Actress Melissa McCarthy this week retracted and apologized for a $20,000 donation HBO Max gave to an anti-sex trafficking organization in honor of her 20 Days of Kindness campaign. That organization, Exodus Cry, is an independent non-profit with consultative status at the United Nations. According to the group, it “exists to combat sex trafficking and all forms of commercial sexual exploitation both domestically and internationally.”
But for McCarthy, there was a problem. “It has come to our attention that our 20 Days of Kindness, which is something — a kindness up that we started to kind of shine a light on 20 great charities — had one in there that, there’s no other way to say it, we blew it,” said McCarthy in an Instagram video. “We made a mistake and we backed a charity that upon proper vetting, stands for everything that we do not.” (emphasis added)
McCarthy is referring to attacks against Exodus Cry for allegedly “campaigning against women’s rights” and being “anti-LGBTQ+.” According to the organization, a major source of those attacks is coming from supporters of Pornhub, a pornographic video sharing website, and the largest pornography website on the Internet, owned by MindGeek. It includes professional and amateur pornography, and users can upload videos of their own — which are unable to be verified for the age or consent of the individuals in them. Exodus Cry addresses these attacks on its website, writing:
Those who are aligned with Pornhub and MindGeek have been spreading disinformation regarding an “application” that they are claiming is evidence of Exodus Cry being anti-LGBTQ+, however, the application they are using to make this claim is one that is clearly titled as a “chapter application.” There is only one Exodus Cry and Exodus Cry does not have chapters. Therefore a “chapter application” has no relevance to our organization’s work.
Pornhub vs. Exodus Cry
In 2020, Pornhub was caught hosting video that featured a 14-year-old sex trafficking victim — not just one, but 58 videos that showed her rape and sexual abuse. The victim had been kidnapped, raped, and assaulted on camera for 12 hours, yet she had to beg Pornhub for months, threatening legal action, to have the videos of her torture removed.
Pornhub has also featured images of a toddler being sexually abused.
Exodus Cry is working to hold Pornhub accountable and shut the site down, which makes it unsurprising that supporters of Pornhub would spread misinformation about Exodus Cry in an attempt to silence the organization. Pornhub makes a fortune from the sexual exploitation of women and children.
In response to the claim that Exodus Cry is anti-LBGTQ+, the organization stated, “Exodus Cry is an organization that since its inception has never advocated, campaigned, or focused on any other issue besides sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation,” said the organization. “Sexual exploitation is the singular focus of Exodus Cry, and any suggestion that Exodus Cry has campaigned against any other issue is categorically false.”
The organization claims it has faced “radical and unfounded ‘guilt by association’ accusations” based solely on “intentionally misleading” statements from a decade-old personal statement made by Exodus Cry’s CEO filmmaker Benjamin Nolot, which he says he has since disavowed.
Exodus Cry also fired back on the claim that it is anti-abortion, stating it exists solely to eliminate sex trafficking, partnering with groups that are both pro-life and pro-abortion.
“Exodus Cry aligns itself with many dedicated women’s rights organizations from various backgrounds who are on the front lines combating domestic violence, commercial sexual exploitation, and sex trafficking,” said Exodus Cry in response to the misinformation campaign. “With regard to the issue of abortion and reproductive rights, Exodus Cry’s CEO has expressed his personal views that he believes in the protection of life in the womb. However, Exodus Cry [as an organization] has never taken any position on those issues and any suggestion otherwise is false. We partner with, and are inclusive of, organizations that are both for and against abortion, as we align on the common goal of putting an end to sex trafficking and all forms of commercial sexual exploitation.”
Exodus Cry says its sole focus is to end sex trafficking and to hold those complicit in the trafficking of women and minors responsible for their part in an industry which earns about $150 billion annually for traffickers. According to Exodus Cry, there are at least 118 cases of child rape and trafficking on Pornhub, forever replaying online the trauma the victims endured, and $100 billion of that profit comes directly from commercial sexual exploitation like Pornhub. Sex trafficking and the porn industry are deeply intertwined, and abortion industry leader Planned Parenthood has a history of aiding and abetting sex traffickers and sexual abusers. Porn, trafficking, and abortion are all connected.
McCarthy’s mistake was not in highlighting Exodus Cry as a worthy charity, but in falling for the lies Pornhub supporters spread so it could continue profiting from the sexual abuse of women and children. As a result, McCarthy missed an opportunity to stand up for women and children and save lives.
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