News about alleged sexual misconduct seems to be everywhere these days:
—-Ghislaine Maxwell, who reportedly enabled many of Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes, is again trying to get bailed out of jail
—-Singer FKA Twigs and others are accusing actor Shia Labeouf of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
—-Actor Natalie Portman reveals that “Being sexualized as a child. . . took away from my own sexuality because it made me afraid. . .”
—-Writer and CNN commentator Jeffrey Toobin’s recent firing for exposing himself on a Zoom call is analyzed at length in the New York Times
—–Canadian fashion retailer Peter Nygard has been indicted on charges of sex-trafficking, racketeering and other crimes involving dozens of women, some of them underage, and charged with “recruiting and maintaining adult and minor-aged female victims” over a 25-year period.
But the abuse-related news that is the most important – and encouraging – doesn’t really involve celebrities.
Our favorite headline about it comes from The Independent: PORNHUB REMOVES MILLIONS OF VIDEOS AS IT ATTEMPTS TO STOP SPREAD OF SEXUAL ABUSE IMAGERY
Yes, the giant Pornhub website has purged 80% of its videos, “the latest in a series of sweeping changes to the site that have come after an outcry over child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and other nonconsensual content allegedly hosted on the site,” according to BuzzFeed, which also noted that the horror “was highlighted in a Dec. 4 piece by opinion writer Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. That piece led to investigations at Visa and Mastercard, which later announced they would end payment processing for the site.”
Vice reports that “13.5 million videos searchable on the site as of Sunday night is down to just 2.9 million by Monday afternoon” and “the changes will apply to all sites owned by parent company MindGeek.”
That’s more than ten million videos.
“The decision to remove the videos came after a report that found the site’s upload function – which allowed anyone to upload videos for others to view – was being used to share child sexual abuse imagery and other harmful content,” according to The Independent.
“Prior to the recent announcements, anyone could upload content to the site,” explains BuzzFeed. And much of that content apparently involved startling violence and young and/or young-looking individuals.
It’s unclear whether the new policies will be sufficient to fully address abuse on the platform.
But there’s no doubt this is a positive, long-overdue step towards protecting the vulnerable.