Bill Ackman Calls on Visa to Exert Influence on Pornhub in Taking Down Child Porn - The Jewish Voice
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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Bill Ackman Calls on Visa to Exert Influence on Pornhub in Taking Down Child Porn

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Edited by: TJVNews.com

Bill Ackman, the billionaire hedge fund manager and 56-year-old founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management has made on a public stand on his staunch opposition to child pornography and sex trafficking, according to a recently published report in the New York Post.

Appearing on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”, Ackman is demanding that the credit card giant Visa compel Pornhub to remove child porn from its web site, according to the Post report. In a lawsuit filed, Visa was accused of assisting Pornhub in sex trafficking by their taking payments from the porn site’s customers.

The Post reported that on Tuesday, Ackman told CNBC, “My interest comes from the fact that I have four daughters. When you think about the worst harm — economic, physical, mental harm you can impact upon a human being — it’s having a child trafficked … video of the rape appear. I find it hard to talk about it.”

The Post reported that in 2020, Ackman “publicly urged Visa and Mastercard to reevaluate its ties to Pornhub after a New York Times column by Nicholas Kristof alleged that the site features clips depicting rape scenes, revenge porn, and other videos filmed without consent of the participants.”

A lawsuit filed in federal court in California accuses MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub of profiting off of child pornography, the Post reported.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, who was filmed in a sexually explicit video at the age of 13 by her boyfriend has alleged that Visa bears responsibility for helping Pornhub bring in online payments for its illicit content, according to the Post report.

For its part, on Friday, lawyers representing Visa asked the federal judge who is presiding over the case to remove the credit card company from the lawsuit but the judge denied the motion, the Post reported.

In the ruling, US District Court Judge Cormac Carney wrote: “Visa made the decision to continue to recognize MindGeek as a merchant, despite its alleged knowledge that MindGeek monetized child porn. MindGeek made the decision to continue monetizing child porn, and there are enough facts pled to suggest that the latter decision depended on the former.”

The Post reported that Ackman also told CNBC on Tuesday, “Remarkably, the company, despite being entirely aware that there’s child pornography on these sites, they continue to provide payment services, until the Kristoff article, and then they shut down the sites overnight which would have bankrupted them.”

He added that: “Within a matter of weeks they re-authorized the merchants and started accepting payments again and the crime continues,” as was reported by the Post.

While Ackman stated that he has no financial stake in either Visa or Mastercard, the Post reported that he said he has also offered to help fund legal fees incurred as a result of any action taken against Visa.

“It’s an extreme measure when Visa or Mastercard shuts down a merchant, but a merchant’s business is fundamentally illegal,” Ackman said. He added that, “There’s traditional breach of fiduciary duty when a company has a product or service that can cause harm.”

Also speaking to CNBC was Visa who said that as a company they condemn any kind of distribution of child pornography as well as any form of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking, the Post reported.

A spokesperson for Visa said, “This pre-trial ruling is disappointing and mischaracterizes Visa’s role and its policies and practices. Visa will not tolerate the use of our network for illegal activity. We continue to believe that Visa is an improper defendant in this case.”

Also piping up in its defense was MindGeek when a spokesman said in a statement to the media that Pornhub has banned uploads from anyone who hasn’t submitted a government-issued ID that passes third-party verification and eliminated the ability to download free content among other safeguards, according to the Post report.

The Post reported that the MindGeek spokesperson said, “Any insinuation that MindGeek does not take the elimination of illegal material seriously is categorically false. When the court can actually consider the facts, we are confident the plaintiff’s claims will be dismissed for lack of merit.”

 

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