Popular adult site Pornhub's savvy marketing has gotten it scores of news coverage on everything from its promotional stunts to efforts to serve small advertisers and consumers affected by the pandemic.
But Business Insider has been unable to verify whether the executives most often quoted, like vice president Corey Price, actually exist.
Same goes for other Pornhub executives including communications director Chris Jackson, vice president of product Brett Hall, lead developer Rusty Gitalto, and marketing manager Alex Klein.
Other big online porn companies are known for flying under the radar. There have been reports with claims of sites coercing women to appear in porn videos; Pornhub has been accused of profiting off rape and abuse videos. Top executives at Canadian company Mindgeek, which owns Pornhub and other porn sites, never comment publicly.
But unlike many of its ilk, Pornhub also actively seeks press coverage.
When Business Insider asked Pornhub's longtime PR firm, 5W Public Relations, about the existence of its quoted executives, Jason Heller, VP at 5W, said the people who give statements are real but that they don't always use their full names.
"For both Pornhub and its agencies, we use discretion to guard the identities of team members who don't want their full names used publicly for personal and safety reasons and because of the unfair stigma, despite being one of the most popular sites in the world. All quotes and statements come from real people who serve in the capacities in which they are said to serve," Heller said.
A media contact for Mindgeek did not respond to a request for comment.
Pornhub has been widely covered by the likes of TMZ and CNN
His quotes appear in stories dating back to at least 2011 and press releases that are recent as this month. He's been quoted on Pornhub's supposed interest in acquiring Verizon's Tumblr last year and a letter offering to buy Twitter's Vine when it shut down in 2016.
Three journalists who have covered Pornhub said they never interacted directly with Price or other Pornhub executives and that all their quotes came via press releases or email exchanges with people who identified as Pornhub representatives Chris Jackson and Mike Williams.
The reporters said these people used multiple emails and domain names, including gmail.com and phubcommunications.com, when communicating with them. The reporters are known to Business Insider and spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid revealing details of their reporting techniques.
A phone number appearing next to the name Chris Jackson in a 2018 Pornhub press release is apparently the cell phone number of 5W VP Jason Heller, who answered when Business Insider called and later provided the company statement above.
The reporters said they received no indication that they were interacting with a PR firm while reporting on Pornhub or that the names of the executives weren't real.
Business Insider has seen no evidence that supports the existence of multiple Pornhub employees
A search by Business Insider turned up no online presence for other Pornhub execs beyond press releases or articles that quote them by name.
A blank Facebook profile created in 2016 under the name Corey Price reads "Administrative Director at Pornhub."
A Quotes.net page collecting quotes attributed to Price previously included a photo of Nuri Gulver, an executive at London ad agency Accompany who won a contest in 2014 to become Pornhub's first creative director. The image closely resembled one from a Business Insider story about that contest.
Gulver did not respond to a request for comment. The day after Business Insider emailed Gulver, his image was removed from the Quotes.net page, though it still appears in Google image searches for Corey Price. Quotes.net's parent company did not respond to an email asking who manages the page.
Other online searches led to dead ends.
Various news articles reported that a woman named Aria Nathaniel became Pornhub's social media manager in 2018. Business Insider was unable to find a public profile or contact information for Nathaniel.
5W Public Relations has never shied away from courting controversy
Pornhub's PR firm 5W is known for stunts and controversial clients like porn executive Joe Francis, The Eric Trump Foundation, and conservative advocacy group The Christian Coalition. CEO Torossian has extensive connections to President Donald Trump, Politico has reported.
In January, the firm pitched a poll claiming that 38% of Americans would not buy Corona beer during the pandemic that was covered by several major outlets including CBS. The Atlantic called the poll "misinformation," noting that the question behind that number did not concern the pandemic at all. The press release on the poll has since been deleted.
Torossian has promoted his own work for Pornhub. In February, he wrote a blog post titled "Marketing tips for all ages from Pornhub's comms strategies." In January and March, a blog called Everything-PR.com that 5W frequently advertises on published multiple stories under the byline Jim Crickell praising 5W's work for Pornhub, with one reading, "Pornhub has brilliant PR. Their PR agency in the US is 5WPR." The stories linked back to 5W's website.
Business Insider couldn't find any online appearances for Jim Crickell beyond articles on Everything-PR.com. A former 5W PR employee's LinkedIn profile lists managing that site among their duties while at the firm.
The employee did not respond to a request for comment. Torossian did not respond to a request for comment on whether his firm runs Everything-PR.com and wrote the posts attributed to Crickell.
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