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Human Interest

The mystery owner of Pornhub & the dark underbelly of MindGeek’s porn sites

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“Pornhub is not a porn site, it’s a crime scene. Pornhub exists to monetize hardcore sex acts,” Laila Mickelwait, Founder and CEO of the Justice Defense Fund and the Founder of the global Traffickinghub movement.

MindGeek Pornhub and ‘The Problem’

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MindGeek is a private pornography conglomerate based in Canada that operates over 100 websites, including Pornhub, RedTube, Tube8, YouPorn, and various other porn production companies and different brands.

Pornhub touts itself as “one of the most prolific adult websites, averaging over 100 billion video views a year.” As the 10th most visited website in the world, it has been accused of allowing abusive content to be uploaded to the site by dozens of women in recent years. But the multi-millionaire owner, Bernd Bergmair, has evaded scrutiny by hiding in the shadows. 

Though the vast majority of Pornhub content is likely to involve consenting adults, many reports have found, many of the videos do not. Because they can be downloaded, the spread of exploitative and illegal material is amplified, it noted. 

Pornhub drew 42 billion visits in 2019, an average of 115 million a day, the company has said. Users uploaded nearly 7 million videos. According to ‘Vice News’, “Every single day, the equivalent of half of Netflix’s entire library is uploaded to the site.” 

Why is it possible? Because all it takes to upload a video on Pornhub is a verified Email ID. 

Chasing of the owner

Pornhub has been accused of allowing abusive content to be uploaded to the site and has been under many controversies. Yet its multi-millionaire owner, Bernd Bergmair, has managed to evade scrutiny by hiding in the shadows.

Alexi Mostrous, investigations editor at Tortoise Media, teamed up with reporter Xavier Greenwood to track down the elusive owner of MindGeek, which operates Pornhub. 

Starting with Facebook, the hunt initially did not seem to make any progress. Until one particular page had several photos of Bergmair with the same account by the name of Bernd Bergmair tagged in all the photos. The tagged account was very private, but shared one thing, a location. It said, “Lives in New York, New York” In the photos, there often was a woman standing next to Bernd – Priscila. 

Assuming she was Bernd’s girlfriend, the investigators looked up and stumbled upon her Instagram which eventually led to her girlfriend’s blog. While on one hand, Bernd was the ‘unknown tycoon’ behind the MindGeek conglomerate, Priscila was a Brazilian Model. 

Priscilla’s blog, then led to the exact location of one of the richest streets in London. This was the place where it was almost possible to locate Bernd. The investigators’ team headed to the location and waited for him to show up. 

What they estimated to be about a couple of weeks before they could see him, turned out to be just a few hours. The investigators rushed to him to talk. Here is the entire, less than a minute long conversation: 

Alexi Mostrous (investigations editor at Tortoise Media):

Mr, Bergmair? Hi, I’m very sorry to disturb you at your house. I just wondered if I could ask you a few questions about MindGeek. Do you mind? A lot of victims on Pornhub are very anxious to hear what you think about how pornhub allowed a lot of horrible videos to be on their site. So do you have anything to say? 

Bernd Bergmair: …….. 

Alexi Mostrous: Please don’t walk away, please answer my question. Do you have anything to say to the women, to the victims? 

Bernd Bergmair: ………….

Alexi Mostrous: No? Okay.

Though Bernd remained silent, a lot of controversies are even now revolving around Pornhub and how many lives it has ruined because of non-consensual sexual content staying on the site for months before being taken down upon requests from victims. 

Before the issue had come to light, there was a time when Google showed “No results found” upon searching the name, ‘Bernd Bergmair’. It is shocking and concerning that the man behind such a vast conglomerate was never seen or even heard of. 

Now, a page on ‘WIKITIA’ exists under the name of Bernd Bergmair with a few droplets of information. Bernd Bergmair WIKITIA page.

Frontier India News Network’s Desk has been studying this matter extensively. From the story of a 13y/o victim to those who suffered at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein to Debit/Credit card companies breaking ties with adult websites to over three dozen women suing MindGeek to discovering legal gaps in the policy of Pornhub around exploitative videos.

Stay tuned as our correspondents reveal the nuances of this life-altering modern phenomenon in subsequent developments.

Written By

Saad Ansari

Saad Ansari is a Mass Media and Journalism student with a deep interest in analysing domestic and global newsworthy incidents. Inquisitive extroverted and a writer at heart, he loves understanding things and then forming a perspective to intrigue over. Currently, he is pursuing BA in Multimedia and Mass Communication at Bunts Sangha's SM Shetty College, Powai. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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