Parliamentarians echo call for criminal probe into porn giant MindGeek

Protesters in Montreal gathered outside the offices of MindGeek, Pornhub's corporate parent, to protest the industry's practices.

Parliamentarians are joining the chorus of survivors of sexual exploitation who are calling for a criminal investigation into PornHub’s parent company, MindGeek.

More than 100 survivors and their supporters signed a Feb. 22 letter addressed to the House of Commons ethics committee website demanding the RCMP open a criminal probe to hold the company accountable for allegations against it.

The Montreal-based porn giant is being accused of hosting child sexual abuse material on its websites and failing to screen non-consensual content -- something survivors say has been going on for years but was only put under the international spotlight following a New York Times expose.

Earlier this month, MindGeek’s owners testified before a parliamentary committee and now some lawmakers are calling for law enforcement to start laying charges. 

Quebec senator Julie Miville-Dechêne is one of them. The member of the Independent Senators Group said she supports the survivors behind the letter. 

“I think it’s high time for law enforcement agencies to open an investigation and to encourage the RCMP to enforce the law,” she told CTV News. “It’s urgent to do that.”

“We seem to have strong laws, but they don’t seem to be applied at this point.”



The letter was signed by survivors from Canada, Austria, and Australia and several other countries, as well as 525 NGOs, including La Maison Marthe Quebec. The document comes after survivors shared their harrowing stories before the committee last month. 

“I, too, feel like Pornhub has become my human trafficker, and they have been relentless in doing so,” said one woman who spoke before the ethics committee about videos she said were posted without her consent, depicting what she says was sexual assault.

“Thanks to Pornhub, today is day 1,292 that I have been naked on these porn sites,” another witness testified on Feb. 19.

MindGeek executives have denied any wrongdoing and 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. 

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

However, the RCMP said the company has not made any disclosures directly to the RCMP. Instead, they flag content to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the U.S.

“Cybercrimes such as online child sexual exploitation and non-consensual distribution of images are often multijurisdictional or multinational, affecting victims across traditional jurisdictions and creating additional complexities for law enforcement,” the RCMP wrote in an email statement. 

That’s not good enough for Sen. Miville-Dechêne. 

“I’m not satisfied with this answer, to be very frank. I understand it’s complicated, but this has been going on for years and there are victims and I think (they) want answers and I think the RCMP should do something. I’m part of the people who think we should go a little faster on that file,” she said. 

Conservative MP Arnold Viersen, who has occasionally been asked to sit on the ethics committee, also agrees a criminal investigation is long overdue.

“The fact that they haven’t reported it to the correct authorities is a violation of the law,” he said. “Why is that not being investigated?”

The ethics committee’s investigation into PornHub is ongoing and a report is expected to be released later this year. 

-- with files from The Canadian Press.  

SIGN UP NOW

Stay up-to-date and in-the-know by subscribing to one of our newsletters