All Episodes

May 17, 2024 61 mins

Warning: this episode is not appropriate for all audiences.

Anyone with an internet connection can find -- well, almost anything they wish. In a way, it's an autobiography of the human species, with all its interests, concerns, weaknesses and horrors. In tonight's episode, Ben, Matt and Noel explore the ongoing crime, corruption conspiracy riddling the world of online sex sites.

They don't want you to read our book.:

See for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
From UFOs to psychic powers and government conspiracies. History is
riddled with unexplained events. You can turn back now or
learn this stuff they don't want you to know. A
production of Iheartrading.

Speaker 2 (00:24):
Hello, welcome back to the show. My name is Matt,
my name is Noel.

Speaker 3 (00:28):
They call me Ben.

Speaker 4 (00:29):
We're joined as always with our super producer Max, the
Free Train Williams. Most importantly, you are here. That makes
this the stuff they don't want you to know. Fellow
conspiracy realist. Tonight's episode is not pleasant. There's no two
ways about it. It's a natural follow up to some
of the previous explorations we've had on the nature of

the Internet, technology and online communication. We've talked about this
at length in the past. Base human tendencies tend to
drive innovation. I mean, war, for example, almost always leads
to tremendous scientific breakthroughs. But one thing we don't talk
about as often is how it's a reciprocal relationship. You know,

technology also exacerbates and affects those natural human tendencies. I mean,
some scientific breakthroughs also lead to war. Is very much
a two way street. We could say this about any tendency,
including the human drive, for reproduction, for lust. From the
early days of film to the rivalry of VHS and Betamax,

sex has always been a great decider of technology. Do
you guys remember hearing about the Beta Max VHS thing.

Speaker 5 (01:44):
Oh, I mean, yeah, I guess just in terms of
like the battle for supremacy of format.

Speaker 4 (01:50):
Yeah, it was ultimately the adult entertainment industry that decided that. Ultimately,
the reason the reason VHS tapes ascended or VHS technology
was because it was that that format the industry chose.
And we're exploring a very dark and disturbing aspect of

technology and sex. We need to say at the very top,
this is important information. It is quite disturbing. This is
not for everybody. Tonight's show contains descriptions of sexual material
and abuse. However, we believe it is mission critical and
as always, there is stuff they don't want you to know.

Speaker 2 (02:34):
Absolutely, we're just gonna do Let's do it this way.
This episode is about porn. If you do not want
to listen to an episode about porn, turn this one off.

Speaker 3 (02:43):
If you've got kids in their teen plus.

Speaker 2 (02:46):
Just you know, if this episode is just like rolling
as you're listening, or you know, you've you're just continually
playing episodes. This is the one, so turn it off
if you don't want to listen to information about porn.

Speaker 3 (03:06):
Here are the facts.

Speaker 4 (03:08):
The Internet and sex have always been intertwined, kind of
like lovers.

Speaker 3 (03:13):
You could say.

Speaker 4 (03:14):
You could check out our Dead Internet Theory episode for
more on the origin of the modern Internet. You can
get real deep in the weeds if you go to
our pal Jonathan Strickland show Tech Stuff. But for our
purposes today, we need to realize that at the beginning
of the World Wide Web, very few people outside of
maybe the military industrial complex and the tech world in academia,

very few John and Jane Q public types realized how
big this would be, that it would be an information
revolution that would make it possible for a single person
or group or government to communicate with billions of other
entities near instantly. They also may not have realized it
would become one of the horniest inventions in human history,

but sex was an inherent piece of the equation early on.
There's a person that we're leaning on a lot in
Tonight's exploration Fantastic. Author and journalist Samantha Cole wrote a
book called How Sex Changed the internet and the Internet
changed sex and unexpected history. Cole delves into this narrative

that I think is tacitly acknowledged but not widely expressed,
and maybe this is how we get into it. I
was not aware of this. Cole found through intense research
that the first form of quote unquote pornography shared online
was likely the equivalent of typing eight zero zero eight

five on a calculator.

Speaker 3 (04:46):
Yeah boobbs, Yeah, sorry.

Speaker 2 (04:50):
Well yeah, but you can you can create pretty complex
images with ASKI. It's just all the different characters that
you can potentially type with a keyboard into a mah
and you can create pictures.

Speaker 5 (05:03):
Yeah, by spacing things out and you know, distributing various
characters in rows and columns, you know, over the course
of a giant kind of block of this text. And honestly,
it's kind of come back in a sort of you know,
retro Internet kind of way. You know, the Internet loves
to throw back, and you see these in meme form

or in like text form. People will text you these
things sometimes. I've definitely seen a resurgence in the sort
of horny asky art of late.

Speaker 4 (05:32):
Ask you ar yeah, and this is this is a
great point because if we think about it like digital graffiti,
how some of the first written scripts or rooms where
things like Vugner was here, then we see we see
this pursuing the same kind of process. It only grew,

as you said that in complexity over time. And Samantha
Cole also points out that sex or that human impulse
continues to drive innovation on the Internet. And so it
might surprise I almost said some of us, but it
might surprise no one to learn that some of the
biggest most popular sites in the world today are straight

up pornography. In porn Hub, by the way, is one
of the number one things. It's I guess it's old
for the Internet now, but in the grand scheme of things,
it's very recent. It was launched on May twenty fifth,
two thousand and seven, by a web developer and foosball
legend by the way, named Matt Keezer. He created it

as a website within a larger company called inter Hub,
and there's a lot more history there. But the guys
who ultimately the guys who founded the site brassers, which
is kind of a pun. Once you get into the weeds,
they it's a it's like pronouncing brothers with an accent.
But they met via foosball, which I was not aware

of it. You don't really equalize there, miss ball.

Speaker 5 (07:07):
Is there a certain form of nominative determinism in the
name Keyser?

Speaker 3 (07:10):
It sure is close to skeezee? I don't know.

