Australia's Telstra Pulls Soft Porn From Broadband Service

Australia's Telstra Pulls Soft Porn From Broadband Service
Bob Johnson

SYDNEY, Australia — Australian communications and media giant, Telstra has pulled porn from its Big Pond broadband streaming system.

Bowing to pressure from customers who objected to adult material, the company discontinued its lineup of softcore porn.

Telstra chief David Thodey wrote in a company newsletter, ''I have to agree. We have therefore decided that we will no longer promote access to adult-orientated content through our websites.''

Thodey tempered his decision however, noting that some content including “Dirty Housewives” and “Hot Asians Get Wet” was tame compared to most online porn.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, some of the adult links sat on a web page alongside children’s’ shows. Thodey said he had decided to remove the content because ''we cannot support anything that is sexist or that is inconsistent with our values,” and maintained that Telstra is in many ways Australia’s largest family company.

But porn on the company’s Big Pond streaming and download service has been available for more than a decade. What prompted the new move was a report in late February that pointed to a page that offered porn next to a page dedicated to Telstra's support of women in the workplace.

Ruth Limkin, a ''concerned citizen'' and part time columnist with Brisbane's Courier-Mail wrote directly to Thodey complaining about the content. Then in March, anti-porn activist group Collective Shout, also voiced its concerns, further fueling the fire.

But Telstra denies that it caved because of pressure from Collective Shout and said it never heard of the group.

In praise of the decision, Limkin wrote on her blog, breadandjustice.com, ''We celebrate your good corporate citizenship. You have provided an example we can point to of corporations who put people before profits. All of this deserves exuberant applause, and you most certainly have mine.''

Collective Shout also lauded Telstra. ''Good decision Telstra. We look forward to other Telcos following your lead,” the group said, and called for others to ''let Telstra know what you think of their decision to no longer profit from the bodies of women and girls.”

Although Telstra didn’t comment on the financial impact of the move, it said the positive feedback has paid off.

But some critics said pulling the mild MA15+ rated content was more of a publicity move than good corporate citizenry because the company realized that competing with the deluge of free Intenet porn was simply no longer worth the effort.

Related: