Visa & Mastercard Freeze Card Use On Pornhub

Last week the New York Times published an OpEd calling for action from both governments and businesses in the private sector to take punitive measures against Pornhub. The OpEd written by Nicholas Kristof has circulated widely, and While the column has faced criticism with adult industry journalist Gustavo Turner breaking down sensationalistic aspects of the column; and Ej Dickson of Rolling Stone said on Twitter that Kristof “has a history of spotty reporting on the sex industry”.

Still, the OpEd’s call for financial services companies such as Mastercard and Visa to suspend cooperation with Pornhub seems to have worked, as today both Visa and Mastercard are blocking card use on Pornhub.

Visa released a statement on Twitter saying,

Given the allegations of illegal activity, Visa is suspending Pornhub’s acceptance privileges pending the completion of our ongoing investigation. We are instructing the financial institutions who serve MindGeek to suspend processing of payments through the Visa network.

At Visa, we are vigilant in our efforts to stamp out illegal activity on our network, and we encourage our financial institution partners to regularly review their merchants’ compliance of our standards on this and other platforms.

In a statement to Bloomberg Mastercard said,

“Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site,” Adding. “We instructed the financial institutions that connect the site to our network to terminate acceptance.”

It’s clear Pornhub has actual problems, and the adult nature of the business makes those problems worse, at least optically. Tumblr was once in hot water for (unknowingly) hosting child porn, Snapchat, Facebook and others have also (again unknowingly) been used for the distribution of such abhorrent material. These are real and serious issues, and it’s not clear that Visa and Mastercard blocking financial transactions will do anything to help.

The Adult Performers Actors Guild posted to Twitter saying,

“Visa and MasterCard are taking away its services from Pornhub. We are concerned about how this will affect the legal performers using their services to sell their legal content.”

Other Coverage: Reason, XBIZ, Reuters, Gizmodo, APAG

Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash

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