Canada

RCMP commissioner, justice minister to testify before ethics committee on PornHub allegations

MONTREAL —
The head of the RCMP and Canada’s justice minister are set to testify in front of the House of Commons ethics committee next week regarding the ongoing controversy with online porn giant, MindGeek.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki and Justice Minister David Lametti, as well as Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, are set to face questions from the committee on Monday. The meeting is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.

This will be the first time the RCMP commissioner will testify before the ethics committee as the national police force faces growing calls for a criminal investigation into the Montreal-based company that operates PornHub.

It will also be the first time a cabinet minister will testify to the committee on the matter.

MindGeek is now the target of at least five lawsuits, including an international class-action suit, launched in Canada, which has not yet been certified.

The suits allege that the company profited from non-consensual and child abuse content, even though it had a responsibility to ensure all its content was legal.

MindGeek executives have denied any wrongdoing and have said their company is a “world leader” in preventing the distribution of content showing child sexual abuse and non-consensual acts.

“MindGeek has a zero tolerance for non-consensual content, child sexual abuse material (CSAM), and any other content that lacks the consent of all parties depicted,” read part of the company’s statement to CTV last month. 

“MindGeek goes above and beyond what might be required by Canadian law.”

In response to an investigative report by CTV News’ W5 team, MindGeek released a statement saying it is “more aggressive” in its moderation of content than most platforms and does not allow content to go live before it has been reviewed. 

The new meeting comes nearly two months after 70 parliamentarians from all parties issued an open letter to Lucki demanding the RCMP open a criminal probe into MindGeek.

The committee has already heard from several survivors who accused Pornhub of ignoring or taking too long to respond to repeated requests to remove non-consensual, intimate content from its website.

Survivor Victoria Galy testified Pornhub only took down dozens of videos and images of her — posted without her consent, depicting non-consensual sex and leading her to become suicidal, she said — following a New York Times investigation and her own civil lawsuit in December, more than two years after she began to alert the platform.

Following the New York Times report in late 2020, MindGeek claims to have removed videos uploaded to PornHub from unverified users (believed to be more than 9 million videos), and requires users to be verified before uploading content. They have also removed the download button on the PornHub website.    

In its recently released 2020 transparency report, the company claims to have removed 653,465 pieces of “potentially offending” content from its websites. 


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