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Content on Popular Porn Sites Continuously Normalize and Promote Racism and Racist Stereotypes

Pornhub claims to offer support for anti-racism causes. But do they really?

By February 26, 2024No Comments

Trigger warning:

Note that since the initial writing of this article in June 2020, Pornhub has removed over 10 million videos from the site. It is possible some of the titles and content discussed in the following article are no longer available on Pornhub. Regardless, racist pornographic content continues to proliferate the internet and promote racism and damaging racist stereotypes wherever it exists.

In 2020, at the height of the #BlackLivesMatter protests, Pornhub stepped in to offer solidarity and support for the anti-racism cause. But what they got from us in response was probably not what they expected.

Check it out:


In the past, the charity arm of the massive porn site has very predictably (and in many cases ironically) latched onto trendy humanitarian causes, including saving the whales, saving the pandas, cleaning up beaches, and ending domestic violence.

Related: How the Porn Industry Capitalizes Off of Racism and Racist Stereotypes

But like so many of the other causes they say they support, including fighting racism, the content on their site shows how they care more about public perception than about following through with making sure the content on their site is in alignment with the causes they say they support. Allow us to explain.

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The racist content reportedly on Pornhub

Firstly, it’s important to note that Pornhub is like YouTube in that content creators from all over the world can upload and monetize their content—even if it’s allegedly violent, features children, or promotes racist stereotypes.

The site has received a lot of backlash due to its hosting videos of victims of sex trafficking, child sex abuse victims, and victims of image-based abuse. Many survivors of these abuses have stepped forward and reportedly asserted that they easily found video evidence of their exploitation and assaults on Pornhub’s site.

In response, Pornhub representatives defended their reviewing process, stating that they have an extensive process for fingerprinting nonconsensually uploaded videos, and they take care to make sure illicit content does not show up on the site. (Click here to read more about our investigation of their processes and our review of if Pornhub’s efforts are truly effective in preventing the spread of nonconsensual content.)

Despite “efforts” to suppress nonconsensual porn, there’s reportedly more problematic content unrelated to child abuse, trafficking, or nonconsensual material.

After weeks of protest and unrest across the world in the wake of George Floyd’s death, one thing in their terms of service was glaring to us. Pornhub claimed (as of June 2020) to not allow content that is “racial” on their site. See for yourself in the 6th section:

pornhub terms of use

Pornhub’s Terms of Use, 2020

But is that true? There’s no “racial” content on the site that could contain racist stereotypes that are “hateful” or even “abusive”?

There have even been reports circulating on Twitter that Pornhub’s suggested search terms also allegedly included “exploited black teens” at one point.

But maybe those videos were uploaded to Pornhub without the site knowing before they claimed they “stand against racism and social injustice”? Maybe they can’t control the auto-populated search terms that appear on the top of their site?

No, here’s more information from Pornhub about how their reviewing system reportedly works.

Pornhub itself has stated in an FAQ blog that “every video and photo uploaded…is reviewed manually by a large and extensive team of moderators.”

That would mean Pornhub is knowingly and actively promoting content that shows racism, not to mention—as we discussed earlier—child sexual abuse material, revenge porn, and videos of trafficked individuals.

In a Pornhub FAQ article, there’s a defense of racist and sexist content on the platform, explaining its existence.

“Unfortunately, there’s a ton of racism and misogyny in the sex industry (and in society as a whole), and because Pornhub is a community-built platform, it comes through sometimes, no matter how hard we try to be fair and respectful.”

However, using “sometimes” would imply that racist content is rare and challenging to find, and they remove it upon awareness. But is that true?

Related: This is How the Porn Industry Profits from Blatantly Racist Portrayals of Black People

A quick review of the porn site’s own 2019 annual report tells us that the search term “ebony” ranked in the top 10 search terms, and “interracial” porn was 76% more popular in the United States last year than everywhere else in the world. In some regions, searches for “big ass ebony” increased by 186% in 2019, and there was also a 149% increase in searches for “thick latina.”

You might ask, what’s the big deal with these search terms on Pornhub? Based on expert reviews of pornography featuring Black men and women where specific parts of their anatomy are mentioned, or specific races of people of color are highlighted in the category or description, in many instances, this content shows extremely offensive stereotypes of the performer’s race or ethnicity and contains deeply racist themes.

In cases of “interracial” pornography, multicultural/multiracial couplings are seen as a taboo fetish rather than something that’s normal and acceptable.

Again, Pornhub admitted even in their recent 2021 report that this content is extremely popular on their site. Look below for the most-searched-for terms of 2021. Note that the porn site giant did not release a 2020 annual report after a New York Times article drew attention to the site’s history of reportedly unethical, illegal, and exploitative business practices. Also, note that “ebony” was in third place for the most-viewed category in 2021.

But is Pornhub alone in perpetuating racism and racist stereotypes? What about on other mainstream porn sites?

Here is a simple sample of titles that were reportedly available on other popular porn sites in January 2021:

  • “White Male Plantation Owner Forces Black Slave And Sex”
  • “A Lil Squirt for My Side N—r.”
  • “Black Thug Burglar F—s MILF Police Women for Freedom”
  • “Black Slave to Mate an African Girl in Chains”
  • “Juicy Butt Black Teen […] Gets F—ed by Aggressive BBC Thug”
Black and white porn performers are treated very differently

A 2020 “Daily Beast” article by Aurora Snow exposed the realities of racism and racist casting in the general mainstream porn industry.