Speaker 5 (07:13):
It's neither here nor there, but yeah, I mean maybe
this individual didn't have a full, you know, vision of
where this would go. We're just trying to make a
quick buck, but it certainly evolved or devolved should we say,
into something entirely monstrous.

Speaker 4 (07:32):
One could argue, yeah, yeah, I'm tivoted to agree with
you there in old because we could ask if Keyser
was simply doing something that history would prove inevitable. Right,
YouTube came to the forefront or YouTube launched in two
thousand and five, and if you take the larger view

of history, it seems statistically certain that a sex centric
version of YouTube would follow. And that's what porn hub
is slash was. Viewers would find adult content from a
growing list of categories.

Speaker 3 (08:11):

Speaker 4 (08:11):
These categories are based on any number of things. And then,
in another like YouTube mimicry situation, you could, as a
user choose to upload and share your own videos.

Speaker 2 (08:26):
Yeah, so let's go just go back a little bit
just to consider some of the most popular websites for
pornography prior to this tubing, if you will. They were
paid for sites, many of them where you would watch
videos that were created and uploaded by someone who was
a porn producer, right, whether that's on the very high

end or the very low end, in all the various.

Speaker 3 (08:52):
Categories and everything in between.

Speaker 2 (08:54):
Yes, there were also a lot of free sites you
could go to that you would you would find a
lot of the same content but just in a free way,
or an older version of the same content that had
been around for a long time, but you could access
it for free now.

Speaker 5 (09:08):
And just to say too, like, prior to this, access
to pornographic materials was pretty much limited to magazines that
would be tucked away in a very specific siloed room
in either magazine shops or bookshops or video shops or whatever,
and there'd be cameras on it and like a whole

little secret, skeezy kind of door that you had to
go through. And stores or online retailers that would sell
DVDs from companies like I guess, Vivid maybe or different
ones Wicked. I think as was a really popular one.
But I don't know if you guys were aware of this,
but I mean those DVDs were really, really, really expensive,

like sixty seventy dollars sometimes, So this is sort of
like a great democratization of pornographic material.

Speaker 6 (09:59):
And you got alo.

Speaker 5 (10:00):
I wonder what those publishers felt about their very pricey
intellectual property getting uploaded to these tube sites for free.

Speaker 3 (10:08):
They hated it. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (10:10):
New York Magazine has a great piece on this from
twenty eleven by a journalist named Ben Wallace, and Wallace
walks through this like, you know, you would also find
VHS tapes before you would find like the DVDs, right,
And so that move from physical media to online online accessibility.

At first, it started, per Wallace, It started with the
idea that it was relatively simple to build a website,
and people would put up a web page that linked
to other adult websites, and if you clicked on it,
you would get thumbnails at first, right, and that computer
virus yeah, Thumbnails and a computer virus, yeah, and you

would be sites still had the Achilles Heel of online content,
which is that they relied on ad revenue to.

Speaker 3 (11:09):
Make a profit.

Speaker 4 (11:10):
And then it evolved, as we're saying to these very quickly,
it evolved to video content. In the summer of two
thousand and six alone, three different sites launched that would
things that would become kind of a triumvirate for a
time of streaming pornography, Porno Tube, Red Tube, and u Porn,

and they were flooded with free content. A lot to
your point, Noel, a lot of the content on there
was sometimes legally licensed for a very small amount of
money because the old school production companies like Vivid Entertainment
for instance, did not recognize how big the web would become.

And then a lot more of it was pirated from
those paid sites, those paywalt sites, and they just started saying, Okay,
we're going to make our money by keeping users on
the sites and clicking through banner ads, which is something
that continues today. I mean, please check out Samantha Cole's

book if you want to learn more. It is probably
one of the best works on this evolution of the
Internet and sex.

Speaker 5 (12:22):
And I'm just going to add, like now, I mean,
there's so many mechanisms that are kind of codified for
getting stuff taken down or filters or like bots that
scan for you know, owned intellectual property, and you know,
we'll automatically pull things down or temporarily pull things down
until the poster can prove that they have the rights
to the material. But back in these days, it was
the wild West man and especially some of these less

Internet savvy companies, they probably didn't even know the stuff
was out there. They didn't even know they were having
their lunch eaten by these new companies.

Speaker 4 (12:53):
Right Why possibly in New York magazine, just to put
this part in New York Magazine. The reason that while
this article is important is because it depicts exactly what
Noel is describing earlier, which is the previous models of
distribution of pornography. We're at av in the Adult Video

that the Adult Industry Awards. They were at AVN and
there were a lot of protests about what was happening,
and they were saying, people are stealing our work. So
they identified this early on, but a few years too late.

Speaker 2 (13:31):
I want to make some point here. I don't know
if I can do it correctly, but let's just go here.
Imagine the different specialized I was going to say kinks,
but the things that people are into right genres.

Speaker 3 (13:45):
Let's say perhaps you know, I don't know, just.

Speaker 2 (13:47):
To make a point about what we were saying at
the top, ben about how the Internet really changed the
way this stuff functions. Because if you were back in
the day interested in a specific thing, you would have
to find that specific thing and you would go on
a hunt, and it would not be easy to find
let's just say, like bondage or something like that, right,

you would have to go to a very specialized place
probably to even find that content, like physical place to
find that content.

Speaker 3 (14:15):
And then the.

Speaker 2 (14:17):
Way the Internet changed that is you they started using
like meta tags, right, and stuff for search and revolutionized search.
The stuff that you use now with Google or with
you know, Duck dugo or whatever you search for, a
lot of that was revolutionized through some of these sites
in making these very distinct categories and tagging every piece

of content and just making it a robust system rather
than just a simple search for a couple keywords that
are in you know, a title somewhere, like just putting
that stuff deep within the content.

