WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Recognizing the increasing prevalence of pornography in American homes during the Wuhan virus pandemic, American bishops have written a letter to Attorney General William Barr urging him to "confront the ongoing harms wrought by the pornography industry and to protect its victims."
The health emergency has left millions of Americans home alone with limited recreational opportunities, thus creating a perfect opportunity for pornography usage to increase, an opportunity the pornography industry has been quick to exploit.
In its March 24 press release, PornHub, a global leader in smut, announced, "Starting today, PornHub the premier online destination for adult entertainment, will offer free PornHub Premium to the entire world in an effort to encourage the importance of staying home and practicing social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic."
The statement then told how to sign up "to enjoy the high definition (HD), on-demand streaming platform for the next 30 days."
American bishops want Attorney General Barr to fight back and so does Chairman of the U. S. Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham, who earlier in March called on Barr to resume enforcement of federal obscenity laws, specifically asking that PornHub be investigated for "gruesome examples of abuse."
The rise of the global internet porn giant can be traced back to Canada where web developer Matt Keezer launched PornHub in 2007. It was YouTube (which launched just two years earlier) without clothes.
In March 2010, the company was purchased by German Fabian Thylmann (once known as the King of Porn) and became part of his Manwin conglomerate of porn sites. He sold PornHub to his senior managers Feras Antoon and David Tassillo in 2013. The deal was financed by New York firm Colbeck Capital.
This marriage of tech geeks, porn and Wall Street financiers is producing crimes against humanity that the bishops are asking Barr to investigate.
Long before the global pandemic took center stage, pornography was ravaging families and individuals. According to 2017 statistics published in Psychology Today, "PornHub claims 28.5 billion total visits. That's 81 million [visits] a day, almost 4 million an hour, 56,000 a minute."
The bishops point out to Barr that pornography is not a neutral activity. It produces real victims. First are the people literally "used" in the productions, sometimes with their consent but not always. Even when consent is given, the bishops point out that the consent is "compromised by desperate circumstances."
Worst of all, according to the bishops, "unprecedented, unlimited and anonymous access to pornography via modern technology has led users to seek more and more extreme videos," therefore increasing the possibility for incidents of human trafficking, child pornography and other harmful sexual extremes.
During the George W. Bush administration, there was an attempt to get the porn industry under control. But according to reporting from 2007, just as PornHub was being launched, the administration's anti-porn efforts had little effect because the FBI focused its investigations on small operations producing extreme forms of smut, especially child pornography, instead of on the bigger companies.
Then in 2011, during the Obama administration, Attorney General Eric Holder dissolved the Bush administration's Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, a special Justice Department organization.
Bishops are asking Barr to enforce obscenity laws that are on the books and investigate pornography producers whose companies have become part of the Wall Street establishment.
The bishops hope to find a friend in the Attorney General Barr, who is a committed Catholic and defender of Christian values.
In his address to the Law School and the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, Barr told his audience, "I do not mean to suggest that there is no hope for moral renewal in our country. But we cannot sit back and just hope the pendulum is going to swing back toward sanity."
"As Catholics," he added, "we are committed to the Judeo-Christian values that have made this country great."