Aylo to pay millions of dollars in yet another Pornhub legal case

Aylo concludes 2033 with yet another legal settlement.

Pornhub’s owner Aylo has agreed to pay the US government $1.8 million, plus payments to women harmed by trafficking, after admitting to profiting from sex trafficking and hosting videos featuring the women without their consent.

Aylo, which rebranded from MindGeek in 2023 in an attempt to move on from its lawsuit-troubled past, made a deferred prosecution agreement which resolves a charge of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions involving sex trafficking proceeds.

The charges came from Pornhub collaborating with now-defunct porn studio GirlsDoPorn, the owners of which faced criminal charges for sex trafficking. GirlsDoPorn, which was shut down by the FBI, was found to deceive women about where porn content they filmed would be distributed, with some of it ending up on Pornhub without their initial knowledge or consent.

Aylo has faced a flurry of legal activity in relation to GirlsDoPorn. In October this year, a group of women sued Aylo in California, seeking $5 million each in damages plus restitution for money Aylo earned from their videos. In 2021 Aylo, then MindGeek, settled a similar case brought by a group of women. The payments Aylo made to the women was not made public, but they sought over $1 million each in damages.

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The new deferred prosecution agreement was made in New York. The head of the FBI’s New York office, James Smith, said Montreal-based Aylo had “knowingly enriched itself” with the videos made with deception, and was guilty of “turning a blind eye” to the victims who told the firm about the coercion and deception they had faced.

Prosecutors for the New York case said that Aylo earned over $100,000 from GirlsDoPorn and around $764,000 from advertisers attributable to the studio.

As well as the $1.8 million payment to the US government, and the payments to the women affected, the New York agreement required Aylo to be monitored by an “independent monitor” for three years before the case can be dismissed. The details of what form this monitorship might take has not been revealed.

Aylo said it “deeply regrets” hosting GirlsDoPorn content.

It added: “Aylo is not pleading guilty to any crime, and the government has agreed to dismiss its charge against the company after three years, subject to the company’s continued compliance with the deferred prosecution agreement.”

Aylo recently released its Pornhub Insights data dump, which puts a rather more positive bent on the company’s 2023.

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Jamie F
Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice, among others. He is also the creative force behind the Audible podcast Beast Master.

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