GOP Senators Parrot Claims of NYT's Pornhub Editorial

GOP Senators Parrot Claims of NYT's Pornhub Editorial

WASHINGTON — Two prominent Republican Senators who have previously called for online censorship and the revocation of Section 230 protections, Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) are among the first to use the recent New York Times’ editorial by Nicholas Kristof to call for government action against Pornhub and parent company MindGeek.

An op-ed published Friday on XBIZ dissected Kristof’s piece and described it as “a sensationalistic call for state censorship and financial strangulation of Pornhub, packaged around gut-punching testimonials from young victims of sexual exploitation.”

Predictably, members of Congress — particularly Republicans following Donald Trump’s lead — who have spent the last few months holding more hearings about repealing Section 230 than they have about handling the COVID-19 pandemic, have immediately reacted to Kristof’s anti-Pornhub manifesto with heightened animosity.

Sasse, who nine months ago had penned a letter to Attorney General William Barr demanding an investigation into Pornhub, told right-wing news site Daily Caller on Friday that “the Department of Justice needs to open an investigation into the scumbags who run Mindgeek.”

His fellow Midwestern colleague Senator Hawley tweeted, “Tremendous reporting by Nick Kristof on the exploitation that occurs on sites like Pornhub. It’s time for it to end. I will introduce legislation to create a federal right to sue for every person coerced or trafficked or exploited by sites like Pornhub.”

Kristof, in a role of direct advocacy demanding state censorship, and using the arguments of religiously inspired organization Exodus Cry/Traffickinghub, directly tweeted his story to Kamala Harris, Justin Trudeau and others.

20 Canadian legislators have reportedly called for their government to target Pornhub’s operations north of the border.

Kristof’s retweets, copied by Senator Hawley, prominently exploit the image of a homeless 19-year-old  in a skintight shirt, which the editorial’s writer and the New York Times editors deliberately chose to provoke a political and social reaction.

Friday's op-ed on XBIZ described Kristof and the Times as having turned the piece "into a manipulative attempt to insert themselves in the complex debates around Section 230 — the so-called First Amendment of the internet — free speech online and sexual expression among consenting adults, including pornography.”

“Everything about ‘The Children of Pornhub’ is exploitative, from the testimonials, to the absolutely misguided photo essay taking advantage of a homeless teen to drive home a point and affect policy.”

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