Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Pornhub is the man flashing children at the park

Kara Lee

I am upset I cannot make a profit turning a blind eye to kids watching porn is the sentiment behind Aylo Vice President of Brand and Community Alex Kekesi’s statement in response to HB 1181. In a recent decision, Texas required adult content websites to implement age-verification measures on their page through government-issued IDs, which would affect the pornography giant and Aylo subsidiary, Pornhub. 

In her statement, Kekesi says, “Not only will it not actually protect children, it will inevitably reduce content creators’ ability to post and distribute legal adult content and directly impact their ability to share the artistic messages they want to convey with it.” 

In an open letter on its website, Pornhub notes that it believes “the only effective solution for protecting minors and adults alike is to verify users’ age on their device and to either deny or allow access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that verification.”

Following the triumphant persistence of the attorney general, Pornhub has decided to cut off access to all Texas residents. 

The motivation behind Pornhub’s pettiness is telling of the morally bankrupt ethics of its industry. Anyone with a personal device understands that basing eligibility on age verification on a device is the least effective measure possible. For Gen Z and younger generations, part of being internet natives includes learning to bypass birthday and age checks as soon as one knows how to read the request on screen. It is challenging to believe Pornhub is unaware of this. 

The wisdom of HB 1181 is that it protects children from becoming repeat customers and restores the potential for healthy development. A 2023 report states that 90% of children aged eight to 16 have viewed porn, with the highest consumers of the material being 12 to 17-year-old boys. In self-reports, 11% of men and 3% of women agree to have some degree of an “addiction to pornography,” suggesting the number to be higher. 

Pornography has been regularly proven through research and surveys to wreak havoc on relationships, promote violence and abuse, increase mental health issues like loneliness and low self-esteem, ruin physical performance and fuel financial coercion and sex trafficking.

When the bill was initially proposed, it also would have required the websites to display the following health warning: “TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES WARNING: Pornography increases the demand for prostitution, child exploitation, and child pornography.” 

In 2020, an expository article from the New York Times revealed a missing 15-year-old girl was found through 58 videos of her surfacing on Pornhub. Videos of an unconscious 14-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted were reported to police by a classmate who recognized her on the platform. The posters were arrested and Pornhub kept the profits. Pornhub then scrambled to remove almost 10 million videos, or about two-thirds of the total content, that it could not verify the age of the actors within. 

The most searched video game in 2023 on Pornhub was Fortnite. Some of the top categories last year included Japanese, Pinay, Latina and Ebony, stoking the fire of racist and sexist stereotypes of women of color as sexual objects. The top category, Lesbian, continues to perpetuate homophobia by reducing lesbians to a sexual niche. The first categories when opening the website feature “barely legal” or “step-siblings,” often code for actual incest. 

There is more than reasonable concern in shielding children from this content that is disturbing even to adults. Yet, Kekesi seems to believe there is a valid artistic message in a woman of questionable age having kinky sex.

Pornhub’s departure from Texas is a great riddance. With this law, Texas can pride itself on actually protecting children — and now many adults — from the depravity of pornography.

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About the Contributors
Faith Kouadio
Faith Kouadio, Staff Writer

Faith (she/her) is a public health major with a minor in information systems. Despite choosing to pursue studies in these specific fields, she enjoys writing and communications and hopes to incorporate them as a key part of her career. She believes in an increasingly information-heavy world, everyone has a duty to responsibly disseminate information – contributing to the Paisano is her small way of accomplishing this.

If you ask Faith what movie she saw last night, she will have a new answer every time. Other than watching movies, she enjoys listening to and collecting music and traveling. Having grown up in the Toronto region, Texas is one stop from the many places she has called home. After her anticipated graduation in Spring 2024, she’s excited to see where life takes her next.

Kara Lee
Kara Lee, Graphic Editor
Kara is a communication major on track to graduate in 2025. After graduating they hope to work for non-profits that specialize in environmental concerns so they can give back to the planet that provides so much for us. When Kara is not in school or working they can be found either drawing or hiking.

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