In Response to Brock Turner, the Porn Site xHamster Is Cracking Down on Rape

In Response to Brock Turner, the Porn Site xHamster Is Cracking Down on Rape

Porn site xHamster claims that nonconsensual sex videos have been banned for a while, but it wasn't until this week that the ban got a name — the Brock Turner rule.

The rule is named after the 20-year-old Stanford student who was recently convicted of felony sexual assault charges. The Brock Turner rule applies to xHamster's existing ban on depictions of rape, which includes videos tagged with "forced sex" or "non-consensual," according to the Huffington Post

If you search "rape" on xHamster, you will get this message with a link to an online therapy site:

The filter also applies to videos of a person having sex with a sleeping partner or someone hypnotizing a partner before sex, and videos featuring rough sex or BDSM are permitted only if proven consensual, according to the Huffington Post.

"Buzz words have been put into effect so any keyword corresponding to nonconsensual sex will not be uploaded and the user will be banned," xHamster spokesman Alex Hawkins told the Huffington Post

"Non consent," however, is still a working tag with many videos in the category, which can be attributed to the fact that xHamster (like PornHub, YouPorn and XVideos) is a piracy-based tube site, Men's Health pointed out. This means that while some of the content is loaned from production companies, a "vast majority" is uploaded by users, who are seemingly able to still upload videos despite xHamster's alleged regulations. 

Why xHamster is cracking down

"We are shocked and appalled by the miscarriage of justice that transpired in the Brock Turner trial," Hawkins said on the website. "Turner should have been sentenced to the maximum penalty and not a slap on the wrist. xHamster, while an advocate for free speech, does not condone any type of nonconsensual sex that further propagates rape culture. Our size and influence in the online adult world has proven to be a force for change and we want to use it not only for the advancement of transgender rights but to end rape culture for good."

The "slap on the wrist" mentioned above is in reference to Brock Turner's sentence, which was just six months. He will serve only three months of this sentence.

xHamster said in an email that attributing its ban against nonconsensual sex content to Brock Turner is a way to use its reach to support the fight against rape culture. 

"The reason behind is simple — we want to help," the spokesperson wrote. "xHamster's size and influence in the adult world is a force for change. Thus, we want to use it not only for the advancement of transgender rights but to end rape culture for good."

Read more:
Father of Brock Turner Defends His Son in a Disturbing Way
One Horrifying Quote From the Brock Turner Case Shows Why Rape Culture Is Alive and Well

Is censoring rape fantasy the right way to combat rape culture?

As Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, author of Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex Society and Adult Entertainment, pointed out to Pacific Standard, "Something like 50% of women have these fantasies of being overpowered." In an email to Mic, she cautioned that this is likely nothing more than a publicity stunt from xHamster, which is largely populated with content that is not professionally vetted, she said.

"I do not think legitimate professional porn sites should restrict fantasies, even when those fantasies may feature a simulation of rape, rough sex or anything else of that nature," Tibbals said. 

"I do not think legitimate professional porn sites should restrict fantasies, even when those fantasies may feature a simulation of rape, rough sex or anything else of that nature," Tibbals said. 

Tibbals said xHamster's public support may send a message that porn is responsible for rape, which is a common misconception.

"Rapists are responsible for rape," Tibbals said. "This Brock Turner rule, sadly, is just another PR-seeking stunt by xHamster (and here we all are falling for it) that contributes to shifting the onus of responsibility from actual perpetrators of sexual assault." 

Tibbals draws a comparison between claiming "porn made me do it" to "we were so drunk" or "her skirt was so short." She said that the ways to combat sexual assault include education, open conversations and fighting misogyny. 

"People are entitled to have and explore (as long as consent is present!) their fantasies," Tibbals said. "Society is not entitled to restrict those fantasies. Further, consensual non-consent is a thing — meaning that consent, in the context of professional porn performance, BDSM practice, etc, is being established in advance/offscreen/etc."