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Executives at Montreal-based Pornhub resign, a year and a half into criticism storm


The two men who have headed Montreal-based porn empire Pornhub for more than a decade, including one who co-founded it, stepped down Tuesday.

CEO Feras Antoon and chief operating officer David Tassillo are leaving Pornhub's parent company, MindGeek, said a spokesperson.

The company was slammed in a piece in The New Yorker magazine recently -- the latest of several high-profile critiques of Pornhub in the last year and a half -- but the two men's resignation wasn't related, the spokesperson insisted.

It "has absolutely nothing to do with any reporting on the company. This has been planned for many months," he said.

Little is known about the two millionaires' private lives, though both still live or at least own property in Montreal.

Antoon testified to the Canadian House of Commons last year that both he and Tassillo joined MindGeek in 2008, about a year after a group of Concordia students founded it.

Reportedly, Antoon was one of those students, and he was the only remaining co-founder who was still involved with the company.

Now in his mid-40s, he has homes in Montreal and also owns land on which he was building a mansion, worth $15 to $20 million, that burned down just over a year ago in a case of arson.

Speaking later to media, Antoon suggested it was "religious extremists" who set fire to the building, angry over the allegations against Pornhub.

Tassillo also reportedly still lives in the Montreal area.

The company came under heavy fire starting in 2020 for allegedly allowing videos to be posted that included minors and sexual assault. The victims of those videos spoke to media about how much they'd suffered from the public violation, and some launched lawsuits.

Major credit cards began refusing to serve the site, people picketed outside MindGeek's offices, and the company quickly deleted millions of videos making up the bulk of its content.

Antoon and Tassillo were also both called to testify before Canadian federal lawmakers.

The company, however, underlined Tuesday how much progress it said it had made in screening videos, saying it had "revolutionized" the safety protocols of its industry.

It added that the New Yorker, in its recent coverage, "chose to ignore the fact that MindGeek has more comprehensive and effective policies than any other major platform on the internet, and decided to peddle the same gross mischaracterizations that anti-porn extremists have spewed for decades."

Both men will step away from daily operations and the company will search for permanent replacements, it said.

"With the company strategically positioned for long-term growth, MindGeek's executive leadership team will run day-to-day operations on an interim basis," said the statement.

"The transition has been in development since early 2022, with Antoon and Tassillo remaining shareholders."

MindGeek is beginning to focus more on "creator-first" content, it said. It was unclear what that meant, since Pornhub has always operated largely on a model of user-submitted video similar to YouTube.

--With files from CTV's Joe Lofaro Top Stories

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