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Breast cancer awareness month is touted by an unusual source

October 05, 2012|By Eryn Brown
  • This time of year, pink-ribboned products promoting breast cancer awareness are a familiar sight. A porn site is joining in, as well.
This time of year, pink-ribboned products promoting breast cancer awareness… (Los Angeles Times )

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you’re probably aware that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month — that time of year when pink-ribboned products start popping up here and there, promising to send a portion of whatever you pay for them to organizations promoting breast cancer awareness. 

This year, in addition to shopping for the familiar yogurts, sparkling water, golf balls and office tchotchkes, a certain set of consumers will be able to help the cause when they purchase pornography.

In a news release this week, the adult website Pornhub.com announced that it would donate 1 cent for every 30 views of certain breast-related videos, “meaning the more boobs that are viewed, the more money that will be showered upon the Susan G. Komen Foundation,” it said.

“Together we can give fundraising our breast shot!” the company added.

The campaign is Pornhub.com’s second effort to combat breast cancer, said company vice president Corey Price: In April, the website’s Boob Bus traveled through New York City providing breast exams (with a board-certified, licensed medical practitioner). Twenty-two women and four men received exams, Price said.

Good intentions aside, Pornhub.com’s promotion is sure to provide added grist for critics of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, who have complained for years that the campaign is primarily a marketing gimmick that does more to pad pocketbooks than it does to help women with the disease. In 2010, L.A. Times writer Rosie Mestel published a blog post on so-called pinkwashing and writer Christie Aschwanden examined “the downside of awareness campaigns.” This year, complaints are already piling up on Twitter (check out this Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Storify page for examples, including breast cancer awareness trash cans, comic books and ravioli packages.)

Asked if Pornhub.com expected an increase in video views thanks to the fundraising effort, Price said that while he was sure improved traffic would “be a positive externality of this event’s success,” cashing in was not the website’s primary motive. “Our ultimate goal is to drive awareness toward breast cancer and do the best we can to help on that front, whether through donations or simply spreading the word,” he said.

Price wasn’t sure what Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a breast cancer charity that has suffered several shakeups in the past year, thought of Pornhub.com’s efforts.

“We’ve reached out to the reps at Susan G. Komen, but have yet to get word back on the work we’re doing,” he said. “Answer or not, however, we still plan to do the best we can.”

The press office at the Komen Foundation did not respond to an email from The Times seeking comment.

In the meantime, donations were rolling in.  By Thursday evening, just four days into the campaign, a counter on the Pornhub “Save the Boobs” launch page had topped more than 10 million eligible video views, which meant the site was on track to raise more than $25,000 for breast cancer awareness by the end of the month.


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