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Groupon Caves Into Pressure; Drops Porn Industry Deals Like Kink.com

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from www.portfolio.com – Groupon, which was the subject of a boycott from Morality in Media after it ran several deals that the group said were sexually exploitative has stopped adding new merchants in the adult entertainment category, but it’s not exactly committing to avoiding the niche altogether.

The Washington, D.C.-based group issued a statement this morning that it had learned that Groupon has changed its policy to prohibit sales of coupons for pornography-related activities in the wake of some 20,000 people axing their Groupon memberships in protest of several deals the morality group deemed sexually exploitative.

But the news of the victorious boycott may not have been entirely correct.

Asked whether a policy change had indeed taken place, a Groupon spokesperson sent the following response via email: “We continue to test different types of deals in markets around the country, and run categories that represent the interests of each local customer base. While we aren’t currently accepting new adult merchants, guidelines for what types of businesses we do and do not run are constantly re-evaluated on a local level.”

The change comes six weeks after MIM first raised a stink about a $28 deal being offered in San Francisco for tours of Kink, a studio that produces pornography. At the time, MIM executive director Dawn Hawkins called for others to join a boycott of the site for offering a tour of Kink, which she said advertised that it produced online videos featuring “young, sexy teens” who are “bound, whipped, objectified, and humiliated.”

Subsequently, the group called out Groupon for offering an event at the Playboy Mansion drawing more fire from MIM, which contends that even if the vouchers are not for pornographic activities (at Kink, visitors were basically looking at film sets not filming in progress), they still indirectly support the porn industry.

“Mainstream companies should stay far away from the sexual exploitation and abuse that is part and parcel of the mission of pornography companies,” Patrick A. Trueman, MIM’s president, said in a statement.

In the release, Trueman noted that Groupon management has refused to acknowledge to MIM that it changed its policy to prohibit sales of pornography related activity coupons, but that the group learned of the change through a confidential source, a business customer of Groupon, and then confirmed the policy change through a second business customer of the company.

Now, MIM says its boycott, is over, which means that supporters of its anti-porn efforts can feel free to hold hands with Groupon and skip down the street to deals town again. If, they’re in Chicago, they can even get a deal on a lullaby. But if Groupon tries anything funny … I think we all know what will happen.

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