Speaker 4 (14:53):
Yeah, And there's an argument that could be made, sometimes
perhaps by more conservative forces, that in doing that, in
surfacing the availability or surfacing the prominence of that that
these systems and we'll get into the data mining later,
that these systems have radicalized or pushed people toward things

that they may not have normally engaged in or even
knew about, especially when we're considering underage users of the Internet.
But the real trippy thing, and we're talking about this
a bit off air, is when you go to and
no judgment, folks, when you go to if you go

to free pornography sites that you would just visit on
the Internet very easily with a search engine of your choice,
you will see what appears to be a panopoly of
distinct brands and entities, but it is exactly like how
when you walk through a grocery store, you'll see all

these products advertised, like there are a million different varieties
as cereal. Right, they appear to be separate, but in reality,
the monopolization is still occurring. It occurs in every profitable industry,
just like how one or two companies will own most
of the cereal, one or two companies own most of

those seemingly autonomous pornography sites. There's one company in particular
that we're going to talk about, and that company, folks,
has been party to some very evil things.

Speaker 2 (16:34):
And all they want to do is keep you on
their sites forever.

Speaker 4 (16:39):
Evil things. We're going to pause for a word from
our sponsor. Here's where it gets crazy. Back to pornhaw
one of the most popular adult content sites out there.
As of February of this year that we're recording twenty
twenty four, is the thirteenth most visited website on the planet.

And it makes me recall our earlier conversation about the
dead Internet theory. I think was you Noel who said
most people don't go to like destination websites. Things like
porn hub are the exception. But it's only one facet
of a much much larger enterprise, and it's a it's
a twisted tale to figure out who owns porn Hub.

Speaker 5 (17:28):
It's interesting too, because at its heart, porn hub is
an aggregator, but it's gotten to the point where it's
so powerful that it's kind of aggregating all its own
stuff right under the guise of different genres and labels
and brands. But it's like, you know, the idea of
ge owning all of the TV networks or NBC at

the very least, you know, and you don't really think
about that because you're thinking, oh, I'm watching this network
and that's it's got its own distinct identity. But really,
the hand inside the puppet has always been ge hmmmmm.

Speaker 3 (18:04):

Speaker 4 (18:04):
I think that's a good comparison.

Speaker 3 (18:06):
We know that.

Speaker 4 (18:07):
We know just to get into this part with the
ownership three card Monty the Matroshka dol structure of ownership. Here,
after Matt Keezer and his foosball friends made porn Hub,
the parent company inter Hub was purchased by a German
national named Fabian Filman, who when he purchased it became

part of what's called the Manvin or Manwan conglomerate, which
was once called mind Geek. This reminds me of Blackwater,
like how Akadema Blackwater became Xi became Akademi or whatever
the order is.

Speaker 2 (18:44):
Well, it was called mind Geek till very recently.

Speaker 4 (18:48):
And now it's known as Alo Aylo. And we will
get to the Alo's still not the top of the chain.
We'll get to the real owner in this episode. The
real owner is not Fabian. He was arrested for tax
evasion at the end of twenty twelve. At that point
he was making an estimated one hundred million dollars US

per year from this empire. He paid a pretty hefty
fine and then he got a suspended sentence, but he
sold his stake in the company in twenty thirteen. And
this is also I think he was a programmer as well.
This is why it's different from some of these studios

of old because to your earlier point that you may met,
these sites have always taken a data intensive approach. That's
how they they weapon you could say they weaponize algorithms
to point to monitor everything about a user's interaction. Right,
even if you think that incognito browser can save you.

Speaker 6 (19:53):
Sorry, can we.

Speaker 5 (19:55):
Just really quickly acknowledge that the name change from mind
geek to our you joking man Win is for a
porn empire is a little comical. I mean, I don't
think that's necessarily what the word is intended, but the
pun is inescapable.

Speaker 4 (20:12):
Man Win, jeez, they own a lot of things they also.
I was surprised to find that by two thousand and nine,
the company now going by alo or Ilo, they had
an estimated one hundred million unique viewers in their three
largest sites alone. For comparison, that's slightly less than one

third of the entire population of the United States. Any
other web company would kill for that, would literally murder
for that.

Speaker 2 (20:46):
Yeah, and let's get into that data just a little
bit more here, because think about all of the social
media companies that have algorithms that try and suggest things
to you based on what you've watched in the past,
how long you've watched those things, if you interact and comment,
if you like, if you share that, all of that stuff,
all of those actions and the tracking of you as

a person, all goes back to this industry because again,
all they wanted to do is keep you on their site,
so they needed to know exactly what you like and
what you click on and the you know, all of
the terms associated with the content you're watching, and it
all goes back to this.

Speaker 4 (21:26):
Agreed And to what degree was alos like YouTube responsible
for content uploaded to these sites? That's one of the
big questions. Are they functioning as just a public stomping ground.
Do they bear any responsibility for what people are saying
in that digital space? Also, who actually owned or owns it?

Speaker 3 (21:50):
We'll get to it.

Speaker 4 (21:51):
But naturally, there were industry concerns about piracy, which we
mentioned earlier. But again, folks, here is the third disclaimor
for this episode. This is the deep water. This is
the disturbing stuff. You can turn back now, all right,
the worst stuff there was. There are worse things on

there than piracy. They are non consensual videos from hidden cameras,
you know, dressing rooms and department stores.

Speaker 2 (22:22):
Or shoots that were arranged and agreed upon to look
like in some form or fashion, but then things go differently.
There's so many storyboard yeah.

Speaker 5 (22:32):
Well, but there are also but you know, because that
is sort of a kink, there are also a lot
of videos that just mimic that make the production look
as though that's what you're seeing.

Speaker 3 (22:41):
But I'm not making apologizing for any of them.

Speaker 5 (22:43):
There are shoots that mimic that style, but it is
consensual and it is a production. But then there is
also the real deal.

Speaker 2 (22:50):
It makes it almost impossible to know the difference between
one that is the problem to be that way and
one that is actually that way.

