’s not even a hush-hush thing. I’ve had directors straight-up tell me that they can’t pay me as much as the white performer that I’m performing with.”

According to former performer Vanessa Belmond, as a biracial performer, she also experienced the racist activity of the porn industry personally. Not only her, but also her boyfriend who is a person of color as well:

“My boyfriend grew to hate doing porn, because he was constantly told to act more like a ‘thug stereotype.’ He got passed up many times because he was not dark enough, and because he was uncomfortable being rough with women and calling them racist names. He wasn’t good at playing into the ‘scary black man’ persona, so directors went for the guys that could.”

Doesn’t it seem like the porn industry is given a free pass when it comes to perpetuating racism?

People Are Not Products - Black

The porn industry’s role in perpetuating racism

In addition to their discriminatory business practices, the porn industry seems to get a free pass to promote endlessly harmful and abusive content in the name of sexual entertainment. But where else in society is this considered acceptable?

Think about it: if the average film or TV show had the same kind of discriminatory content that you see on mainstream porn sites (even skipping the hardcore content), you can bet those studios would be shut down and condemned for promoting offensive and unwarranted stereotypes, or even glorifying racism.

Related: Pornhub’s Annual Report: Can You Guess 2019’S Top Searched Porn Terms?

If this happened on the set of a Netflix show, you’d probably hear about it, right? Yet you don’t often hear about it with regard to porn.

According to a report by Gail Dines and Robert Jensen, “The racism of the industry is so pervasive that it goes largely unnoticed.” (FTND note: this report focuses on political issues on which FTND has no position as a non-legislative organization.)

“In an interview with the producer of the DVD ‘Black Bros and Asian Ho’s,’ one of us asked if he ever was criticized for the racism of such films. He said, ‘No, they are very popular.’ We repeated the question: Popular, yes, but do people ever criticize the racism? He looked incredulous; the question apparently had never entered his mind.”

Up-market porn producers such as Vivid “use mainly white women” for their content, according to the Dines and Jensen report. The report also details how, “…the official face of pornography is overwhelmingly white. However, alongside this genre there exists more aggressive material in which women of color appear more frequently.”

As one black woman in the industry told Dines and Jensen, “This is a racist business,” from how she is treated by producers, to pay differentials, to the day-to-day conversations she overhears on the set.

“People of color in this industry have few opportunities that are not tied to their race,” said one male performer about his own experience as a person of color in an interview with Mic.

Related: How Porn Gets A Free Pass To Profit From These 5 Unacceptable Categories

This is content that’s easily accessible. On any mainstream porn site, even aside from Pornhub, it wouldn’t take long to stumble upon any number of racist titles that promote offensive and unwarranted ethnic and racial stereotypes. In a report titled Racism in Pornography, (trigger warning: link leads to explicit descriptions of porn) Alice Mayall and Diana E. H. Russell provide examples of blatantly racist titles including, “Animal Sex Among Black Women,” “Geisha’s Girls,” “Gang Banged by Blacks,” and the list goes on.

In porn, so many things are normalized that wouldn’t ever be tolerated in any other scenario or industry, especially in our society today.

Brain Heart World

A shocking reversal of industry-standard by some

But while Pornhub only announced they stand in solidarity against racism, other porn companies are taking steps to make their content a little less racist (though porn would still be problematic, even without the racist content).

In a surprising report last week, “Adult Video News” (AVN)—a major mouthpiece and sponsor of the porn industry, they basically host the “Oscars” but for porn—announced policy changes after they reposted a very insensitive and offensive story about George Floyd on Twitter.

The CEO of AVN, Tony Rios, shared that the company would be abolishing the “interracial” and “ethnic” categories from their awards show. Likewise, the terms “IR” and “interracial” would be eliminated from their news coverage, effective immediately, according to reports.

Related: 5 Things Porn Labels As A “Fetish” But They’re Actually Completely Normal

Here’s part of his statement:

“Those are the simple solutions, but we can and must do better, both as a publication and as an industry… We call for an end to disparate scene rates, racist marketing practices and films that rely on stereotypes and ignorance. For too long, we’ve heard the same excuses for these: it’s what the market demands. But we choose whether or not to serve that market. As an industry, we can no longer deny that these films amplify racism and discrimination.”

When you compare that response to what Pornhub’s reported response was, it’s easy to see how the massive porn site has a long way to go before their content is actively anti-racist.

Only tolerated because it’s porn

If you’ve been on social media in the last minute, you’ve likely seen articles and posts denouncing racism and the businesses, industries, or mentalities that support it either actively or complicity.

But how many of the people who have denounced this kind of behavior have also unapologetically supported an industry that thrives off of promoting unjustified racial stereotypes—simply because society has normalized sexual entertainment that breaks the rules of what’s generally accepted, and called it porn?

Related: How Mainstream Porn Normalizes Violence Against Black Women

Let’s hold the porn industry accountable for the role it plays in promoting and normalizing racism and racist stereotypes.

At Fight the New Drug, we are listening and we are fighting—are you with us?

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