Mar 14, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Pornhub blocks access in Texas amid legal battle

The Pornhub logo is being displayed on a smartphone screen in Athens, Greece, on December 30, 2023. (Photo Illustration by Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Pornhub logo displayed on a smartphone. Photo: Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pornhub, one of the world's largest pornography websites, is no longer accessible to users in Texas.

The big picture: The state joins several others — including North Carolina, Virginia, Utah, Arkansas, Montana and Mississippi — in losing access in response to new state laws requiring porn sites to verify user ages.

  • The move comes after a federal appeals court last week upheld the requirement for pornography sites in Texas to use age verification to prevent minors from accessing adult websites.

State of play: All other pornography sites under adult entertainment conglomerate Aylo, like YouPorn and Brazzers, are also now blocked in the state.

  • When accessed in Texas, their homepages feature a letter rebuking the state's mandate on age verification and blaming elected officials.
  • "Not only does this impinge on the rights of adults to access protected speech, it fails strict scrutiny by employing the least effective and yet also most restrictive means of accomplishing Texas's stated purpose of allegedly protecting minors," the statement reads.
  • The company said the only solution is to verify users' ages on their devices and therefore deny or permit access to age-restricted websites based on that verification.

What they're saying: Alex Kekesi, vice president of brand and community at Aylo, said in a statement to Axios that the Texas law is "ineffective, haphazard, and dangerous."

  • "Not only will it not actually protect children, it will inevitably reduce content creators' ability to post and distribute legal adult content," he said, adding that Aylo has publicly supported age verification of users for years, though through a different method.
  • Kekesi said the company is reviewing its options with its legal team and "will continue to appeal through all available judicial recourse to recognize that this law is unconstitutional."

What's next: Kekesi said the company is reviewing options with its legal team to challenge the Texas law.

  • The company "will continue to appeal through all available judicial recourse to recognize that this law is unconstitutional," he said.

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