when the end may actually justify the means

October 9, 2012

lexi belle

Ok, so it’s not the most tactful and well thought out fundraiser for breast cancer research ever, but at least PornHub’s heart was in the right place when it announced that it would donate one cent per every 30 views of adult videos in certain obvious categories. It might seem rather low but considering that adult ads pay a few dollars per 1,000 views, they’re actually taking a pretty good chunk out of their revenues and that’s before we account for the considerable bandwidth expenses. Wouldn’t you know it though, nobody seems to want to take their money lest cancer research be forever tainted with the scent of porn. I mean come on, follow the logic, first science takes cash from adult entertainment and next thing you know, the morality genes in cancers are going to get wise to what went into making the treatments and refuse to let the tumors die when doused with a new experimental therapy. Cancers have prudish morality genes, right?

Now, certainly, I can understand why high profile non-profits wouldn’t want to be associated with porn and why they would find the idea of raising money through soliciting views of graphic adult videos to be rather crass and exploitative. And we can even go as far as to say that millions of dollars in free-floating research funds aren’t exactly stuck in a moralistic limbo so it’s not a major problem per se. However, we do need to consider that cancers don’t exactly care about funding sources for their treatment and a therapy made possible by money from porn tycoons may work just as well or even better than money raised through a corporate fundraiser or religious charity drives because in the end, all money is green — at least in the United States — and all of it can enable researchers to do more experiments, conduct more basic research, and test more ideas for effectively fighting cancerous tumors or even preventing them in the first place.

There are times when appearances are important and we have to be discriminating about how the money we use for R&D gets to the researchers to prevent conflicts of interest and attempts at whitewashing serious misdeeds, but there are also times when any cash should be accepted because the problem it’s supposed to help solve cares nothing about our opinions on sexuality, entertainment, or values. Cancers claim both crime bosses and selfless givers, prostitutes and prudes, ardent fundamentalists and atheists. Right now we’re at a stage when we know enough about cancers to start fighting them but not nearly enough to subdue them, and we’ll need a lot more money, time, and hard work to get to our goal of keeping patients in permanent remission, money for which we often have to beg, time we rarely have, and work few are qualified to do. So to reject any donation meant to fight such a complex and widespread problem for political and prudish purposes is a luxury that we really can’t and shouldn’t be willing to afford.

[ illustration: porn starlet Lexi Belle ]

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  • Bruce Coulson

    This is a case where everyone’s vested interest (well, everyone’s but the cancer) are involved. It’s clear why the porn site chose to do this; it gets them some legitimacy and good PR, maybe even some more hits. (“But honey, I’m really donating money towards fighting breast cancer!”) Also, their models have breasts (well, most of them) and so it helps with keeping their contractors happy. So, yes, they’re donating the money for reasons other than pure altruism. Like every other business that donates money to causes. Yet researchers seem to have no trouble with taking money from other companies that donate solely to get PR and lower their tax rate.

  • Greg Fish

    I don’t believe that the researchers are rejecting the money, it’s the charities which are supposed to distribute those funds to researchers. In case of the Susan G. Khomen foundation, the sum that the researchers will see is downright paltry, maybe 15% of donations.

  • Paul451

    Perhaps that’s the solution. To allow researchers to directly apply for PornHub funding, instead of PornHub going through existing charities.