Visa, Mastercard won’t allow charges for services on Pornhub

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Mastercard and Visa said Thursday they would block their customers from using the credit cards to make purchases on Pornhub following accusations the pornographic website showed videos of rape and underage sex.

They reacted following an investigation by opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times that also alleged the site depicts revenge pornography and video taken without the consent of participants.

Mastercard said it is terminating use of its cards on Pornhub after its own investigation confirmed violations of standards prohibiting unlawful conduct on the site. Mastercard said it also investigating other websites for potential illegal content.

Visa said it was suspending use of its cards on Pornhub Thursday even though its own investigation was incomplete.

Pornhub, in a statement, called the actions “exceptionally disappointing.” Two days ago, the company announced steps to protect against images of abuse, nonconsensual activity and underage models on the site, including a ban on unverified users uploading material.

“This news is crushing for the hundreds of thousands of models who rely on our platform for their livelihoods,” Pornhub said.

The company said it had more than 42 billion visits to its website last year.

Diane Hawkins, senior vice president and executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, said her organization had met with Visa and Mastercard earlier this year to ask them to stop processing payments for Pornhub “and we are grateful that both companies will make these significant changes.”

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