French minister to raise protection of minors with Pornhub’s new owners

French Junior Minister for Digital Transition and Telecommunications Jean-Noel Barrot arrives to attend the second plenary session of the Conseil National de la Refondation (CNR - National Council for Refoundation) at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, December 12, 2022. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) – A French government minister will meet the new owners of the pornography website Pornhub to ensure minors are protected and that the site does not break any laws, he said on his Twitter account on Friday.

Pornhub owner MindGeek has been at the centre of the adult entertainment industry since the advent of video streaming, but has faced controversy, with Pornhub cut off by Visa and Mastercard’s payment networks in 2020 after investigations identified unlawful content on the platform.

MindGeek has since said that Mastercard reinstated access to its subscription sites, but both the payments firms suspended ties with the company’s advertisement arm TrafficJunky after a lawsuit raised questions over whether they could be facilitating child pornography.

Earlier this week, Canadian private equity firm Ethical Capital Partners said it had bought MindGeek, which has faced complaints over Pornhub’s content.

“I will meet its directors to make sure that they are indeed willing to operate within our laws and to make sure they will protect minors,” Jean-Noel Barrot, a junior government minister covering the telecoms and digital economy sectors, said.

MindGeek said it would work with Ethical Capital Partners (ECP) on matters of trust and safety with regulators.

“We have spoken with the partners at ECP. They are aware of the minister’s statement on social media. ECP will work with the team at MindGeek to ensure their commitment to trust and safety is communicated clearly with all stakeholders, including government, regulators and elected officials,” it said.

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