Pornhub Blocks Access for All Utah Users

News: US News
by Paul Brock III  •  •  May 2, 2023   

Popular porn site boycotts Utah in protest of age-verification law 

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SALT LAKE CITY ( - Pornhub, one of the largest porn sites in the world, has blocked access to its content for Utah residents in response to the state's new law requiring porn sites to verify that users are not minors.

Senate Bill 287, which takes effect today, holds porn companies accountable if they fail to confirm a user's age. In protest, Pornhub redirects anyone in Utah attempting to access its site to a video featuring Cherie DeVille, a porn actress and member of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, who speaks out against the law:

As you may know, your elected officials in Utah are requiring us to verify your age before allowing you access to our website. While safety and compliance are at the forefront of our mission, giving your ID card every time you want to visit an adult platform is not the most effective solution for protecting our users, and in fact, will put children and your privacy at risk.

Although Pornhub claims that its protest is about protecting children, according to Laila Mickelwait, an activist seeking to bring justice to survivors of sex trafficking and child sexual abuse, this is far from the case. Mickelwait stated that "child protection hurts [Pornhub's] bottom line," and that is why "they refuse to verify that children aren't using their crime scene website."

In her tweet, Mickelwait highlighted comments made two years ago by a senior community manager at Pornhub. He said that "any age verification devastates traffic." The senior manager, as Mickelwait pointed out, also stated that "it costs us money to verify, and overall it's a disaster."

In 2016, Utah declared pornography a public health crisis. The state's resolution, which deemed the porn industry a purveyor of numerous "societal harms," listed many of the negative effects of the industry: 

  • Pornography is contributing to the hypersexualization of teens — and even prepubescent children 
  • Pornography treats women and children as objects
  • It teaches girls they are to be used and teaches boys to be users
  • Pornography use is linked to lessening desire in young men to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage and infidelity
  • Pornography has a detrimental effect on the family unit
  • It increases the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution and child pornography

Utah, which is predominantly Mormon, makes many of the same points as the Catholic Church. Paragraph 2354 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that pornography "does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public) since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others."

The catechism continues by stating that "it immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world." It also asserts that "civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials."

Utah lawmakers have taken action in accordance with these views by passing SB287, which "creates obligations and liabilities for a commercial entity that provides pornography or other materials harmful to minors."

Mic'd Up Report: The Porn Industry

In addition to blocking access, Pornhub is requesting that Utahns contact their representatives and "demand device-based verification solutions that make the internet safer while also respecting your privacy."

This is raising questions about Pornhub's opposition to age-verification requirements, especially given that it claims to be for adults only. Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah welcomed the news, calling it "fantastic." He also added, "Makes me wonder why they're so opposed to age verification."

According to The Novus Project, an organization dedicated to protecting children from evil media:

  • 90% of young men age 18 have been exposed to pornography — much of which is hardcore
  • Of the 90%, the average age that these young men were sexualized by pornography was between 8–11 years old
  • By the age of 18, 60% of young women have been exposed to porn
  • Almost 80% of this exposure, which isn't always voluntary, is happening in the perceived safety of children's homes
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