New Jersey Man Sues Pornhub for Ad Using His Money-Flashing Selfie

Illustration for article titled New Jersey Man Sues Pornhub for Ad Using His Money-Flashing Selfie
Photo: Getty

Pornhub has taken a strong stance against deepfakes, because the porn site understands that the machine-learning-generated videos that swap out performers’ faces with someone else’s are non-consensual. But a recent lawsuit accuses the company of running a person’s face in an advertisement without their consent.


Edward Kelly of Marlton, New Jersey sued MindGeek, owner of Pornhub, after a friend told him his photo was on the site, according to the Courier Post. In the selfie, Kelly is wearing a slightly sideways Pittsburg Pirates cap and holding up a fan of $100 bills. The ad copy next to his photo reads: “Make $725/day Like Me” and “See how I get it.”

The lawsuit—originally filed to state court and moved to New Jersey federal court—claims Kelly took and owned the photo of himself. The suit asserts that “Someone on Pornhub’s advertising team found the photo” and used it without Kelly’s consent. The suit claims that the photo has been featured on Pornhub for at least six years, and that people seeing it “could reasonably believe that [Kelly] intentionally consented to Pornhub’s use of his image.”

Pornhub sent Gizmodo a statement from vice president Corey Price: “Although we don’t generally comment on preceding before courts, we would like to clarify that Pornhub did not create the ad in question. Our banner ads are run through third party networks, on which advertisers directly place their content.”

Mindgeek did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Gizmodo.

Kelly is suing for more than $3 million for emotional distress, damage to his reputation, and “infringer’s profits.”

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Former senior reporter at Gizmodo



My first thought and I imagine it’s the same as MindGeek’s lawyers, does he not know how ads work in the internet era? It’d be awesomely weird if he won, but you’d have to think that the precedent on who is responsible for an ad’s content (site, newspaper, tv station, etc. or the advertiser) was settled a long time ago.

If it’s been on PornHub for six years and it’s not porn, doesn’t that mean it’s probably all over the internet through various ad networks at this point?