Mastercard, Visa and Discover cut ties with Pornhub following allegations of child abuse


Following the Times’ column, Mastercard (MA) launched an investigation into the claims against Pornhub and said it found them to be substantiated.

“The use of our cards at Pornhub is being terminated. Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site,” Mastercard said in a statement. “As a result, and in accordance with our policies, we instructed the financial institutions that connect the site to our network to terminate acceptance.”

Mastercard said it’s also investigating other websites for potential illegal content.

Meanwhile, Visa (V) is suspending the use of its cards for purchases on Pornhub, although its own investigation is still pending.

“Given the allegations of illegal activity, Visa is suspending Pornhub’s acceptance privileges pending the completion of our ongoing investigation,” Visa told CNN Business in a statement. “We are instructing the financial institutions who serve MindGeek to suspend processing of payments through the Visa network.” MindGeek is the parent company of Pornhub.

Discover (DFS) has also cut payment services with Pornhub.

“We require our financial institution partners to monitor for and prevent card acceptance at merchants that allow illegal or any other prohibited activities that violate our operating standards,” Discover said in a statement. “When Discover determines merchants are offering prohibited activity, we promptly terminate card acceptance through the offending merchant’s financial institution.”

In response, Pornhub said, “these actions are exceptionally disappointing.” The company noted that just days before the bans it announced new measures to eliminate child abuse and nonconsensual activity on its platform, including removing all unverified content and banning unverified users from uploading content on its site.

“This news is crushing for the hundreds of thousands of models who rely on our platform for their livelihoods,” Pornhub said in a statement.

American Express (AXP) has prohibited its cards from being accepted on Pornhub as part of a longstanding policy on “digital adult content sites.” PayPal (PYPL) cut its payment services to the site in 2019.

Many advocates including the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) have called for credit card companies to stop processing payments on Pornhub and other pornographic sites. The nonprofit organization applauded the card companies’ latest move, calling it “the right decision to finally cut ties with a profiteer of rape.” The group said it had been in communication with the card companies about this issue since earlier this year.

And last week, a group of lawmakers led by Senator Josh Hawley introduced legislation that would allow victims of sexual assault, trafficking and revenge porn to sue sites like Pornhub that host such content on their platforms.

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