Victory! Roku Shuts Down Pornhub and Other Pornography Channels

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Haley McNamara (Halverson) | NCOSE

After years of advocacy from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and international allies, Roku is finally cutting ties with pornography platforms, including Pornhub!

BACKGROUND

Roku, a leading media streaming company, provides its users with the ability to stream television programs, movies, music, and more, on their personal devices.

Unfortunately, Roku has also long facilitated access to hardcore pornography channels through hundreds of private and hidden channels—unlike other industry leaders Apple TV or Amazon’s Fire TV—including Pornhub.

Pornhub and many other mainstream pornography platforms have come under fire for failure to remove child sexual abuse, rape, sex trafficking, and non-consensual material. Numerous survivors have spoken out about their abuse being distributed on Pornhub, and about Pornhub’s failure to remove the content or otherwise deal satisfactorily with the issue when brought to their attention.

Roku was essentially aiding in distributing illegal and sexually exploitive content through these private channels.

Because of this, Roku was listed on the Dirty Dozen List multiple years in a row, which led to thousands of concerned citizens and advocates emailing Roku through NCOSE actions, asking them to cut ties with the pornography industry.

In March 2021, NCOSE’s UK-based subsidiary, the International Center on Sexual Exploitation, along with 41 survivors and advocates representing 12 countries, sent a letter to Roku CEO Anthony Wood to request that the company shut down the Pornhub channel and block any hosting or facilitation of pornography entities.

Further, NCOSE has been in communication with many of Roku’s shareholders throughout 2021.

THE VICTORY

It has been reported that Roku announced a policy change to:

“effectively ban the world’s largest porn site [Pornhub], as well as a number of adult entertainment companies, from its platform on March 1, 2022….During its annual developer conference, Roku announced that it was restructuring how it handles channels that aren’t suitable for distribution on its Channel Store.”

“Roku’s decision to remove Pornhub and other exploitative pornography channels from its platform is a move that we and other international anti-exploitation groups and survivors have been calling on the company to make for years. No company should profit from child sexual abuse, rape, sex trafficking and other exploitive content on its platform and we are glad Roku is finally shutting down its partnership with Pornhub and other pornography platforms,” said Dawn Hawkins, CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation in a statement on November 2nd.

This victory is significant because it shows the continued trend of mainstream companies distancing themselves from Pornhub and other pornography companies.

Other corporations to similarly distance themselves include Unilever, Kraft-Heinz, Comcast, Mastercard, and Paypal—the pornography industry and Pornhub itself is losing its infrastructure of mainstream support!

NEXT STEPS

While Roku has not overtly stated that they are cutting ties with the pornography industry due to the revelations of rampant exploitation and illegal content, they appear to be closing the loophole that long allowed pornographers to use their platform for distribution through “private” channels. It should be noted that Roku also recently unveiled a “new Independent Developer Kit, which will allow developers and hobbyists to experiment with apps and services…” We call on Roku to ensure its upcoming Independent Developer Kit is not used to open that loophole once again.

You can learn more about the abuses on Pornhub—and take action to call on mainstream companies to cut ties with this exploitive industry—at EndSexualExploitation.org/Pornhub.

printVictory! Roku Shuts Down Pornhub and Other Pornography Channels

About the Author

National Center on Sexual Exploitation
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation. We are a nonprofit organization with a focus on a wide-ranging and interrelated array of topics including, but not limited to, child sexual abuse, child-on-child harmful sexual behavior, compulsive sexual behaviors, demand for sexual exploitation, illicit massage businesses, image-based sexual abuse, institutional sexual abuse, men’s violence against women, the neurological impacts of sexual trauma, the public health harms of pornography, prostitution, sex trafficking, sexual harassment and assault, sexual objectification, stripping, as well as the intersection of these issues with technology.