Internet porn executives resign after revelations the company’s sites posted underage videos

The top executives of the controversial porn site company Mindgeek, which is embroiled in legal action by alleged child trafficking victims, have resigned.

The chief executive and chief operating officer of MindGeek, which owns the adult sex websites Pornhub and YouPorn, have stepped down after more than a decade running operations. Feras Antoon, the CEO, and David Tassillo, the COO, will remain shareholders, MindGeek told Variety.

The resignations follow an investigation in the New Yorker that found non-consensual and underage videos – including those with children – have for years ended up on Pornhub. The magazine interviewed several women who discovered videos and pictures of themselves on Pornhub that they did not consent to sharing and who spent months trying to get the site to remove the material.

MindGeek has rejected the claims and denied the timing of the departures is linked to the article, saying the resignations had been planned for months.

“[The New Yorker] 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,” a spokesperson told the Washington Post.

The scandal is the latest in a long line for the company, which is headquartered in Luxembourg but has its main office in Montreal, Canada.

A 2021 lawsuit alleged MindGeek violated federal sex trafficking and child sexual abuse image laws by allowing, and profiting from, its users posting child sexual abuse videos featuring people under 18 years old. The class action lawsuit is expected to go to trial in California next year. MindGeek denies the allegations.

In 2020, two credit card companies, Visa and Mastercard, suspended processing payments on Pornhub after a New York Times investigation found unlawful content on the website.

The resignations come amid mounting pressure on governments and regulators to do more to curb the normalization of porn and restrict access to pornographic content considered harmful by child welfare experts. According to MindGeek, 150 million people view its porn platforms every day.