Speaker 4 (22:56):
Yes, and then how does the casual user know the
difference And to continue down the to continue down the
litany of unclean things. There's also revenge pornography, which is
non consensual revenge pornography is when someone, in an attempt
to besmirch or humiliate or harass another person, they post

sexually compromising content of that person without their consent. There's
also documentation of sexual assault up to an including rape,
depictions of child sexual abuse material. Please don't call it
child pornography, folks, This quickly becomes an enormous issue. Journalists.
Multiple journalists found intensely disturbing proof that the company, the

Ultimate Owner Company, used various outlets, including porn Hub, to
profit from what very much was non consensual content, content
including sex trafficking. Samantha Cole, before she wrote the fantastic
book we mentioned earlier, she wrote several articles for Vice

and concluded in her investigations that Pornhub in particular profited
from quote content that has destroyed lives and continues to
do harm. Unfortunately, this was not just a single tragic example.
There are numerous examples of this, as well as numerous lawsuits.

Speaker 5 (24:32):
Right and in January of twenty twenty one, there was
a class action lawsuit that was filed in Montreal calling
for anyone who had had pornographic photos or videos of
them shared on Pornhub since two thousand and seven to
come forward and be a party to this class.

Speaker 4 (24:49):
And then there was another infamous series of cases that
involved what were called pornhub content partners, meaning there was
an outside company that may have their own website but
also widely distributed their content on these aggregators like you
were saying no, And one of the most infamous is

outfit called Girls Do Porn. It was a nasty, terrifying
story of assault, sex trafficking, horrific exploitation. They would fly
their victims out and essentially take them to the middle
of nowhere, pressure them into agreeing to have sex acts recorded,

and then they would lie to them actively about how
they would say, okay, well, this video is only going
to be distributed overseas to private collectors in places like
Australia or New Zealand. And in every single case this
was a premeditated falsehood. The producers, everyone involved except the

victim knew they were lying, and they would later take
this content that they had filmed and they would put
it up on their own website, the Girls Do Porn website,
and then they would put it on these other hubs
like porn Hub, and they would millions of people would
see this. The victims were getting docksed in the comments,

identified by their full name, their location, et cetera. They
were harassed at their jobs and their schools. Multiple women
said the harassment reached the point where they contemplated suicide.
Their lives were ruined, and when they were taken to
those rooms, that does count as trafficking, when they were
coerced into these acts.

Speaker 5 (26:41):
Well, you know, the pornography industry, if anyone you know,
followed the history of it or seen films like Boogie
Knights for example, certainly no stranger took acts of coercion,
and you know, having underage people, maybe runaways, you know,
taking advantage of people who are maybe on the skids.
But the very least it had it did evolve into

despite all of these problems and the problematic you know,
origins of the industry, there was more agency in those
days where at least, you know, you got paid. It
was a form of sex work that was legal, you know,
and and and you technically had protections, and you had
a way to earn an income.

Speaker 3 (27:19):
And you were making this choice.

Speaker 5 (27:21):
With this advent of this kind of stuff, it's like
you're adding all of the worst parts of the Internet,
the piracy, the removing that agency, and just absolutely victimizing
individuals and in a much more egregious one could argue,
way than what the you know, video porn industry was
like in the sixties and seventies.

Speaker 2 (27:40):
Yeah, and just to get into some of this coercion
and just how awful this is, I want to give
a quick example here from the New Yorker's piece the
Fight to hold porn Hub Accountable. It was written June thirteenth,
twenty twenty two. This is This is a little excerpt
from the article. It's about a woman named Rachel, who

as a child when she began to be coerced by
some unknown person that had a lot of personal information
about her and convinced her that for her own safety,
she had to start taking pictures of herself and videos
of herself doing things. She was fifteen years old when
this started happening. I'm gonna just read a bit of this, guys.

Speaker 4 (28:20):
And this is by Sheila Kolhatakar.

Speaker 2 (28:23):
Yeah, that's correct. Says Rachel stopped sleeping and spent her
days and nights searching for the videos. At this point,
she videos of her that she was taking and sending
to whoever this person was. They've showed up on pornhub,
and then they start going wide everywhere to all the
porn sites, and she cannot take them down, so she's

trying to figure it out.

Speaker 3 (28:45):
So here it is.

Speaker 2 (28:46):
She's spending her days and nights searching for these videos,
filling out dozens of removal requests, saying things like quote, Hi,
I'm underage and I had many videos and photos posted
me on here. This is in December twenty eighteen, writing
to pornhub. Keep getting re uploaded onto this site. I'm
only fifteen in them, and I don't have the links.
I don't know what to do because every time I
get them removed, you keep allowing them to be uploaded,

and it's ruining my life. Porn humb responded to her,
asked for a link to each video, the username of
the accounts that were used to suploaded it, the title
of the video, and the file, the screenshots of the page.
Rachel went through and would spend like on a nightly routine,
send all of this information every time she could find one,

trying to get them taken down. But then videos would
sometimes get taken down, but not often, but they would
be uploaded in just a modified clip, so it's not
the same content that can be tracked and deleted again, right, so.

Speaker 4 (29:42):
The scraper can't find it, Yeah, exact, which is the
same strategy used in YouTube piracy.

Speaker 3 (29:48):

Speaker 2 (29:49):
But somebody out there at this time is just doing it,
is just continually trying to get this content online and
profiting from its.

Speaker 5 (29:56):
Or it's become popular content at this point, Yeah, is
being uploaded by others who have you know what I mean? Right,
that then it's impact with the things that are being
asked of this young woman. Impossible, These are impossible to do,
and you're basically putting the burden on the victim.

Speaker 4 (30:12):
Yes, Yeah, which is very a very American strategy with business.
But this is as we'll find, this is not an
American based company. But there's also I'm glad you pointed
out that article in the New Yorker, which we'll go
back to as well, because it is a must read piece.

