‘Money Shot: The Pornhub Story’ Review: A Clear Eye on an Industry

This documentary looks at the offenses of the pornography industry through interviews with performers and activists.

In December 2020, the journalist Nicholas Kristof wrote a column in the Opinion section of The New York Times detailing the stories of young survivors whose sexual abuse was posted on the website Pornhub. The piece, which urged the site to make changes, led to Pornhub’s banning of uploads from unverified users, and to Visa and Mastercard’s prohibiting the use of their cards on the website. Kristof’s article plays a complicated role in “Money Shot: The Pornhub Story,” a documentary on Netflix that shrewdly puts center stage some of the professional porn performers seeking autonomy in the industry.

Through interviews with workers and their advocates (and with Kristof), the documentary filmmaker Suzanne Hillinger (who also produced and directed episodes of The Times’s “The Weekly,” a television show on FX, in 2019) persuasively argues that campaigns including Traffickinghub are aimed at curtailing abuse and helping victims but end up hurting another marginalized group: the sex workers and porn actors who thrive on these platforms, which enable them to work independently. Hillinger also spotlights the fact that some of the loudest anti-Pornhub voices have ties to the extreme political right‌.

Recent years have seen a slew of streaming documentaries about tech-world horrors, from dating hoaxes to crypto schemes. “Money Shot” includes some clichés from this subgenre — if I see one more tweet pop up onscreen with the chirp sound effect, I will fly away myself — but it mostly pushes against tropes. Hillinger steers clear of re-enactments, and instead favors relaxed scenes with porn professionals. Here is a documentary that casts a clear eye on the offenses of an industry driven by capitalism while never losing sight of the workers whose safety and success should be that profession’s number one priority.

Money Shot: The Pornhub Story
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 34 minutes. Watch on Netflix.

Source: Movies -


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