Metro Weekly

Pornhub Wants to Turn Straight Men Gay Says Michael Knowles

Right-wing pundit Knowles cites interviews with porn company employees as evidence of a plot to turn straight men gay or transgender.

Michael Knowles – Photo: Gage Skidmore

Michael Knowles is sounding the alarm over undercover videos showing employees of Aylo, the parent company of the popular site Pornhub, admitting to steering gay and transgender content to reportedly “straight” users. 

The video clips, part of a larger investigation into Pornhub by former actress Arden Young for the undercover journalism outfit Sound Investigations, show employees of Aylo talking on a wide range of topics that critics of the company typically raise.

These include age verification of users and concerns about minors using the site, the presence of revenge porn on the site, getting people’s images or videos removed from the site after they didn’t consent to uploading content, and the marketing of LGBTQ content.

One of the videos by Young appears to show an employee talking about steering LGBTQ content to straight adult male users, who comprise the bulk of Pornhub’s users. 

“The thing is, like, when you write for [Aylo-run website and studio] Sean Cody, which is primarily gay-targeted, when you write for TransAngels, which is trans-female-presenting-targeted, you also try to see how much you can take of that and bring it to mainstream, vanilla content,” Dillon Rice, a senior scriptwriter for Aylo says in one of the videos.

“Because, like, Brazzers and Reality Kings [both Aylo-owned production companies] is predominantly for ‘straight’ men but you try to, like, push the envelope as much as you can,” Rice continued, adding that because the production companies have explored various mainstream genres, in an attempt to gain more customers, they also begin to “push stuff that’s … less accepted, like putting a trans male or a trans female in a scene.”

Rice says the aim is to “test it out. See if you get a bigger audience with it, see if you can convert somebody, right? Like maybe somebody who’s never looked for anything like that. Bi stuff is usually marketed towards women, but they also want to try to get more men, straight men, in on it, too.”

Rice notes that the production company TransAngels, which features female-presenting trans personalities, is geared primarily towards straight men.

When approached by the Washington Examiner for comment, an Aylo spokesperson objected to the characterization of Rice’s remarks, telling the right-wing outlet, “The person who was illegally filmed in this video is very clearly speaking of converting free users into paid subscribers, and any insinuation otherwise is disingenuous, reckless, and hurtful.

“It is egregious for a journalist to misrepresent this information in order to push outlandish and harmful conspiracy theories,” the spokesperson added, before pushing back on allegations regarding underage content or minors’ ability to access pornography.

Aylo is currently enmeshed in various legal battles, facing 10 lawsuits from hundreds of sex trafficking victims who claim images or videos of them remain on the site, and has battled against laws to require ID verification for adult users, disabling access to Pornhub in states with age verification laws. 

Interviewing Young for his self-titled podcast, the right-wing Knowles — who has called for the arrest of drag queens and Pride attendees for public indecency and the “eradication” of transgender identity from public life — said he was particularly shocked at the employee’s seeming admission of pushing the boundaries regarding content marketed to straight men.

“[A] senior script writer here, at the largest porn company on earth, [is] saying, ‘Yeah, we’re trying to convert straight guys into looking at gay porn, or trans porn. We’re always trying to push the boundaries,” Knowles says.

“We’re not even just serving the market that already exists for porn,” he adds, taking on the persona of the people at Aylo. “We’re trying to create new markets by creating new desires in people that they do not previously have, that are certainly out of the mainstream, that are considered more deviant, and we’re going to slip that content into the porn, to expand the palette, I suppose, of the customer.”

After letting Young speak about her findings, Knowles returns to the topic of gay, trans, or bisexual content in straight porn, using the videos to echo a talking point he’s made previously, including claims about so-called “hypnosis porn” — that sexual orientation and gender identity can be easily changed or manipulated.

“We have been told, for my entire life, by the Left, by the pro-pornography people, by the sexual revolutionaries, that sexual desire is innate, and immutable, it’s an orientation,” Knowles says. “Nobody becomes gay, bisexual, trans… you’re just, you’re born that way, and how dare you suggest — we’ll probably be kicked off social media for even repeating what this top porn employee…is admitting on camera — what he is saying is, ‘That’s all bunk. Actually, yeah, you can convert people. That’s how our business model works.'”

After playing another clip of Rice, Knowles summarizes Rice’s comments: “He is saying, ‘We are trying to take straight guys — our target demo is to convert straight guys into trans guys.”

When Young interjects that she believed the word “convert” referred to marketing such content to straight guys in order to change their viewing habits and make more money, Knowles interrupts her, briefly acknowledging there are business incentive and capitalistic angles to this controversy, before returning to his assertion about changing a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.

“[W]hen we’re talking about a product that involves, at a very deep level, your own desires and your own identity, then when you convert people to the product, you’re converting them in their desire and identity,” he says.

Knowles then recounts a past interview he’d had with former porn star Rocco Reed (Joshua Broome) about the dark side of the porn industry, and correspondence he’d received from various male viewers talking about their addiction to porn.

He says he has read accounts of men claiming to have been converted into believing they’re transgender due to their porn habits, a “trans widow” whose husband left her after transitioning, and even talked to an “expert” who claimed pornography use is a good indicator of whether a cisgender person will transition to transgender. 

“The takeaways here for me, if you are a private individual, call your congressman,” Knowles says, in conclusion. “Use the political order. This is as clear-cut a case for proper political action as I have ever seen.”

He then addresses his viewers who struggle with pornography addictions.

“Stop looking at porn, if for no other reason than the senior writers here are saying they want to make you gay and trans.”

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