We see here a very dark version of what is
sometimes colloquially referred to as the streisand effect. Right, and
this this continues to go back to the Girls Do
Poorn owners. In twenty nineteen, they were found guilty of intimidating,
encoursing twenty two women into having sex on camera, and

lying to them. In December of twenty twenty, forty victims
filed a lawsuit against mind geek for a cavalcade of accusations,
including they said, you knew that your content partners were
up to these evil things, and you failed to moderate

the content circulating rampantly. Unfortunately, that child's story is not unique.
The lawsuit expanded to include fifty plaintiffs. It demanded more
than forty million in damages as well, in addition to
the money that a Loo or mind geek at the

time earned from hosting and promoting those videos. And October
of twenty twenty one, those victims reached a settlement with
the parent company, and the company reacted. They said they
no longer post content without first passing it through human
and automated moderation.

Speaker 3 (31:58):
They also said, if.

Speaker 4 (31:59):
You flag a v video, it is automatically disabled until
there's a review. And they said, since twenty twenty, we've
begun requiring users who upload content to provide a government
issued ID in order to be an uploader. However, there
are more and more examples that seem First off, that

is nice in theory, but is it actually deployed in practice.
And then secondly the removal is not as clear cut
as it should be. I mean, this takes us to
another underage case legist. Also consider the case of Rose Klemba,
who was assaulted by a group of men habitual sexual

predators when she was only fourteen years old. These men
who very much were premeditated, you know, they threatened to
murder her and she told anybody about this harrowing assault.
And then they also this is per her own description,

they took out a laptop and showed her videos that
they had taken of attacks on other victims. Fast forward,
she survives and by the way, the first law enforcement
officer she speaks with when she's been stabbed and beaten
and repeatedly assaulted, the first law enforcement officer asked her

if it started as a consensual interaction.

Speaker 3 (33:30):
Yeah, break I know.

Speaker 4 (33:32):
And a few months later she survives, thankfully. She is
browsing MySpace. She finds people from her school classmates sharing
a link and tagging her in it, and when she
clicks on it, she's directed to pornhub. You can read
read a full interview with her speaking with the British

broadcasting service where she recalls the title and it's important
to hear it her quote in her words, the titles
of the videos were things like teen crying and getting
slapped around, Team getting destroyed or passed out Team one
of the mat over four hundred thousand.

Speaker 5 (34:11):
Viewers, and I have to say, like, as a parent,
it's become it's been a little bit of a co
almost a culture shock to realize how much my kid
is aware of at fifteen, and how much you know,
kids in their cohort are aware of.

Speaker 3 (34:27):
And I mean it makes sense.

Speaker 5 (34:28):
It's maybe me having fooled myself into thinking that my
kid was still like innocent my kids, it's a good kid,
not a bully, but is bullied and there is this
kind of bullying and fourteen thirteen, fourteen, fifteen year olds
can be really really cruel and horrible and mean and
share this kind of stuff without thinking about who is
being victimized here and just treating it as a way

of like punking somebody on the internet, you know, as
opposed to realizing that this person is who is of
my same age, needs help, and instead we're using this
as an opportunity to humiliate them that is real, and
it's it's terrifying and I'm, you know, again not saying
I'm so special my kid does not someone would ever

do that, but there are definitely people in that age
group that to this day would still do something like that.

Speaker 3 (35:17):
It's horrible, guys.

Speaker 2 (35:20):
Should we talk about some of the I don't know.
There's another dark side to it here, where it's an
individual who makes the decision to try and make some
money with their body because they can, and they're pretty
desperate and they they need income, so they try to

become let's say, a lingerie model or something like that
for an extra two hundred, three hundred pounds or whatever.
If you're I'm thinking of a specific case in London
where you know, I need to make rent and I
need to help I need to make sure my kid
has food and all this stuff. So I'm gonna do this.
And the thing that can occur to read from, well,
I'm not gonna read from, but I'm going to reference

an article that's on this website called Exodus cry e
xo d us cry dot com.

Speaker 3 (36:09):
It is.

Speaker 2 (36:11):
It is an American Christian based nonprofit organization that's got
some pretty like interesting ideas about like ending porn pretty
much and in all sex trafficking, and it's actually it's
kind of cool, but it's also I don't know, it
just depends, right, depending on how you feel about some
of the stuff. It's a little out there, but they
allow for individuals to give their story. This is how

I ended up in a porn video. And there's one
you can find right now. It's called I was trafficked
into the porn industry as a desperate single mom. And
it just goes through the process that can occur where
you begin down this road and you're able to make
some extra income, right, and it's good, but the quote

producers of this stuff exploit an individual because, as as
this person says, there's always another person who's willing to
do it. If you aren't willing to do it, so
you won't get paid and you won't make rent this
month or whatever if you don't do this increasingly more

intense or maybe horrific thing on camera for us, like.

Speaker 4 (37:19):
The Order of Nine angles the kind of coercion exactly.

Speaker 2 (37:24):
And she describes a moment where she goes to set,
she doesn't know what the scene is going to be,
and then she is told what the scene is going
to be. She has given drugs and alcohol so that
she can quote get through it, and it ends up
being twenty five individual males that she has to have
sex with on camera and she passes out.

Speaker 3 (37:46):
It's horrible.

Speaker 2 (37:46):
It's a horrific experience, and she attempts to get out
of it, but it's it's very difficult once you're inside
this thing because these people, these individuals, these again producers
and the people who work with know who you are
and know where you live. And it can be extremely
scary and horrific even if you're doing it, even if

you are choosing to do it.

Speaker 4 (38:11):
Right, because you don't have informed consent, if you don't
know what you're agreeing to. And that's where these that's
one of the realms of which these predatory forces operate.

Speaker 5 (38:22):
They're always moving the goalposts too right. You might agree
to one thing, but then there's this adherent escalation that
isn't under your control, and then you're manipulated by these
individuals and yeah, dare we say threatens.

