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22 Women Win $13 Million in Lawsuit Against Predatory Porn Company


This past August, 22 women gathered for a trial in San Diego, where they testified to being deceived into producing internet pornography for the mainstream porn site, Girls Do Porn. They have now won this lawsuit.

What was spun as a modeling job on Craigslist, featuring photos of fully clothed women, was actually a recruitment scheme to produce amateur pornography—producers claimed that the content would never appear online.

Website owners, Michael Pratt and Matthew Wolfe, even went so far as to hire women “to pose as ‘reference models,’ or women who claimed to have filmed with the company before and assured the nervous [women] that they were in good hands.”1

Each woman’s testimony reveals how they were flown to San Diego, informed that the compensation would be much lower than the originally agreed-upon price, and warned that they could be sued for the cost of the flight and hotel if unable to comply with the “job terms.”

RELATED: Modeling Ad Deceives 22 Women into Porn Scheme

Soon after being pressured into signing a contract, completing the videos, and being assured the content would never be posted online, the videos appeared across several online platforms, including the world’s largest porn site, Pornhub. Not only was the content posted online, but each woman’s personal identifying information appeared as well.

The women testified that Girls Do Porn website owners “deliberately leaked their identities and personal information by sending footage to their friends and families.”

Videos were then sent out to their personal networks, resulting in severe harassment and humiliation. The women testified that Girls Do Porn website owners “deliberately leaked their identities and personal information by sending footage to their friends and families.”2

In fact, the Court notes the “Defendants immediately benefitted from doxxing of their models. Publication and dissemination of the models’ names and personal information increased views and traffic to Defendants’ tube channels, increased name ID for their brand, and boosted subscription sales.”3

When the models contacted Girls Do Porn and requested them to remove the video content, the messages were ignored or blocked entirely. Judge Enright further stated, “Defendants business practices include exploiting models’ real names for private gain.”4

The experience shared by these women is not unique. Coercive tactics, such as manipulation, fraud, threats, and exploitation of vulnerability should not only be recognized as common means for recruiting women into prostitution—the porn industry employs the same methods. The manipulation used against these women presents a prime example of sex trafficking.

Now, years after the first lawsuit occurred in 2016, the San Diego Superior Court has ruled in favor of these 22 women, granting them nearly $13 million in damages, stating “this is an action for fraud, concealment, false promise, misappropriation of likeness….”5 Additionally, the women were given ownership rights to their content and the defendants were ordered to promptly remove any videos of the women from the internet.

RELATED: Our New Film Rips the Mask Off the Porn Industry

What does this victory mean for the pornography industry, and better yet, the sex industry as a whole?

…a separate case has been opened in which Pratt and Wolfe face several federal charges, including “sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion…”

This victory goes far beyond justice for these 22 women. Not only has a new standard been set for the treatment of women in the porn industry, and the extent of what porn producers are able to get away with, but space has been cleared for bringing other matters of justice to light for women all across the sex industry.

Already, a separate case has been opened in which Pratt and Wolfe face several federal charges, including “sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, sex trafficking of a minor, and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.” 6

Other defendants in this federal criminal case include porn actor, Ruben Andre Garcia; company administrative assistant, Valerie Moser; and Amberlyn Nored, who is accused of “acting as a ‘reference woman’ who would lie to the victims by saying she had performed in similar videos that were never posted online.”7

Pratt has also been charged with the production of child pornography in 2012. While Wolfe and Garcia were arrested in October, Pratt disappeared in light of the allegations and is believed to have fled the country. If convicted, all defendants potentially face life sentences.

We are deeply grateful for the bravery of these 22 women, who’ve stepped up and spoken out against a predatory company that has operated unchecked since 2006. We also offer our congratulations on their victory—a much-needed step toward justice for millions of other exploited women around the world.

Give Freedom to Sexually Exploited Women

Footnotes

  • 1. Tarpley Hitt, “Amateur Porn Company Girls Do Porn Hit With $12.8M in Damages for Exploiting Youth Women,” The Daily Beast, January 4, 2020. https://www.thedailybeast.com/amateur-porn-company-girls-do-porn-hit-with-dollar12775m-in-damages-for-exploiting-young-women?ref=scroll (accessed January 6, 2020).
  • 2. Ibid
  • 3. Judge Kevin A. Enright. “[Proposed] Statement of Decision.” Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Diego, Central Division. (Jan. 2020): 36.
  • 4. Judge Kevin A. Enright. “[Proposed] Statement of Decision.” Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Diego, Central Division. (Jan. 2020): 38
  • 5. Judge Kevin A. Enright. “[Proposed] Statement of Decision.” Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Diego, Central Division. (Jan. 2020): 2.
  • 6. Tarpley Hitt, “Amateur Porn Company Girls Do Porn Hit With $12.8M in Damages for Exploiting Youth Women,” The Daily Beast, January 4, 2020. https://www.thedailybeast.com/amateur-porn-company-girls-do-porn-hit-with-dollar12775m-in-damages-for-exploiting-young-women?ref=scroll (accessed January 6, 2020).
  • 7. Pauline Repard, “22 women win $13 million in suit against GirlsDoPorn videos,” Los Angeles Times, January 2, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-01-02/lawsuit-girlsdoporn-videos (accessed January 6, 2020).

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoKaty Anne

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