New Testimonials Reveal Google, PayPal Complicit in Promoting Rape Videos
By Movieguide® Staff
Note: This article contains descriptions of sexual abuse
When investigative journalist Nicholas Kristof released a scathing expose on how Pornhub promoted sexual abuse and child pornography in Dec. 2020, landmark advances took place as advocacy groups and a concerned public fought back to protect children.
Kristof has released another opinion piece in the New York Times called “Why Do We Let Corporations Profit From Rape Videos?”
The op-ed reveals that consumers of pornography moved from Pornhub to another adult site, XVideos, perpetuating the problem of sexual abuse and rape found on adult sites. Kristof outlines how major companies like Google and PayPal are a part of the overarching problem of child pornography and its rampant online presence.
“This is a column I’ve been working on for months, about how we let companies profit from rape videos and illegal child sex abuse materials,” Kristof wrote on Facebook regarding his most recent column.
Kristof also noted the inevitable connection between violent sexual abuse and mental health—that often circulates forever on the internet, offering little respite for victims.
Kristof highlights testimonies from the exploited who live with the burden of abuse for their entire lives. All the while, Big Tech turns a blind eye.
“The shame I felt was overwhelming,” his source added.
Kristof continued to recognize that while his initial op-ed achieved numerous tangible changes—like credit card companies cutting ties with PornHub—the industry is expansive. There is still work to do to stem the tide of sexual abuse content online.
“The exploitation is rooted not in a single company but in an industry that operates with impunity, and punishing one corporation may simply benefit its rivals,” Kristof said. “That’s happening here. When Pornhub deleted videos, millions of outraged customers fled to its nemesis, XVideos, which has even fewer scruples.”
XVideos, which Kristof proposes is owned by French twins Stéphane and Malorie Deborah Pacaud, has an average of two billion impressions daily, according to XVideos. The twins also are alleged to own the adult site XNXX.com. Both pornography sites rank on the top ten most visited websites globally, SimilarWeb reports. The two sites have more viewers than Yahoo, Amazon, and Netflix.
A recent study published in The British Journal of Criminology discovered that around 12% of videos on the three most popular adult sites in Britain—XVideos, Pornhub, and XHamster—were in criminal violation of the law.
Movieguide® previously reported:
The report found that 12% of their collected data samples “described sexual activity that constitutes sexual violence.” The majority of the percentage included common keywords or themes like incest and non-consensual actions, which often included keywords like “young” or “drugged.”
“However we found on the landing pages descriptions of forced sexual activity that may meet the criteria of extreme pornography,” the report states.
“This material may also be deemed obscene and therefore its distribution possibly subject to criminal sanction under the Obscene Publications Act 1959. It is also possible that some of the material analysed is evidence of real sexual assaults, as well as voyeurism and non-consensual distribution of sexual image offences.”
The central argument is that adult sites are “bombarding users with sexually violent material depicting rape, upskirting and other abuse.”
Kristof echoes the findings: “XVideos guides viewers to videos that purport to show children: Search for ‘young,’ and it helpfully suggests also searching for ‘tiny,’ ‘girl,’ ‘boy,’ ‘jovencita’ and ‘youth porn.’ Many of those on the screen will be young-looking adults, but some will be minors whose lives have been badly damaged.”
Kristof further called attention to Google’s complacency in the issue and his dissatisfaction with the company’s answer.
“Google is a pillar of this sleazy ecosystem, for roughly half the traffic reaching XVideos and XNXX appears to come from Google searches,” Kristof writes. “Most of the people in the videos are probably 18 or over, but who knows?”
“The porn tube sites are obsessed with their Google rankings because Google is their lifeline,” Laila Mickelwait, the president of the Justice Defense Fund, said. “Google is the primary means by which they drive traffic to their sites.”
Kristof continued: “Google does have limits. I tried searching ‘How do I poison my husband,’ and the results were literary or humorous, not how-to instructions. The top responses to ‘How do I commit suicide’ were for a suicide hotline. So, Google, why not demonstrate the same responsibility when it comes to searches for rape videos?”
So what then is the solution?
Kristof provides positive and effective practical solutions that have already proven to help.
“Since that article [op-ed in Dec. 2020], credit card companies have stopped working with Pornhub, the site has removed more than nine million videos, and the Canadian and United States governments have been cracking down on the company’s practices,” Kristof writes.
However, he also maintains, across both articles, that pornography is not the problem.
“A starting point is to recognize that the issue is not pornography but child abuse and exploitation. We can be sex positive and exploitation negative,” Kristof writes.
While the latter half of Kristof’s statement rings true, according to God’s word, Christians have the responsibility and the joy to see sex as God designed—which would undoubtedly exclude any pornographic depictions.
To Kristof’s credit, God says in His word that humans should enjoy sex, but within the confines of marriage. However, the porn industry, TV, movies, and the media have redefined love.
Unfortunately, the line between the content found on adult sites and the content found in TV shows readily available on Netflix is reaching a point of equilibrium. Pornography has cemented itself into the culture. Kristof’s diligence to expose the industry of its exploitive and often illegal practices is commendable and has led to real change. Christians and Christian organizations, like Exodus Cry, are equipped with the truth of the Gospel, the power of the Holy Spirit, and a confidence that God is just and merciful; how much more should we be involved in the fight?
Founder of Movieguide® Dr. Baehr notes the importance of protecting young children from an incorrect view of violence in movies and TV:
The emotive heart of drama is conflict and the ultimate conflict ends in violence. The Bible is full of violence and the Gospel story has one of the most violent scenes imaginable, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The presentation of violence in the entertainment media is not always bad and is sometimes necessary. It is, however, critical to protect young children from such violence and to identify how the violence is presented in the entertainment product so you can discern whether it’s necessary and furthers the Good and the True.
On the other hand, violence can have a demonic, pornographic appeal. The Roman Empire featured spectacles of live violence. Gladiators fought to the death, Christians were fed to lions and all manner horrible killing was offered as entertainment to a stadium full of spectators. This same demonic taste can be fed with movies, videos, games, and online content. It is, in fact, a stage into which many people addicted to pornography sink. What may start out as simple sexual attraction devolves into darker and darker pits of hell. As discussed earlier, horror movies and violent video games obviously stimulate the brain.
Moreover, pornography is pervasive in movies and media that portray love as lust.
Dr. Baehr implores parents to ask these discerning questions about mainstream media:
How is love portrayed?
The beauty of God’s love is wonderful, yet most movies portray lust as love. Love is giving, putting others before ourselves, and always fulfilling with the joy of giving. Lust is taking, demanding more and more, without any satisfaction.
Movies and other mass media of entertainment present lust as love with one night sexual relationships, tedious ordeals, endless battles, or perverted activity. This desecration of love should be an anathema to God’s people.
Many movies suggest, or even promote, the idea of sex with a child.
The most memorable and most profitable movies are usually carefully crafted character studies which portray love in a wholesome, biblical, uplifting, or light way, such as A QUIET PLACE, THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD, and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
When considering a love story compare its presentation with the Apostle Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV):
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
This is the kind of love you want your children to experience in a marriage – not the kind centered on lust or satisfying your base instincts. When harder times come, many marriages built on the models presented in most movies and television shows fall apart.
God’s love is not a romance story. It never fails.