Pornhub Blocks Access to Site in Utah, Protests New Law Requiring Age Verification

Photo from Tianyi Ma on Unsplash

Pornhub Blocks Access to Site in Utah, Protests New Law Requiring Age Verification

By Movieguide® Contributor 

Adult sexual media website Pornhub recently blocked all Utah-based IP addresses from accessing their site to protest a new state law that would require adult websites to verify their users’ age before allowing them access to the site.

Anyone from Utah visiting the site will be met with the notice that the platform has “made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Utah.” 

 Utah’s state senate passed legislation earlier this year to require all adult sites to verify a user’s age before allowing them access. Utah’s Gov., Spencer Cox, signed this bill into law late last March, and it went into effect on May 2nd.  

“A commercial entity that knowingly and intentionally publishes or distributes material harmful to minors in the internet from a website that contains a substantial portion of such material shall be held liable if the entity fails to perform reasonable age verification methods to verify the age of an individual attempting to access the material,” the law states. 

While those concerned about protecting children from sexual content are celebrating the implementation of this law, Pornhub is arguing that it violates users’ privacy. Utahans who attempt to visit the site are currently met with a video from pornography actor Cherie DeVille explaining why this law violates user privacy. 

“As you may know, your elected officials in Utah are requiring us to verity your age before allowing you access to our website,” DeVille said. “While safety and compliance are at the forefront of our mission, giving your ID card every time you want to visit an adult platform is not the most effective solution for protecting our users and, in fact, will put children and your privacy at risk.” 

In reality, the pornographic website is protesting the law because it hurts their bottom line. An internal document from a Sr. Community Manager from Pornhub, explains that age verification harms their business. 

“MindGeek loses money. Any age verification devastates traffic,” the document says. “Pornhub stands to lose 50%+ of traffic… You really think people are going to age verify?… It costs us money to verify, and overall it’s a disaster.”  

While the choice to block all Utahans from accessing their site is meant to garner sympathy for Pornhub, many people are celebrating the complete block of the site. The blackout of the site is also good news for the Utah state legislature which has been working to reduce pornography use across all ages. In 2016, the state declares pornography consumption a “public health crisis,” a sentiment since adopted by many other states.  

Movieguide® previously reported: 

“I think the biggest problem ultimately is that porn preys upon our vulnerabilities and appeals to the lowest parts of ourselves.” 

This didn’t come from a pastor; it came from Hollywood actor Josh Radnor in an interview with Fight the New Drug (FTND), a nonprofit organization that raises awareness on the harmful effects of pornography using scientific facts and research, as well as personal accounts, to support their cause. 

Radnor, a filmmaker and actor whom many know from the hit TV show HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, told FTND that porn is “a pretty epic disaster physically, psychologically, and spiritually” and spoke passionately about its devastating effects on individual relationships and society as a whole. He joins a growing list of celebrities, such as Rashida Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Terry Crews, who aren’t afraid to speak their minds on this important issue. 

“Those who speak out against it are reliably tagged as religious nuts or prudes or puritans or anti-sex,” he said. “I had just gotten really tired of the refrain ‘Everybody watches porn.’ It’s crazy how often that’s said, as if all the data has been collected and the discussion is finished. It’s a tactic to get porn more and more normalized.” 


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