Pornhub’s Top Executives to Step Down

The company announced that CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo will remain shareholders, and a search is “underway” for replacements.
A Pornhub popup in Milan
A Pornhub popup in Milan,

Top executives at Mindgeek, Pornhub’s parent company, are stepping down, the company announced on Tuesday. 

Mindgeek’s CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo will leave their positions after 14 years, but remain shareholders, according to a statement from Pornhub.  

“With the company strategically positioned for long-term growth, MindGeek's executive leadership team will run day-to-day operations on an interim basis, with a search underway for replacements,” Pornhub said in a statement to Motherboard. “The transition has been in development since early 2022, with Antoon and Tassillo remaining shareholders.”

Antoon and Tassillo bought Mindgeek (then called Manwin) from owner Fabian Thylmann in 2013. At the time, the pair were senior managers at Manwin. Mindgeek now owns many of the internet’s biggest porn sites and studios, including Pornhub, YouPorn, RedTube and Brazzers.

The statement didn’t elaborate on why they’ve decided to step down, but the move follows increasing pressure from conservative anti-porn groups in the last few years. Antoon and Tassillo have been in leadership through some of the most difficult periods for pornographers in recent history, much of it focused on Pornhub’s influential role in online porn: In 2020, Pornhub was the target of a campaign to have the site “shut down” by anti-sex work group Exodus Cry, and was also targeted by extremists who used that campaign’s rhetoric to foment violence against the company and the people who make a living on it. Visa, Discover and Mastercard stopped processing payments for Pornhub following unsubstantiated allegations published by the New York Times that the platform fosters abuse and trafficking.

In 2021, 50 victims of the trafficking ring run by producers of Girls Do Porn reached a settlement with Mindgeek after suing the company, accusing it of failing to properly moderate videos of their abuse. Antoon and Tassillo faced scrutiny from the Canadian Parliament in 2021 about moderation and abuse allegations against their platforms. Soon after their appearance in front of Parliament, an alleged arsonist burned down Antoon’s Montreal mansion.  

“The leadership transition comes as MindGeek begins to invest deeply in expanding creator-first offerings and additional opportunities for content monetization, with a plan to use resources to make headway in this burgeoning business as the company continues to be a force in digital video and tube sites,” the statement continues. “MindGeek currently provides hundreds of thousands of models with the opportunity to earn a living, a number this complementary line of business seeks to massively expand.”