Pornhub’s new owner Alexzandra Kekesi promotes female exec in bid for respectability

Pornhub’s new owners are angling to make the notorious smut site more respectable to the mainstream public – and recently appointed a female executive to lead the battle, The Post has learned.

Longtime employee Alexzandra Kekesi has been named head of community and brand — a role that not only will oversee the site’s creative direction, but also will help craft Pornhub’s stances on key public issues.

Those include Instagram’s permanent ban of the company’s account last fall over allegations it had violated rules against sexual solicitation on the Meta-owned social network. In response, Pornhub accused Instagram of hypocritically “censoring” the porn industry even as it allowed Kim Kardashian and other celebrities to post racy nude pics.

Now, Pornhub’s new overlords are hoping to take a more conciliatory approach by re-establishing dialogue with critics.

Kekesi told The Post that she is focused on “helping people to really understand what Pornhub is as a brand, what we stand for, what we represent” – including its commitment to setting a “gold standard when it comes to moderation.”

“As soon as there’s someone that’s a little bit more visible in terms of being able to be the one to engage with and it’s not just a faceless company or corporation, it makes it a little more inviting,” Kekesi said in an interview.

Nevertheless, little is known about Ethical Capital Partners, the Canadian buyout firm that bought Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek in a surprise move earlier this year. Key details about the firm remain unclear — including where it got the money to buy Pornhub, how much it paid and who is actually in charge at MindGeek.

Alexzandra Kekesi
Pornhub executive Alexzandra Kekesi is pictured.

When asked about the murky nature of ECP’s operations, Sarah Bain, an Ethical Capital partner and the firm’s vice president of public engagement, argued that its approach was no different than any other privately held firm.

“I don’t think we’re being vague; I think we’re being really clear – we’re a private company,” Bain said.

It won’t be easy for Ethical Capital to shift the public’s view on a company that already boasts a daily audience of 130 million users across its sites – despite being plagued by years of allegations of hosting content involving revenge porn, child sex abuse, and victims of sex-trafficking. Pornhub has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Asa Akira
Alexzandra Kekesi will co-host a podcast with adult performer Asa Akira (pictured).
Getty Images

MindGeek teetered on the verge of collapse after a damning New York Times report in 2020 shed light on the spread of illegal video content that spread via Pornhub and the crisis’ effect on impacted victims.

The report led Visa and Mastercard to strip the company of some access to their payments systems. For its part, Pornhub responded by purging millions of videos from the site and requiring all uploaded content to come from verified users.

In more recent years, Pornhub faced permanent bans on Instagram and YouTube. In May, Pornhub blocked access to the site in Utah after the state imposed a law requiring users to verify they were over 18 years old. In July, Pornhub exited Virginia in protest of a similar law.

Ethical Capital acquired Pornhub’s parent company earlier this year.
Getty Images

MindGeek’s CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo resigned last summer. Bain confirmed they have yet to be replaced and said the search for a permanent successor is ongoing.

Bain would not provide specifics on MindGeek’s current leadership, other than to say that there are multiple C-suite executives in place, including a chief financial officer and “one individual that is the leader of the company.”

She declined to elaborate, asserting that executives at the adult content site face unique risks, such as bad actors disclosing their personal information such as home addresses or parents’ names.

Ethical Capital
Ethical Capital Partners vice president Sarah Bain is pictured.

Bain said MindGeek was the buyout firm’s first and, so far, only acquisition. ECP is specifically targeting companies that face an uncertain legal and regulatory future, she added.

“We’re not interested in companies that have it all figured out,” Bain said. “We want to work with companies that have either lost social license, have pretty important regulatory requirements coming up, or have, in this case, a history of difficult social license.”

Kekesi worked for Pornhub’s parent company for more than a decade, beginning with an entry-level marketing role for one of its affiliate sites. Prior to taking her new role, Kekesi worked as Pornhub’s director of marketing.

Pornhub’s social media accounts have been banned on several platforms.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

In the case of Instagram, Kekesi said Pornhub’s account ban occurred without warning — to the point that the company did not receive any explanation until it read the Meta-owned platform’s statement in The Post’s article.

“I know people are going to be like, oh boo-hoo, a big corporation got their brand wiped from Instagram,” she said. “But for us, it is a really big blow for our community because the way we were using that tool was specifically to give visibility and amplify new models that were joining our site.”

The Post reached out to Meta for comment.

As head of community and brand, Kekesi’s responsibilities will include planning events like the annual Pornhub Awards and hosting a podcast called “Terms of Service” alongside adult film star Asa Akira that will tackle “censorship in the adult industry, arts and culture.”

MindGeek is the parent company of Pornhub.

She will be one of the few executives at Pornhub or MindGeek whose identity is known to the general public – opening the possibility of direct clashes with critics such as lawmakers or law enforcement officials who have questioned the company’s content moderation practices.

“At some point, the adult industry will be normalized,” said Bain. “It’s going to take a long time and it starts with being visible, open, speaking, telling the public what we’re doing. That’s how they become curious, that’s how they come knowledgeable.”

At the time of the announcement, some insiders told The Post that MindGeek’s true value could lay in the various digital tools it has developed, by necessity, to weed out problematic content and address scrutiny from authorities.

Bain said Ethical Capital will enforce a “zero tolerance” policy toward illegal content on MindGeek’s sites and plans to engage regularly with law enforcement and other authorities to ensure the safety of its platforms.

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