Deaf Man Sues Pornhub for Lack of Closed Captioning

Published on January 20, 2020

A New York man is suing popular adult-site Pornhub for its lack of closed captioning: preventing him from enjoying some of his favorite raunchy titles.

Yaroslav Suris is deaf so his consumption of porn is not quite as exciting because he says he can’t hear or understand the story plot line. So, he’s filed a class-action lawsuit against Pornhub’s parents company Mindgeek.

Suris argues that Minkgeek is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  

The act “prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government’ programs and services.”

And according to court documents with the Eastern District of New York, the lack of closed captioning denies him equal access to some of his favorite titles, such as “Sexy Cop Gets Witness to Talk,” “Hot Step Aunt Babysits Disobedient Nephew”.

“Without closed captioning deaf and hard-of-hearing people cannot enjoy video content on the Defendants (sic) Websites while the general public can.”

Access to Premium Content Not Worth The Money Without Close Caption

The man’s attorney said in the court documents that Suris wants to purchase premium, subscription based content, but the lack of closed captioning is not worth wild and is in violation of the American’s with Disabilities Act.

“The Websites (sic) numerous videos which cannot be accessed by deaf and hard of hearing individuals are in violation of the ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) and New York laws,” the court document reads. “Videos include most of the Websites (sic) videos in addition to the videos the Plaintiff tried to access mentioned herein.”

Pornhub’s Vice President Says Videos Include Close Captioning

But Pornhub’s vice president, Corey Price, told TMZ—while the company does not comment on “active lawsuits”, the company has videos with closed captioning.

“We understand that Yaroslav Suris is suing Pornhub for claiming we’ve denied the deaf and hearing-impaired access to our videos. While we do not generally comment on active lawsuits, we’d like to take this opportunity to point out that we do have a closed captions category.”

Mindgeek Added Audio Description and Close Captioning in 2016 and 2018

Price announced in 2018 the company added captioning to their top viewed videos. According to the Deaf Report, the categories include straight, popular with women, gay, bi, and trans.

“Here at Pornhub, it’s important that we continue to service all of our users’ needs and make content accessible to every individual,” Price said.

“By integrating our new Closed Captioning category, we are now able to render some of our most popular adult content more enjoyable for our users who are hearing impaired. ‘We encourage them to check out our newest category and provide feedback, which is especially important as we seek to continue to offer content with the differently-abled user in mind.’

Another initiative Pornhub took is launching a Descriptive Video category in 2016. It features “audio descriptions” of top-performing videos, enlarged text, customized color contrasts, and “keyboard shortcuts” for visually impaired individuals.

The company says both initiatives are part of Pornhub’s philanthropic division: Pornhub Cares. Hosting an annual $25,000 scholarship awarded to “deserving students.” Including other initiatives.

Kevin Pichinte is a staff writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is a news associate at ABC7 and was formerly a digital news intern at NBC7 and TLM20. At Grit Daily, he covers entertainment and culture news.

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