The Canadian Porn Monopolist
MindGeek Holding SARL (formerly Manwin) is a company registered in Luxembourg but controlled and operated by the Canadians Feras Antoon and David Tassillo. The company is not only considered the world’s largest internet porn operator with brands such as PornHub, RedTube or YouPorn but also seen as a monopolist that dominates a $97 billion sex industry. The company also entertains several adult film production companies Brazzers, Digital Playground, Men.com, WhyNotBi.com, Reality Kings, Sean Cody, and other. According to their website www.mindgeek.com, more than 115 million people are visiting their porn sites every day.
Though legally registered in Luxembourg, it operates mainly from Canada with headquarters in Montreal and additional offices in the United States and Europe.
Facilitating child rape and sex trafficing
In February 2020, the US activist Laila Mickelwait and her NGO Exodus Cry launched an online petition to investigate MindGeek and its sex platform PornHub on charges of facilitating child rape and sex trafficking. With six weeks more than 630,000 people signed the petition which goal is to urge the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch investigations against MindGeek and its executives.
In March 2020, US Senator Ben Sasse Tuesday demanded Attorney General William P. Barr investigate adult video giant PornHub for allegedly facilitating human trafficking.
According to a blog post published on Exodus Cry, MindGeek and/or its people operate and/or are involved with more than 100 porn sites. With their platform PornHub, MindGeek essentially established the YouTube of porn allowing users to upload their own content. They upload is organized with little to no regulation which actually opens the doors for abuse.
In the case of porn site GirlsDoPorn, beneficially owned and operated by Michael Pratt, 22 women who were deceived and coerced into performing sex acts on film that were subsequently uploaded to PornHub. These women sued GirlsDoPorn and won a $12.7 million lawsuit against the company. Pornhub, of course, was a major distributor of GirlsDoPorn and even continued to host their criminal videos, months after the trial.
While Pratt is considered the ringleader of the sex ring, and Mindgeek owners Feras Antoon and David Marmorstein Tassillo remain persons of interest in the GirlsDoPorn case.
The Data Kraken
The porn monopolist MindGeek is big in Big Data. According to a recent study by Raustiala and Christopher Spigman, MindGeek is at the “leading edge” of analyzing this kind of communication. While Netflix and Spotify might be more well-known household names, they know slightly less about their users than MindGeek does.