Pornhub has once again come under fire, this time from the producers of hit-BBC drama Normal People, for allowing the uploading of various sex scenes from the show onto their site. This is just another in a long line of instances where Pornhub has been called out for profiting from the work (in this instance), and exploitation (in most other instances) of other people.

The site has become a household name in recent years, partnering with brands such as Heinz and Unilever, while cynical publicity stunts such as their Save the Bees campaign has attempted to normalise their brand image amongst the wider population. But for those who are familiar with the dark and often-criminal operating methods of Pornhub, these campaigns are simply a transparent ploy to cover up its moral bankruptcy.

The uploading of sex-scenes from Normal People is a crystal clear example of how the site has total disregard for the content that makes its way onto its front pages, and how it will stop at nothing to create further profit. Of the uploading, the show’s executive producer said:

‘It’s both a violation of copyright and more importantly, it’s deeply disrespectful to the actors involved and to the wider creative team.’

This is indeed a legal and ethical breach, and understandably caused deep shock, especially for the actors. This trauma of course is magnified exponentially for the countless victims of child rape, abuse, and kidnapping victims forced to engage in sex acts against their will, which are then featured on Pornhub. In most cases, these individuals will not have a voice to defend themselves, and it also illustrates that no amount of “content” will ever be enough for Pornhub, or indeed, its users.

The site has literally millions of videos depicting all manner of sex acts, but this apparently is not enough. In this regard, Pornhub operates as an industry parasite, profiting off the misery of others. Indeed, there is common ground between those of us who protest the commercial sex industry wholesale, and individuals who see their roles within it as gainful employment. In recent months, performers have spoken out against the industry giant, pointing out that they regularly infringe copyright by allowing videos from other sites to be uploaded for free-of-charge access.

This has a two-fold effect of not only further-proliferating videos of what we at CEASE, and many other organisations and campaigners, consider to be sexual oppression and exploitation into the wider world by propelling viewing figures into the hundreds of thousands. It also further entrenches economic exploitation, as those who would be making money from their own “content” on other sites quickly see their earnings disappear as the free-access content becomes more popular.

We at CEASE hope that the criticism of Pornhub by a mainstream voice – in this case the producers of Normal People – will not end here. It is high time that the spotlight intensifies on the exploitative nature of Pornhub, and its relentless pursuit of profit at the expense of all those who appear on the site; where videos of young women, and sometimes also men,who are chewed up and spat out by an industry that cares nothing for their human rights and dignity are the norm. We cannot, and should not, allow this ruthless corporate machine a free pass any longer.