Speaker 4 (38:35):
The monsters always seek to erode agency. The rampant depictions
of abuse continue. The Internet Watch Foundation, a great nonprofit,
found one hundred and eighteen instances of child sexual abuse
on just Born Up just one site of many owned

by a single company, and that was only between twenty
seventeen and twenty nineteen. Again, this started ten years before
twenty seventeen. It continues today. And then there were reactions
as this increasingly entered the public sphere. MasterCard and visa
to big financial credit card companies, they suspended use of

their cards on the site porn Hub in December twenty twenty.
In I'd like to go back to that June twenty
twenty two New Yorker article which really brought this to
brought this to the mind of the public. More so,
they had an investigation into the ongoing of use. They

interviewed several women, one of whom we mentioned, who discovered
videos and pictures of themselves on porn Hub. They did
not ever consent to sharing this material in several situations,
they did not consent to being filmed. They did not
even consent to the acts that occurred. These were crimes,
These were criminal acts, and they would now in the

midst of surviving these horrific things, they would have to
ask this website that was making money off the crimes
to remove the material. In just a few days after
that publication in The New Yorker, the CEO and COO
of Mind Geek resigned from their positions. I don't think

we mentioned these guys earlier, Ferris Antoon, the CEO, and
David Tassilo, the COOO, that's chief executive and chief operations officer.
They also claimed the resignations were not due to this
report in The New Yorker, and as far as we
can tell, they remain shareholders today, so they are getting

passive income off of these acts.

Speaker 3 (40:51):
Of course they are.

Speaker 5 (40:52):
Yeah, And as we record this episode right now, and
most likely as you are listening along at home across
the globe, this type of abuse is ongoing. It continues,
and depictions of it are going to find their way
into various other parts of the Internet. We know how
difficult it is for legislation to stay in step with

exponentially changing digital landscapes and technology. So you know, while
there may be the best intentions of lawmakers to keep
this stuff under wraps, just as soon as the law
has passed, a loophole is found.

Speaker 4 (41:31):
It's like a sick game of whack a mole, Whack
moist against a hydra of old myth. You stop one monster,
and then it seems two more spring up in its place.
Because stronger the Internet wants stuff on it, right, it
wants people to stay on it. It wants to create things.
It's very easy to create a website. It's very easy

to create or upload or distribute content. It is much
much more difficult to remove that, to scrub that. And
this is something that is being leveraged by predators around
the world. I mean, we're talking a little bit US centric.

Speaker 3 (42:10):
But to.

Speaker 4 (42:12):
Answer the question we asked a couple times at the
beginning here, we have to travel outside of the US
to learn the true owners of Pornhub, which became mind geek,
which became a low which is owned by someone else. Today,
I suggest we pause for a word from our sponsors. Okay,

this is an evil version of that old Saturday Night
Live cartoon about how few media companies actually control the media.
You see Pornhub and its parent company, which owns so
so many things. We can even give you a full list.
Idiots do that quick.

Speaker 2 (43:00):
Just a gives appeal. Their premium pay sites include Brassers,
Reality Kings, Digital Playground, twistismofosmen dot com reality dudes in
seancody dot com. Their video sharing platforms include Pornhub, U,
porn Red Tube, and Tube eight. They have marketplaces called

my Dirty Hobby and uv O uv Io. They also
have gaming and application companies guys called Nataku and Uta
k U. They also own two advertising networks that then
work through all of those sites to sell those ads. Right,
there's Traffic Junkie and Adult Force, and that's just getting started.

Speaker 4 (43:44):
Yeah, and Pornhub, which is again just one of the
things owned by a low all of a low. The entire,
the entire umbrella of these corporate possessions is now owned
by another company that most people haven't heard of. I
think it's fair to say we had not heard of
this until we began researching, researching these crimes. That company's

name is Ethical Capital Partners. They acquired a LOO for
an undisclosed sum in March of twenty twenty three. And
what do we say about innocuous names?

Speaker 3 (44:18):
Oh boy again.

Speaker 4 (44:22):
And initially ECP, which we'll call them for the sake
of convenience, they refused to disclose their owners, their stakeholders.
You can find the board, but they initially refused to
say anything about this due to the stigma of their purchase,
which happened after many of the lawsuits that we just described.

Now you can go to their website. You can easily
find a list of the management team online. But the
management team is not necessarily the same thing as the profiteers. Right,
they are getting paid to be there, but they're not
what we will call the majority stakeholders to find to

find the big fish in that when we have to
travel to Austria. Oh, it's confusing because Ethical Capital Partners
is and it's various subsidiaries. They're based in Luxembourg, but
the owner doesn't live in Luxembourg. Let's learn a little
bit more about this guy.

Speaker 2 (45:25):
Yeah, let's just I just want to give a couple
piece of info here, ECP that Ethical Capital Partners announced
that they, as you said, Ben, they announced that they
acquired mind Geek back in March of twenty twenty three.
So it is like, right after all of the heat
had just happened, right, So then this company called Ethical

Capital Partners runs through to be like, hey, we got
this guys, We're going to make sure everything's good from
now on, you know, And it sounds that way, right,
it's the story that's being told here.

Speaker 5 (45:56):
Certainly in the statement they release, Yeah, a question disclosed
amount that it was acquired for, right, Like, I would
imagine that means it was a massive amount.

Speaker 6 (46:05):
But isn't there shouldn't there be a way to find
things like that.

Speaker 5 (46:08):
The filings, Like can you can you do an acquisition
like this and have.

Speaker 6 (46:11):
It be a complete and utter mystery to the public.

Speaker 3 (46:15):
How much money?

Speaker 2 (46:16):
It's a private company?

Speaker 3 (46:17):

Speaker 4 (46:18):
Yeah, yeah, it's a private company. It also at this
point going across conventional geopolitical borders, so you can use
whichever set of laws is most convenient to you. A
microcosm of that is is why so many companies in
the US are based in Delaware unreasonably or maybe in

the Caribbean or other I guess you can also see
tax advantages being another thing weaponized. But the the issue too,
is not just the international borders, right because the Internet
has rendered some of those borders relevant in legal terms

or actionable legal terms. The issue is also the many, many,
many shell companies and proxies between the actual owner and
the purported owners, or the management or the infantry on
the ground, or the boardroom. The way it works, which

I don't know if we have time to fully get
into it, but the way these things work in general
is you, as a business tycoon, you don't directly purchase
the thing you want to purchase. What you have instead
are ideally is at least one, but ideally many more
than one different companies, and you have a controlling stake

in those companies. You're a majority stakeholder in that, whether
that's fifty one percent or just like you are the
single largest percentage shareholder. Then you have those companies get together,
maybe even form another company or another group of shells,
and you have them purchased the thing you want. And
so in a way, you are paying a little bit

of a vigoroush to all those other stakeholders for that activity, right,
and they're getting kickbacks, And then you are able to
hide your hand. Now you are unseen, but the Czechs
still arrive, the profit still still arrives. And if you
are not dare I say, an ethical capital partner, then

you have nothing to worry about until the law comes knocking.
Does that seem like a reasonable explanation.