The article explains how black performers are treated differently on-screen and on sets when the camera isn’t rolling.

In porn, black women are generally paid less than white women solely because of their racial identity. And the roles black women are cast in are often completely racially stereotyped.

Related: How Mainstream Porn Normalizes Violence Against Black Women

From the article, performer Daisy Ducatti said, “There are people that genuinely don’t give a f— because there is profit in racism, racist people are willing to pay… It’s not even a hush-hush thing. I’ve had directors straight-up tell me that they can’t pay me as much as the white performer that I’m performing with.”

According to former performer Vanessa Belmond, as a biracial performer, she also experienced the racist activity of the porn industry personally. Not only her but also her boyfriend, who is a person of color as well:

“My boyfriend grew to hate doing porn because he was constantly told to act more like a ‘thug stereotype.’ He got passed up many times because he was not dark enough and because he was uncomfortable being rough with women and calling them racist names. He wasn’t good at playing into the ‘scary black man’ persona, so directors went for the guys that could.”

Doesn’t it appear that society gives the porn industry a free pass when it perpetuates racism?

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The porn industry’s role in perpetuating racism

The porn industry, with discriminatory practices, gets a pass to promote harmful content in the name of sexual entertainment. But where else in society is this considered acceptable?

Think about it: if the average film or TV show had the same kind of discriminatory content that you see on mainstream porn sites (even skipping the hardcore content), you can bet those studios would be shut down and condemned for promoting offensive and unwarranted stereotypes, or even glorifying racism.

Related: Analyzing Pornhub’s 2023 Report: Understanding the Real Impact

If this happened on the set of a Netflix show, you’d probably hear about it, right? Yet you don’t often hear about it concerning porn.

According to a report by Gail Dines and Robert Jensen, “The racism of the industry is so pervasive that it goes largely unnoticed.” (FTND note: this report focuses on political issues on which FTND has no position as a non-legislative organization.)

“In an interview with the producer of the DVD ‘Black Bros and Asian Ho’s,’ one of us asked if he ever was criticized for the racism of such films. He said, ‘No, they are very popular.’ We repeated the question: Popular, yes, but do people ever criticize the racism? He looked incredulous; the question apparently had never entered his mind.”

Up-market porn producers such as Vivid “use mainly white women” for their content, according to the Dines and Jensen report. The report also details how “…the official face of pornography is overwhelmingly white. However, alongside this genre, there exists more aggressive material in which women of color appear more frequently.”

As one black woman in the industry told Dines and Jensen, “This is a racist business,” from how she is treated by producers to pay differentials to the day-to-day conversations she overhears on the set.

“People of color in this industry have few opportunities that are not tied to their race,” said one male performer about his experience as a person of color in an interview with Mic.

Related: Porn Gets a Free Pass to Profit from These 5 Unacceptable Categories

This is content that’s easily accessible. On any mainstream porn site, even aside from Pornhub, it wouldn’t take long to stumble upon any number of racist titles that promote offensive and unwarranted ethnic and racial stereotypes. In a report titled Racism in Pornography (trigger warning: link leads to explicit descriptions of porn), Alice Mayall and Diana E. H. Russell provide examples of blatantly racist titles, including “Animal Sex Among Black Women,” “Geisha’s Girls,” “Gang Banged by Blacks,” and the list goes on.

Porn normalizes many things that other scenarios or industries wouldn’t tolerate, particularly in today’s society.

BHW - The Heart

A shocking reversal of industry-standard by some

But while Pornhub only announced they stand in solidarity against racism, other porn companies are taking steps to make their content a little less racist (though porn would still be problematic, even without the racist content).

In a surprising report last week, “Adult Video News” (AVN)—a major mouthpiece and sponsor of the porn industry, they basically host the “Oscars” but for porn—announced policy changes after they reposted a very insensitive and offensive story about George Floyd on Twitter.

AVN CEO Tony Rios announced the removal of “interracial” and “ethnic” categories from their awards show, signaling a change. Likewise, the terms “IR” and “interracial” would be eliminated from their news coverage, effective immediately, according to reports.

Related: 5 Things Porn Labels as “Fetishes” That Are Actually Normal

Here’s part of his statement:

“Those are the simple solutions, but we can and must do better, both as a publication and as an industry… We call for an end to disparate scene rates, racist marketing practices, and films that rely on stereotypes and ignorance. For too long, we’ve heard the same excuses for these: it’s what the market demands. But we choose whether or not to serve that market. As an industry, we can no longer deny that these films amplify racism and discrimination.”

Comparing Pornhub’s reported response to this, it’s clear the site has a long way to go to be actively anti-racist.

Only tolerated because it’s porn

On social media, recent posts denounce racism and entities supporting it, either actively or passively, reflecting a growing awareness.

But how many denounce racist behavior yet support an industry promoting stereotypes because society normalized rule-breaking sexual entertainment, i.e., porn?

Become A Fighter

Let’s hold the porn industry accountable for the role it plays in promoting and normalizing racism and racist stereotypes.

At Fight the New Drug, we are listening and fighting—are you with us?