Late Wednesday night, Pornhub announced that PayPal is no longer supporting payments for Pornhub—a decision that will impact thousands of performers using the site as a source of income.
Most visitors to Pornhub likely think of it as a website that simply provides access to an endless supply of free porn, but Pornhub also allows performers to upload, sell, and otherwise monetize videos they make themselves. Performers who used PayPal to get paid for this work now have to switch to a different payment method.
"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.
A PayPal spokesperson told Motherboard: “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.”
A spokesperson for Pornhub told Motherboard: "Decisions like that of PayPal and other major companies do nothing but harm efforts to end discrimination and stigma towards sex workers. While we still have several payment methods for our models available, we will continue to add more sex worker friendly ones and explore cryptocurrency options in the near future."
PayPal is one of many payment processors that have discriminated against sex workers for years. Its acceptable use policy states that "certain sexually oriented materials or services" are forbidden—phrasing that's intentionally vague enough to allow circumstances like this to happen whenever the company wants.
Are you a sex worker who has been impacted by this situation, or by any payment processors discriminating against your work? We'd love to hear from you. Contact Samantha Cole securely on Signal at +16469261726, direct message on Twitter, or by email.
Updated Nov. 14, 2019 at 10:50 a.m. to include a statement from PayPal.
Updated Nov. 14, 2019 at 3:40 p.m. to include a statement from Pornhub.