Pornhub Blocks All of Utah From Its Site

People in Utah who visit Pornhub will now be greeted by adult performer Cherie DeVille asking them to tell their representatives to change their age verification law.
​Utah governor Spencer Cox. Getty Images
Utah governor Spencer Cox. Getty Images 

In response to a new law that requires porn sites to verify users’ ages, Pornhub has completely disabled its websites for people located in Utah.

As of today, anyone accessing Pornhub from a Utah-based IP address doesn’t see the Pornhub homepage, but instead is met with a video of Cherie DeVille, adult performer and member of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, explaining that they won’t be able to visit the site. 


“As you may know, your elected officials in Utah are requiring us to verify your age before allowing you access to our website,” DeVille says. “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.” 

DeVille continues: 

“In addition, mandating age verification without proper enforcement gives platforms the opportunity to choose whether or not to comply. As we've seen in other states, this just drives traffic to sites with far fewer safety measures in place. Very few sites are able to compare to the robust Trust and Safety measures we currently have in place. To protect children and user privacy, any legislation must be enforced against all platforms offering adult content.
The safety of our users is one of our biggest concerns. We believe that the best and most effective solution for protecting children and adults alike is to identify users by their device and allow access to age-restricted materials and websites based on that identification. Until a real solution is offered, we have made the difficult decision to completely disable access to our website in Utah.
Please contact your representatives before it is too late and demand device-based verification solutions that make the internet safer while also respecting your privacy.”


Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed SB 287: Online Pornography Viewing Age Requirements into law in March. It will go into effect on May 2. 

“A commercial entity that knowingly and intentionally publishes or distributes material harmful to minors on the Internet from a website that contains a substantial portion of such material shall be held liable if the entity fails to perform reasonable age verification methods to verify the age of an individual attempting to access the material,” the text of the law states. 

It defines harmful material as “material that exploits, is devoted to, or principally consists of descriptions of actual, simulated, or animated display or depiction of any of the following, in a manner patently offensive with respect to minors: (i) pubic hair, anus, vulva, genitals, or nipple of the female breast; (ii) touching, caressing, or fondling of nipples, breasts, buttocks, anuses, or genitals; or (iii) sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, flagellation, excretory functions, exhibitions, or any other sexual act.” 

In January, Pornhub started requiring identification from Louisiana-based users, following the passage of a law that makes porn sites liable for content deemed “harmful to minors.” Several copycat bills started moving through state legislatures with varying success, including in Arkansas, which recently passed its version into law.

In 2016, Utah declared porn a “public health crisis,” and "an epidemic that is harming the citizens of Utah and the nation.” Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have recently and historically represented the majority of legislators in Utah, and in 2009, Utah was considered the “online porn capital” of the United States, with the most porn consumers logging on in the nation. In 2021, Cox signed a law that would require device manufacturers to add adult content filters on all smartphones and tablets sold in Utah.

Experts say that age verification doesn’t work to protect children online, and only works to drive material that is harmful to minors to less safe spaces on the internet, while exposing adults to more risk of identity theft, private data hacks, and extortion. Immediately after SB 287 passed the house and senate in Utah, residents there started discussing how best to use virtual private networks to keep accessing porn.