Speaker 2 (48:38):
Well what if you think yes? But what if you
founded ethical Capital Partners and your name is Roco Milliambro.
This is not somebody we were going to talk about,
but this is one of the primary people at ECP,
the company that acquired Ilo Slash mind Geek. And this
dude is one of Canada's biggest cannabis rea tailors. He

has an empire that was just acquired by another or
I guess merged with another of the largest cannabis retailers.
And it's very interesting if you look at this guy's investments,
which include mining, like gold mining somebody like that, that
just has all of these companies that go out and
do these massive things. The way you were describing it, Ben.

Speaker 5 (49:21):
That's just called diversification though, right, And I mean from
the perspective of a business business person. And isn't it
interesting how those like even things like cannabis which are
now legal and then these types of you know, I guess,
sex selling, sex whatever in whatever form we're talking about
on paper being legal that once was sort of the

realm of someone like a pimp or a drug lord
or you know, someone in the Old West who maybe
had a tavern that also ran gambling and games and prostitution.
You know, this is now something that is the realm
of the legitimate businessman.

Speaker 4 (50:00):
And these folks again are to my horm I like
the description of infantry on the ground in the boardroom.
That's not necessarily the general, that's not necessarily the officer level,
even though they're corporate officers. Let's travel over to Austria

and meet the guy who was working so ardently for
his identity to be obscured.

Speaker 2 (50:26):
Oh, this is a weird one. There's a whole video
you can find that Vice News produced in twenty twenty
one titled who is the Secret Owner of porn Hub.
It's a weird video because the people who made it
kind of track this person down. This this person named well,
I guess should we give the name yeah Burned b

e r n d Berg mayor b e r G
m ai R. This is one of the majority owners.
This is a person who ran in mind geek for
a long time. This is a very fascinating character who's
extremely elusive, and this Vice News video finds him in London,

of all places, by tracking down his girlfriend and her
Instagram page and then her like I think she had
a blog or something, and that's how they found him.
But this guy just kind of stays out of the limelight.
The creators of that video from Vice News don't get
any new information or anything. They just kind of track
him down, which is honestly a bit weird.

Speaker 3 (51:34):

Speaker 5 (51:35):
I can't help I mentioned the thing earlier about how like,
you know, what once was in the realm of like vice,
you know, lords or whatever, you know, gambling and drugs
and sex work and all of that has now kind
of become in the realm of like legitimate business. I
can't help but see parallels with what you're describing, Matt,
and this corporate structure of shell companies and all leading

down to this one man to the whole arrangement and
the TV show Breaking Bad Madrigal, and like the giant
web of German run corporations that are diverse at everything
from fast food to you know, whatever else it might be.
And also hiding in there in between the lines is
a meth you know, empire. And I'm not saying what

porn ib is doing is that, but they are breaking
the law. And it all is kind of whether at
the behest, but at the very least under a structure
governed by quote unquote legitimate business people.

Speaker 2 (52:30):
Yeah, people you know, you're right, people who have in
intense investment across the board.

Speaker 4 (52:38):
I don't.

Speaker 3 (52:38):

Speaker 2 (52:38):
It's very weird. And again, if you look at Ethical
Capital Partners website, they specifically say we focus on investment
with companies and in sectors that require extreme ethical guidance
right and making making well, I mean making decisions like
if you think about the stuff that that guy I

was talking about earlier invests in cannabis, you need some
ethics there when it comes to how it's produced, how
it's distributed, who it gets distributed to, in the laws
that you have to navigate with that stuff. Mining, the
mining industry and gold mining, especially depending on the country
that you're operating, right, those mining operations, there's all kinds
of issues, especially if you look at mining that's occurring

on the African continent and what was the other one.
There's another one in there, Oh yeah, porn, porn. Yeah.

Speaker 5 (53:31):
But I'm just saying, I mean, isn't that sort of laughable,
Like they're saying, we are the arbiters of making sure
that these businesses are run at the utmost ethical levels
because there's potential for abuse.

Speaker 6 (53:44):
Is that sort of what I'm seeing here?

Speaker 4 (53:46):
Ministry of Truth, Department of Defense, be careful with innocuous names,
and perhaps transparency and accountability will keep past, present, and
future victims safe from this dirty, dirty industry. But as
anybody on the Internet can tell you, it is incredibly
easy to find adult content online. They're very let's be honest,

they're virtually no users online under the age of eighteen
who se a click yes or click now I'm ating
contact no one. That's that's not a turnback here moment
for a lot of people.

Speaker 5 (54:25):
Porn hubb is it a legal defense though, Ben, I
always wonder that it's a cat like you said, oh,
they clicked that they were eighteen. Therefore we are absolved,
you know, of any underage you quota users on our pages.

Speaker 3 (54:39):
It just seems laughable to me, is it just is like, yeah,
it is laughable.

Speaker 4 (54:43):
I mean, and you know, as a result of all
these factors we're describing, porn Hub in particular, remains one
of the world's most popular websites again, number thirteen across
the globe, over eight billion people almost put it in
the top ten.

Speaker 2 (55:01):
One hundred million, one hundred and fifty million active users daily.

