PayPal Kicks Pornhub Models Off Their Network

In November 2019, PayPal stopped payments to Pornhub’s models and users, cutting off a major source of their funding, leaving over 100,000 models and performers without a way to access their funds from Pornhub. This left the content providers, who produce their own videos and upload them to the website, without a way to accept payments and donations.

Pornhub logo as seen through a magnifying glass. They were kicked off PayPal recently. “We are all devastated by PayPal’s decision to stop payouts to over a hundred thousand performers who rely on them for their livelihoods,” the company said on its blog. It then directed models to set up a new payment method, with instructions on how PayPal users can transfer pending payments.

“We sincerely apologize if this causes any delays and we will have staff working around the clock to make sure all payouts are processed as fast as possible on the new payment methods,” the statement said.

The payment network was not especially clear as to why they took this action, except to issue an emailed statement: “Following a review, we have discovered that Pornhub has made certain business payments through PayPal without seeking our permission. We have taken action to stop these transactions from occurring.

According to the New York Post, the site may have been influenced by two anti-sex trafficking laws.

One of the measures — the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act — makes internet companies potentially liable if they knowingly facilitate activities that violate existing sex-trafficking laws. Cutting off the models’ money may be a cautious step PayPal is taking to make sure it’s not breaking the law, (software engineer Alison Falk) said.

PayPal’s acceptable use policy also bans transactions involving “certain sexually oriented materials or services.”

“The irony of all of it is that sex workers … were the early adopters of these payment processors, and once these processors became popular they were kicked off because they were being seen as a liability,” said Falk, the managing director of the advocacy group Women of Sex Tech.

To help their models who were still waiting on October payments to be distributed, Pornhub encouraged everyone to set up their bank accounts to receive direct deposit.

The only downside, according to the comments, was that the person’s bank account number and routing number were then exposed on the model’s Pornhub homepage. Pornhub then urged their direct deposit users to use two-factor authentication and a complicated password, although they didn’t seem to have any solutions to account numbers and routing numbers showing up on pages.

Some of the more tech-savvy performers have been turning to cryptocurrency as a way to accept payments, but it will still take someone simplifying the whole cryptocurrency exchange to make this easy and worthwhile. And until it goes more mainstream, it will be difficult to convert to real money if you don’t know how.

PayPal’s decision is a good reason for people in high risk industries — whether it’s adult entertainment, gambling, subscription services, or supplements and nutraceuticals — to have a reliable payment services provider who will work with merchants to ensure they have reliable, trustworthy credit card processing and access to banks.

If you would like to learn about how Corepay can help you with your high risk payments needs and assist in avoiding unexpected cancelations, please visit our website or call us at (800) 408-0095.

Photo: Pornhub logo on a computer screen with a magnifying glass by Marco Verch under Creative Commons 2.0