Pornhub saunters into the art scene by hosting its first full ‘non-adult’ film

But the company still has underlying problems to address.

Pornhub is moving into the arts scene: the ever-popular porn streaming site is set to upload its first “non-adult film” tomorrow. The film in question is Leilah Weinraub’s Shakedown, a stream-of-consciousness documentary about the lesbian strip club scene in Los Angeles. The documentary will screen for free on a Pornhub mini-site through March, complete with weekly Q&A sessions with the filmmaker.

Pornhub wants its brand to be seen as a platform committed to diversifying and supporting the arts. While using its massive audience for the dissemination of queer art is promising, it’s important to remember that Pornhub is also a business — and that means it’s always looking out for itself first.

Good: Pornhub is using its platform for queer art — Because of Pornhub’s user base, Shakedown will be seen by a much wider audience than ever before. The documentary has been screened at the Whitney Museum and MoMA in the last three years, but it’s never been readily available on the internet.

Pornhub is using its resources to uplift queer voices: an admirable effort that other companies would do well to emulate.

Bad: Pornhub hasn’t made things easy for its models — For a long time, Pornhub used PayPal to provide payouts for its Model Program. PayPal abruptly cut ties with Pornhub last year for violating its terms of service, leaving many models without a payment method. PayPal was pivotal to many performers on the site who didn’t have a traditional bank account.

Pornhub did not have a backup plan for these models, save for advising them to use cryptocurrency. Many saw the issue as Pornhub leaving its models high and dry. Not a good look for a company that already thrives off barely legal clips made by other porn studios.

So while it’s admirable that Pornhub has decided to put effort into this documentary screening — one that traditional streaming services like YouTube or Vimeo might not permit because of its content — the company has been shown to put its own interests first in matters of supporting queer creators. It might want to find solutions to those underlying issues before moving deeper into the world of film.