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After Pornhub’s Takedown, Is There a Renewed Hope for Redeeming Media?

Photo by Michal Kubalczyk via Unsplash

After Pornhub’s Takedown, Is There a Renewed Hope for Redeeming Media?

By Movieguide® Staff

One of Movieguide®’s aims is to encourage media discernment and champion content with biblical and moral content over immoral content that often invades the entertainment industry; entertainment is fed to everyone, regardless of age.

Recently, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof published an extensive and searing critique of Pornhub and the Canadian based company’s substantial problem with child exploitation videos.

Kristof’s article, which is currently on the front page of the New York Times website, is a significant breakthrough in media accountability. Since the article’s posting, Pornhub has already agreed to make significant changes, but is it enough?

Kristof asks: “Why does Canada allow this company to profit off videos of exploitation and assault?”

The report details how Pornhub turns a blind eye to the abuse of unconsenting young girls and their subsequent struggle to survive after mainstream exposure to their naked bodies.

Regardless of Pornhub’s intrinsic immorality, Kristof notes that the company claims that they are a “wholesome” brand that celebrates sex and sexuality safely.

However, Kristof’s report found otherwise: “Its site is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags. A search for ‘girls under18′ (no space) or’ 14yo’ leads in each case to more than 100,000 videos.”

Pornhub, the media, and sites like it—Kristof mentions other companies that are arguably more lenient in their exploitation of young girls along with mass-media companies like Google and Facebook who sit idly by–have redefined love for an entire generation of children.

“I asked the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to compile the number of images, videos and other content related to child sexual exploitation reported to it each year,” Kristof said. “In 2015, it received reports of 6.5 million videos or other files; in 2017, 20.6 million; and in 2019, 69.2 million.”

As Movieguide® previously posited, one of the most critical questions to ask when addressing media discernment is “How is love portrayed?”

Movieguide® founder and publisher Dr. Ted Baehr said:

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.

But, as Kristof points out, Pornhub’s content exhibits these immoral indicators and then some, both in their business model and their complacency.

Pornography’s effect on the mind, soul and society has plagued the world throughout history. As the definition of love changes for younger generations, society follows suit.

Movieguide® noted that “under President Ronald Reagan, pornography replaced violence as the hot political issue” among America’s public.

Movieguide® previously reported:

In 1987, the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography found that adolescents reported the most frequent exposure to pornography, not mature adults![i]… 

A 1988 report revealed that: 91% of male and 82% of female teenagers under 18 years old have seen extreme, X-rated, hard-core, pornographic sex-and-violence.

66% of the males and 40% of the females want to copy what they see.

More than 25% of the males and 15% of the females admitted to actually copying some of the things sexually they had seen in the pornography within a few days after the exposure.[iv]

This data strongly suggests the “modeling effect” or “imitative learning” effect that even non-violent pornography has on human behavior.

While Movieguide® maintains a biblical worldview, secular scientists are agreed on the dangerous effects pornography has on someone’s brain development. 

Moreover, one of Pornhub’s 80 employed moderators recognized that the effects go beyond the physical.

“The job in itself is soul-destroying,” one moderator told the journalist.

This is not a new idea, nor has it gone unnoticed by organizations who actively fight against it, such as Exodus Cry—an international non-profit fighting human trafficking. But the report is a major victory in bringing this issue to the attention of the mainstream media.

Movieguide® emphasizes the importance of media discernment, and this is one step in the right direction. However, there is always more work to be done.

An incorrect view of love, sex and relationship is not only portrayed in the bowels of sex industry companies like Pornhub. Many movies, TV shows and video games—that corporations pawn off as “normal” for children and young adults—are also engrained with similar vices.

Kristof offers some practical solutions to rescue future children:

“I don’t see any neat solution. But aside from limiting immunity so that companies are incentivized to behave better, here are three steps that would help: 1.) Allow only verified users to post videos. 2.) Prohibit downloads. 3.) Increase moderation,” Kristoff said.

Movieguide® proposes an additional solution that rests in the ultimate hope of the Gospel.

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.

For more, check out the full articles from Movieguide.org:

How Popular Movies, TV Shows Have Exposed Your Child to Pornography

How Much Sex Is in the Mass Media Product?