Speaker 4 (55:07):
And those are unique users as well. If you've been
the target of non consensual pornography or content like this,
you are far from alone. As many as one in
twenty five people in the United States, just the US,
have had a private image or video of themselves shared
without their consent. It is statistically certain that some of

us listening along tonight have an unfortunate firsthand experience with this,
and we do want to hear from you. There is
a bit of good news, at least in the case
of porn Hub.

Speaker 1 (55:41):
They have.

Speaker 4 (55:44):
They have a templatized content removal form through which you
can get specific videos removed from the site. But again
those are specific videos, and that is a legislative reaction,
not a proactive move. So those videos again, like these
unfortunate innocent children, those videos keep cropping up, and you know,

I think about.

Speaker 2 (56:09):
Rachel's problem that have that we just talked about.

Speaker 4 (56:11):
Think about Roses problem. You know, those are very similar cases.

Speaker 2 (56:15):
Well, yeah, but a fifteen year old, a fifteen year
old who's now fourteen year old, Yeah, who has content
on there that uploads and pornub gets it removed or that, right,
But they are not stopping the human being that has
that content, that uploaded it. In the first place that
person can then turn around and upload it to any
other site, any other site, because porn ub started a

trend of all of these other outlets.

Speaker 5 (56:41):
We haven't really talked about this at all, and maybe
this is you know, beside the point, but I will
say I think there is something positive about user owned
and operated distribution methods, like something more resembling an only
fan situation, where individuals are putting up content at their

own behests. They're the ones getting paid directly. They have
users subscribing directly to them. It's also a lot harder
for that stuff to get ripped and uploaded without these
individuals consent. A lot of them have you know, watermarks
or whatever it might be in their easier methods for
getting that stuff pulled down.

Speaker 3 (57:19):
And oh, well, that's exactly right.

Speaker 5 (57:22):
I'm not saying any of the stuff is perfect, but
I'm just saying, there are you know, alternatives to this
hive of scum and villainy model. And I think, you know, Ben,
you can put it right here in the outline, and
it's absolutely true. We are all very sex positive individuals.
It wouldn't begrudge anybody, uh you know, agency of their
own body and choosing to do this kind of stuff
if it is in fact at their own behests and

and uh and and using it as a means of
having comfort and and income.

Speaker 3 (57:49):
Yeah, we're not. We're not.

Speaker 4 (57:51):
We're not the arbiters uh of your personal preferences, so
long as everyone involved is legally consenting, so long as
no one is being harmed. But we have to understand,
as long as there is this enormous, this gargantua and
gigantic profit motive at play, these things will happen. Unclean
things will occur. We also have to understand that humanity

as a whole does not yet fully comprehend nor control
what can happen online.

Speaker 3 (58:21):
And you know, if.

Speaker 4 (58:22):
You're a casual observer, these may be nothing more than ephemeral,
momentary pixels that you view on a screen.

Speaker 3 (58:30):
But those pixels, those.

Speaker 4 (58:32):
The acts have real world consequences and time and time again,
that seems to be something these companies and their owners
do not want you to know. We talked a little
bit off air. This may be this may be the
first part of a series. Because I'm sure the three
of us can agree there's a lot we did not

get to.

Speaker 2 (58:53):
We didn't talk about how it's changed the way we think,
the way porn makes us think about sexual encounters and
intimacy and like what that looks like. I mean, really,
just as humans, as humanity, this stuff has altered us fundamentally.
And I'm I'm not coming out against porn or something

because whatever, it's just that's a whole other topic.

Speaker 5 (59:19):
But it's also been evolving since the advent of the internet,
like to the early points at the beginning of the episode,
like technology, as long as there's been technology, someone's figured
out how to do something horny with it, like you know,
from the earliest cave paintings and drawing people were drawing
people in sexual you know, situations, and speaking about the
algorithm and the way it has created this kind of

I don't know, mind rot, I guess as the kids
call it, around content creation and around pornography and intimacy
and just the way we see the world. I just
this is a great OPPORTAI just want to really quickly
read a quote from Brian Eno, who's a thinker, technologist,
music guy. He says, algorithms are not transparent. They're not
like screwdrivers or something like that. They have a personality.

They have a direction, and coded into them is a worldview.
And if the worldview encoded of them as a sort
of libertarian, capitalist, individualistic worldview, that's where we will end up.
And not being dramatic and the saying that we've seen
it happen with social media. Social media could have run
with different algorithms. It could have been a different world
and I think that applies to pornography as well.

Speaker 4 (01:00:23):
Let us know your experiences, folks, Thank you so much
for tuning in. Be safe and talk to us directly.
We try to be easy to find online.

Speaker 3 (01:00:31):
That's right.

Speaker 5 (01:00:32):
We exist at the handle conspiracy stuff on YouTube. We
have video content rolling out every single week very pg
and also on Facebook and also on x fka, Twitter,
on Instagram and TikTok. We are conspiracy stuff show bo.

Speaker 6 (01:00:49):
Wait there's more.

Speaker 2 (01:00:50):
Call one eight three three STDWYTK. When you call in,
give yourself a cool nickname and let us know if
we can use your name and message on the air.
If you got more to say they could fit in
that three minute voicemail, why not instead send us a
good old fashioned email.

Speaker 4 (01:01:02):
We are the folks who read every single email. We
get no character limit, no limit on, no limit on
the links you want to send us. Speak your mind,
speak it true. The same rules from the voicemail apply
as well. We keep your safety and anonymity paramount.

Speaker 3 (01:01:19):

Speaker 4 (01:01:19):
We are conspiracy at iHeartRadio dot com.

Speaker 2 (01:01:41):
Stuff they don't want you to know. Is a production
of iHeartRadio. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

Stuff They Don't Want You To Know News

Advertise With Us

Follow Us On

Hosts And Creators

Matt Frederick

Matt Frederick

Ben Bowlin

Ben Bowlin

Noel Brown

Noel Brown

Show Links

RSSStoreAboutLive Shows

Popular Podcasts

Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

Every week comedian and infamous roaster Nikki Glaser provides a fun, fast-paced, and brutally honest look into current pop-culture and her own personal life.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.