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Pornhub purchased by private equity firm hoping to take the site in a new direction

Mindgeek, an IT company which owns Pornhub, was purchased Thursday by the private equity firm Ethical Capital Partners.

The Ottawa firm now holds complete control of the adult entertainment website and vows to steer the company in a new direction, reports NBC News.

Solomon Friedman, Ethical Capital’s vice president of compliance, believes there’s “social, financial, and technological” value in sharing how Mindgeek hosts and moderates content about “sex-positive expression between consenting adults,” he told NBC.

Friedman has 15 years of experience working as a defense lawyer, and says he has worked on litigation related to eliminating child sexual abuse material.

That experience that could help Pornhub, which has been under heavy scrutiny since 2020 when the New York Times published an opinion piece highlighting the vast amount of troublesome content on the platform, including sexual videos of minors, non-consensual videos and even videos showing rape.

In 2021, Mindgeek settled a lawsuit alleging it profited off child sexual abuse and non-consensual content, reported CTV News, a Canadian news broadcaster.

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Last fall, another lawsuit was filed by a mother claiming Mindgeek hosted and profited from a video of her 12-year-old son being molested by a 36-year-old man.

Friedman spoke about Mindgeek’s capabilities to combat such activity. He cited recent additions like Pornhub’s verified uploader program, a portal for law enforcement, and “a suite of tools” to screen content.

It actually took Pornhub less time than other measured platforms to respond and take down questionable content, in a study conducted in 2021 by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Pornhub responded in less than five hours, compared to the average of about 24 hours other sites took to respond.

Ethical Partners says its focus will also include supporting sex workers in discussions about legislation and regulation.

“We have defended sex workers and we have seen the stigma,” said Friedman. “There is stigma and there is shame and that means there are discussions and debates happening in the absence of those who are most affected by it.”

The firm also announced the creation of an advisory board to help protect the “sexual health” and “mental health” of their sites’ performers.

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