Virginia state Sen. Louise Lucas (D) found herself in the national spotlight last week with a provocative Twitter thread lamenting that her access to the popular adult content platform, Pornhub, had been cut off in the state. A new Virginia law aiming to protect minors from explicit online content sparked this heated discourse.
Signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) in May, the law requires websites with a substantial portion of adult material to verify user ages. The Commonwealth joins Utah and Louisiana, among other states, that have enacted similar legislation.
— Nick Freitas (@NickForVA) July 1, 2023
“While safety and compliance are at the forefront of our mission,” Pornhub told the Virginia Pilot, “giving your ID card every time you want to visit an adult platform will put children and your privacy at risk.” In protest, Pornhub has suspended its services in Virginia.
Lucas appears to align with Pornhub’s stance, arguing the legislation presents a “massive security risk” to Virginians’ personal information. Lucas questioned why the governor hadn’t created an age verification system in her Twitter tirade.
However, the governor’s office is steadfast. “The governor remains committed to protecting Virginia’s children from dangerous material on the internet,” a spokesperson for Youngkin told local news outlet WRIC.
Despite the free speech challenges the law may face, its intent is clear – to shield minors from explicit content that could potentially be harmful. This legislative intent stands in sharp contrast with Lucas’s flippant Tweets. Why is Lucas, a prominent Democrat, seemingly more concerned about her content access than the safety of Virginia’s minors?
Moreover, it’s puzzling why Lucas glosses over the dubious history of Pornhub, especially when discussing children’s safety online. The adult content giant, under its parent company “MindGeek,” is currently grappling with a federal lawsuit involving a video of a minor.
It’s not the explicit material that Youngkin is taking issue with, but the exploitation and potential harm to underage users. Yet, Lucas’s critique and her brusque dismissiveness of the potential risks involved with this platform bring into question where her priorities truly lie.
Ultimately, Virginia’s new law is a step in the right direction, a modest move to protect children from the potential harms of explicit content. It’s disconcerting that a legislator such as Lucas, who should prioritize the safety and well-being of all Virginians, instead chooses to protest her loss of access to an adult site.
Virginia’s citizens, particularly parents, must be asking why one of their state senators is more occupied with her access to explicit material than the safety of minors. Youngkin’s commitment to child safety online is commendable. On the other hand, Lucas’s public lament over her lost Pornhub access raises eyebrows and perhaps should raise questions about her commitment to the welfare of her constituents.