There Is Hope!
The National Post in Canada reported on June 21, 2022 that Pornhub-owner, MindGeek, announced that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of MindGeek had resigned.[i] The resignations appear to have taken place shortly after the publication of a June 13, 2022 article in The New Yorker magazine, entitled “The fight to hold Pornhub accountable,” by Sheelah Kolhatkar.[ii]
According to an earlier published article, entitled, “XXX-files: who torched the Pornhub palace?” which appeared in the February 2022 edition of Vanity Fair, “Pornhub, with its undulating ocean of explicit content, is often ranked among the 10 most viewed websites in the world. More Americans use it than use Twitter, Netflix, or Instagram.”[iii]
The MindGeek resignations were confirmed by a MindGeek spokesperson,”[iv] who complained, "The New Yorker had the opportunity to seriously evaluate what works in fighting illegal material on the internet by looking at the facts, comparing the policies of platforms, and studying the results … Instead, they chose to ignore the fact that MindGeek has more comprehensive and effective policies than any other major platform on the internet and decided to peddle the same gross mischaracterizations that anti-porn extremists have spewed for decades."
However, much of Pornhub and Mindgeek’s problems with the press can be traced to an article that appeared in the New York Times on December 4, 2020, entitled “The children of Pornhub,” written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Nicholas Kristof.[v] The New York Times would not be considered by most people in the world of print and digital media as a source of “anti-porn” extremism.
For more than three decades, the Religious Alliance Against Pornography, Inc. (RAAP) has considered, as true, that “the spread of pornography is harmful to society as a whole.” Addressing RAAP’s members January 30, 1992, the late Pope John Paul II, stated,
“I am pleased to have this opportunity to meet with the members of the planning committee of the Religious Alliance against Pornography. As an interreligious group composed of representatives of the Jewish, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Protestant and Mormon communities, you are well–qualified to voice the concerns of an important segment of American society with regard to this grave social problem. Your discussions with the Pontifical Council for the Family help call attention to the urgent need for effective cooperation among all people of good will in opposing pornography and its damaging effects on the lives of individuals, families, and society.
“Pornography is immoral and ultimately anti-social precisely because it is opposed to the truth about the human person, made in the image and likeness of God (Cf. Gen. 1:26-27). By its very nature, pornography denies the genuine meaning of human sexuality as a God–given gift intended to open individuals to love and to sharing in the creative work of God through responsible procreation. By reducing the body to an instrument for the gratification of the senses, pornography frustrates authentic moral growth and undermines the development of mature and healthy relationships. It leads inexorably to the exploitation of individuals, especially those who are most vulnerable, as is so tragically evident in the case of child pornography.
“As your Alliance has sought to make clear, the spread of pornography represents a serious threat to society as a whole. The strength of any society is measured by its ability to respect those moral imperatives which are grounded in the objective truth about the transcendent vocation of the human person. When a society exalts "freedom" for its own sake, and grows indifferent to the demands of truth, it ends by severely limiting man’s true freedom–the interior freedom of the spirit…”
Groups like RAAP do oppose the exploitation of individuals, especially those who are most vulnerable, and have been voicing this opposition for more than thirty years. These groups have now been joined by members of the mainstream media, as is evidenced by the recent articles mentioned earlier.
For years, the U. S. Justice Department has been providing information about the problems to society caused by pornography. For example, in one research article published in the National Criminal Justice Reference Service[vi] during the year 2000, it was revealed that “[t]here is a growing body of research that supports the notion that pornography is related to the sexual victimization of women.[vii] Other research articles followed.
In 2005, a report entitled, “From fantasy to reality: the link between viewing child pornography and molesting children,” was published in the NCJRS, wherein it was reported, in part, that:
“According to statistics generated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, 80 percent of child pornography purchasers are active abusers and almost 40 percent of the child pornographers investigated during the past several years have sexually molested children in the past… Child sexual abusers frequently use pornographic images to “groom” child victims prior to committing sexual abuse. Repeated exposure to pornographic images involving children serves to normalize child sexual abuse and desensitize the child to such behaviors…it is clear that owning and viewing child pornographic pictures…most often involves the actual sexual abuse of children in the past, present, and future of the offender.”[viii]
Then, in 2006, still another report, “Impact of Internet pornography on marriage and the family: a review of the research,” was published in the NCJRS, which further reported:
“Qualitative and quantitative research indicates that pornography consumption, including cybersex, is significantly associated with decreased marital sexual satisfaction and sexual intimacy. Men and women perceive online sexual activity as threatening to a marriage as offline infidelity... Children and youth who consume or encounter Internet pornography can have traumatic, distorting, abusive, and/or addictive effects. The consumption of Internet pornography and/or involvement in sexualized Internet chat can harm the social and sexual development of youth and undermine the likelihood of success in future intimate relationships.”[ix]
Dr. Jerry Kirk, who was instrumental in founding the Religious Alliance Against Pornography more than thirty years ago, and who remains as one of the organization’s Co-Chairmen, was recently quoted as saying,
“…It is time for people of faith to re-unite on this issue, and to take a stand against pornography’s current assault on human dignity and well-being. This is no time to stand on the sidelines. This is a battle that can be won…”
In truth, part of that battle to which Dr. Kirk refers, has already been won. All, but the most narrow-minded of “pro-porn extremists,” would now agree that “the spread of pornography represents a serious threat to society as a whole.” As explained above, “pornography is related to the sexual victimization of women.” “Child sexual abusers frequently use pornographic images to ‘groom’ child victims prior to committing sexual abuse.” “Children and youth who consume or encounter Internet pornography can have traumatic, distorting, abusive, and/or addictive effects.” The source of this information comes from well-documented articles published by mainstream media outlets and research reports made available on government-sponsored reference services.
In the words of the leadership of one of the world’s largest religious communities, “Technology’s exponential advancement and integration into our everyday lives is not only changing what we do and how we do it, but who we are. Much of the impact of these changes has been very positive. However, we face the dark side of this new-found world, a world which is enabling a host of social ills that are harming the most vulnerable members of society…The challenges are enormous, but our response must not be gloom and dismay. We must work together to seek positive, empowering solutions for all…” [x]
There is hope!
[i] https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/pornhub-owner-mindgeek-ceo-coo-resign#:~:text=Pornhub-owner%20MindGeek%20said%20on%20Tuesday%20Chief%20Executive%20Officer,and%20Tassillo%20will%20remain%20shareholders%20of%20the%20company. [ii] https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/06/20/the-fight-to-hold-pornhub-accountable The Fight to Hold Pornhub Accountable [iii] https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2022/01/xxx-files-who-torched-the-pornhub-palace?redirectURL=https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2022/01/xxx-files-who-torched-the-pornhub-palace [iv] https://www.businessinsider.com/ceo-coo-mindgeek-pornhub-parent-company-resign-2022-6 [v] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/04/opinion/sunday/pornhub-rape-trafficking.html [vi] Established in 1972, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) is a federally funded resource offering justice and drug-related information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide. [vii] https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/exploring-connection-between-pornography-and-sexual-violence [viii] https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/fantasy-reality-link-between-viewing-child-pornography-and [ix] https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/impact-internet-pornography-marriage-and-family-review-research [x] https://www.childdignity.com/blog/declaration-of-rome World Congress: Child Dignity in the Digital World 6 October 2017 Pope Francis -- “A society can be judged by the way it treats its children.”