Thursday, October 21

The owner of a large child pornography broadcaster unmasked in Austria


Correspondent in Berlin

Updated:

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With up to 50,000 million visits per year, Pornhub is one of the websites dedicated to pornography most successful on the planet. The publication of child pornography, videos of rape and sexual violence, in addition to offers of pornography of children under 14 years old, does not prevent the 130 million visits per day on which it bases its business, and last year it was a profit of 1.4 billion dollars for its owner, who until now had managed to remain anonymous. The British media service ‘Tortoise Media’ and the Austrian platform ‘Dossier’ have managed to identify the majority owner from Mindgeek, the operator of Pornhub and other sex portals. According to these sources, it is Bernd Bergmair, a 52-year-old Austrian citizen, living in the quiet town of Ansfelden, who barely knew that he had been identified, fled yesterday with his family to China.

Bergmair is an internationally active entrepreneur who, among other things, worked in the past in investment banking for Goldman Sachs. He is married to Brazilian model Priscila Bergmair, a fashion blogger, and has three children. He has residences in Austria, the United States and the United Kingdom. He was involved with Austrian high society as an international investor until a New York law firm and the FBI began investigating Mindgeek and “Pornhub” half a year ago, for the repeated publication of images and videos of violence against minors and in the aftermath of an article published on December 4, 2020 in The New York Times, which questioned the use of images of sexual exploitation and assault, in addition to child pornography, as a business model. Journalist Nicholas Kristof wondered why Canada, where the platform is officially based, allowed the company to take advantage of these kinds of videos when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “calls himself a feminist and takes pride in the efforts of his government. to empower women around the world. ‘

Pornhub belongs to MindGeek, a conglomerate of porn platforms whose headquarters is located in Montreal, Quebec, but it is registered in Luxembourg for tax reasons. Its portfolio includes the video sharing services RedTube and YouPorn. “Your site is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child abuse, revenge porn, hidden camera videos of women showering, racist and misogynistic content, and images of women suffocated in plastic bags ”, Kristof described in his article the content of the website and after having interviewed several victims, “The search for ‘girls under 18 years’ or ’14 years’ leads in each case to more than 100,000 videos”. After this article was published, in a single night, Pornhub deleted more than 80% of the offer of its videosBut the information had already caused great outrage and the case reached the courts. Last February, a class action lawsuit was filed before the Superior Court of Quebec arguing that the company “exploits material of violations of adolescents and victims of human trafficking … without being interested in verifying the ages or consent of the people who appear in the images”. The plaintiffs, led by a woman who denounces the publication of a video in which she appears when she was 12 years old, request a penalty of 600 million dollars. Last April, a still to be resolved arson was declared at the residence located in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Montreal, of Feras Antoon, CEO and shareholder MindGeek, a villa valued at $ 16 million. The plaintiffs believe that the fire was intended to erase evidence.

As soon as the surname Bergmair has appeared in the media, his wife Priscina was approached last weekend by the Austrian media and has acknowledged that she had asked her husband “to break ties with all that.” Priscila assures that her husband “wishes he wasn’t in on this” and expresses her hope that he can distance himself from the pornographic website. “Is not easy. Is something, maybe, what the government has to work on making rules (…) Everyone wants the best to be done. Because people have children. Now I have children. We all want things to be good, “Priscila said in statements to international media,” to be honest, I never knew about this. I was totally out of my husband’s business. All he told me is that he wishes he wasn’t in on this, and I think he will be very soon.

The company has defended itself by stating that “we have banned unverified user uploads, eliminated downloads, expanded our moderation processes and collaborated with dozens of non-profit organizations around the world, steps that exceed those of any other major platform in The Internet (…) The fight against illegal material requires collective action and constant vigilance, and we are committed to staying at the forefront of security in the technology and social media industries, ”according to a statement.

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