QAnon Fans Fall For Satirical Story That Disney Bought Pornhub

Pornhub at the AVN Awards
Ethan Miller / Getty Images

The Walt Disney Company is one of the world’s most famously family-friendly brands and has been that way for nearly a century. So it would likely be pretty scandalous if Disney were to purchase one of the world’s best-known pornography websites.

But no, Disney has not announced plans to acquire Pornhub. The idea that it has comes from a satirical website called The Beaverton, which, in April 2018 — more than a year ago — wrote a fake article with the headline “Disney executives pleased to announce acquisition of PornHub.” The piece was mostly parodying Disney’s spree of acquisitions of high-profile media properties.

The story also quotes a Disney “VP of market strategy” named Dalton Sterling, who doesn’t actually exist.

However, more than a year after the Beaverton story, it got new attention, this time from a group of adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory who reportedly took the Disney/Pornhub story at face value.

Per Snopes, a Facebook group called QAnon NC posted this week that “DID YOU KNOW #DISNEY OWNS #PORNHUB? Why is this not public knowledge?” The story made some social media rounds subsequently, especially among the Q crowd, as it seemed to fit in with the QAnon and Pizzagate communities’ belief that Hollywood is part of a cabal of pedophiles and child pornographers.

However, the story is not real, as Pornhub has been owned by MindGeek — a parent company that owns several other prominent “tube” pornography sites — since 2010. Disney is a public company, and had it acquired Pornhub, such a thing would have been publicly announced.

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The above is not the only outlandish conspiracy theory involving Disney to gain traction this year. Back in March and April, some movie fans alleged that Disney had somehow manipulated box office numbers, or perhaps even bought tickets in massive numbers, in order to inflate the box office performance of its superhero movie Captain Marvel. As discussed in this Reddit thread, there was little to no evidence that the theory was true.

As for Pornhub, multiple media outlets, including BuzzFeed, reported earlier this year on the pornography website’s supposed interest in acquiring the social networking website Tumblr, which had infamously banned the sharing of adult content last year.

However, Pornhub is somewhat notorious for its ability to get the media to bite on publicity stunts, from its “job offers” for certain celebrities to appear in pornography to a supposed wearable tech product called the “Wankband,” which was announced in 2015 (via YouTube) but never actually reached the market.