Money Shot: The Pornhub Story (Netflix Film Review)

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The Ethical Complexities Explored in “Money Shot: The Pornhub Story”

An Introduction to the Controversial Documentary

Money Shot: The Pornhub Story, a thought-provoking documentary directed by Suzanne Hillinger, delves into the world of pornographic website Pornhub and its parent company, MindGeek. With a focus on the industry’s history and the scandals surrounding the site in the early 2020s, the film raises important questions about the ethics of pornography, the treatment of sex workers, and the significance of sexual safety.

An Honest Discussion

Before exploring into the details, it is crucial to acknowledge that this review encompasses discussions of explicit content and addresses sensitive topics such as sex trafficking and the exploitation of minors. If these subjects are distressing, it is completely understandable if you choose to abstain from reading further. With that said, this review aims to offer an objective analysis, despite the inherent personal biases and political views that can influence discussions surrounding taboo subjects.

A Balanced Perspective

Money Shot: The Pornhub Story prominently features the voices of industry professionals, providing a refreshing outlook on sex work. The documentary offers insights into the experiences of well-known performers like Asa Akira, Siri Dahl, Wolf Hudson, and Gwen Adora. Through their stories, viewers gain an understanding of how the porn industry has evolved dramatically over the past decade.

One crucial aspect highlighted in Money Shot is the increased autonomy and freedom that platforms like Pornhub, as well as Modelhub and OnlyFans, provide to performers. These platforms encourage safer and more comfortable working conditions, allowing performers to earn more while avoiding the need to constantly rely on major studios. While acknowledging that certain darker aspects of the industry persist, director Suzanne Hillinger ensures that the documentary empowers those within the porn industry who are often overlooked, misrepresented, or excluded from mainstream media.

Exploring Different Viewpoints

To present a comprehensive narrative, Hillinger also interviews anti-trafficking advocacy groups who played a significant role in exposing the multitude of non-consensual, harmful, and illegal videos that found their way onto Pornhub. This inclusion sparks a captivating dialogue and conflict between these groups and the professionals within the porn industry. While many anti-trafficking organizations hold an anti-sex work stance, arguing that all forms of pornography are coercive, some porn professionals counter that current economic systems perpetuate coercion in all types of work. Additionally, they note that several of these groups are driven by evangelical organizations calling for the abolition of pornography and all forms of sex work.

A Lack of Definitive Stance

One notable critique of Money Shot is its inclination to shy away from taking a definitive moral stance. While the documentary offers a platform for pornographic performers to discuss and defend their profession, the central thesis remains somewhat ambiguous. Undoubtedly, there is consensus that sex trafficking and the inclusion of underage individuals in pornography are morally abhorrent, as is profiting from such actions. Money Shot introduces various scandals and controversies, allowing proponents and opponents of each issue to express their perspectives. While this approach aims to present multiple viewpoints and encourage critical thinking, some viewers might prefer a more defined goal for the documentary, beyond a historical account supplemented by interviews.

A Shift in Sympathy

Nevertheless, Money Shot stands out among other pornographic documentaries by portraying performers with empathy. The documentary unequivocally places the blame for Pornhub’s scandals on the higher-ranking individuals overseeing the site, rather than the low-to-mid level employees or the performers who consensually share their work on such platforms. A powerful scene illustrates the filming of a sex scene, during which the performers, on camera, openly discuss their sexual preferences and boundaries. This depiction presents a healthier representation of sex and sexuality, shattering preconceived notions often associated with pornographic content.

If we were to assign our own thesis to Money Shot, it would be this: pornography, in its essence, is not inherently evil. Engaging in consensual sexual acts on camera for financial gain is a valid choice. However, the crucial component is consent. As the documentary aptly states, “Porn without consent isn’t porn; it’s assault.” Money Shot compels viewers to contemplate the ethical implications of pornography, the humanity and treatment of sex workers, and the significance of sexual safety. After watching, it is inevitable that one reevaluates their consumption of pornographic material, contemplating more independent and feminist porn sites as ethical alternatives.


In conclusion, Money Shot: The Pornhub Story offers a compelling exploration of the complex issues surrounding the pornography industry. Through interviews with industry professionals and anti-trafficking advocates, the documentary presents a nuanced perspective that allows viewers to form their own opinions. While it could benefit from a more defined thesis, the film succeeds in shedding light on the importance of consent, the treatment of sex workers, and the ethics of porn. After finishing Money Shot, viewers will undoubtedly find themselves reconsidering their attitudes toward pornography, sexual safety, and the ethical consumption of explicit content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Are the scandals surrounding Pornhub solely the fault of the performers?

No, Money Shot explicitly attributes the blame for Pornhub’s scandals to the higher-ranking individuals responsible for the site, rather than the performers who willingly share their work on the platform.

2. Does Money Shot expose the exploitative aspects of the porn industry?

Yes, the documentary acknowledges the existence of exploitative elements within the porn industry. However, it also highlights the positive changes brought about by platforms like Pornhub, Modelhub, and OnlyFans, which empower performers by granting them more autonomy and a safer working environment.

3. Does Money Shot address the issue of underage individuals appearing in pornography?

Yes, the documentary confronts the problem of underage individuals being featured in pornographic content. It acknowledges the severity of this issue and explores the responsibility of platforms like Pornhub in combating such illegal activities.

4. What impact does Money Shot have on viewers’ perception of pornography?

Money Shot encourages viewers to reflect on their consumption of pornographic content and urges them to consider more ethical alternatives. By emphasizing consent and humanizing sex workers, the documentary challenges misconceptions and preconceived notions about the industry.

5. Does Money Shot advocate for the complete abolition of pornography?

Money Shot presents multiple perspectives on pornography, including those of anti-trafficking advocacy groups calling for its abolition. However, the documentary does not explicitly advocate for or against the complete eradication of pornography, instead leaving viewers to form their own opinions on the subject.