Ann Summers reportedly ends Pornhub link

Posted: March 5, 2018

According to a report in The Sun on Sunday, Ann Summers is no longer stocking the Pornhub range of sex toys. The two brands teamed up last year, raising eyebrows in some quarters – including the ETO editorial office. In the Welcome column of November’s issue, editor Dale Bradford said it was a surprising move “Because in my (admittedly limited) dealings with the retail chain I was left with the distinct impression that it wanted to distance itself from the hardcore side of the industry.” He went on to say: “I’m not sure how the Daily Mail would react to this link up – actually I pretty much am…”

There was no immediate backlash from the mainstream media however, at least not until 16th February this year when The New Statesman published an article headlined ‘Ann Summers can’t claim to empower women when it is teaming up with Pornhub’. The article, by Jo Bartosch, detailed some of the more controversial subjects that Pornhub viewers can find on the site and said: “With campaigns such as #metoo and #timesup are sweeping social media, it seems bizarre that a high street brand would not consider Pornhub merchandise as toxic.”

It might be coincidence, but six days earlier a discussion headlined ‘Ann Summers teams up with Pornhub – not OK’ was posted on Mumsnet, the UK’s most popular parenting website. The original poster linked to a Metro report on the Ann Summers/Pornhub launch from last November and said: “I hate pornhub. They do a load of PR stunts to make their brand seem harmless and female friendly when it just isn’t. The site includes a load of porn depicting violence against women and underage sex (acted). I always thought Ann Summers was more focussed on female pleasure and am very annoyed to see this.”

So annoyed in fact that the poster started a petition on calling on Ann Summers to dump the Pornhub products. The petition has, at the time of writing, attracted over 2,200 signatures.

The Mumsnet discussion has since clocked up five pages, mostly agreeing with the original poster, although one user did leap to the defence of Ann Summers, saying it was “the only high street retailer that gives people the opportunity to buy sex toys in a ‘normal’ environment instead of having to go down a back street into a dark and seedy shop”.

The Sun report said: “MPs were furious that adult gadgets in saucy high street store Ann Summers were linked to a porn website” and quoted Labour MSP Rhoda Grant saying of Ann Summers CEO Jacqueline Gold: “It’s disappointing someone calling themselves a feminist would associate themselves with such a site” and Labour MP Jess Phillips added: “She must ensure she’s not partnering a site that’s potentially encouraging violence against women.”

A spokesperson for Ann Summers told The Sun on Sunday that the chain has now cut its ties with Pornhub because “We did not feel our brand could sit alongside the content that appeared on the site.”