The hotel chain said in a statement:
We are making immediate changes to our global brand standards to eliminate adult video-on-demand entertainment in all our hotels worldwide. While the vast majority of our properties already do not offer this content today, this content will be phased out of all other hotels subject to the terms of their contracts. We believe in offering our guests a high degree of choice and control during their stays with us, including Wi-Fi on personal devices.
Hilton’s move has garnered kudos from industry watchers such as the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE). Dawn Hawkins, executive director of NCOSE, says she is grateful that the hotel chain will no longer be seeking profits from hardcore pornography, which inevitably leads to sexual exploitation.
“We want to publicly thank Hilton for its decision to create a safe and positive environment for all of its customers,” Hawkins said. “Hilton has taken a stand against sexual exploitation. Pornography not only contributes to the demand for sex trafficking, which is a serious concern in hotels, but it also contributes to child exploitation, sexual violence and lifelong porn addictions.”
Hawkins said that thousands of supporters contacted Hilton through the organization’s website since 2013 to state their opposition to the availability of hotel porn.
“Earlier this year, Hilton Worldwide reached out to us explaining that they were looking at making these changes and to set up a meeting to talk about these issues in person,” Hawkins said. “At the meeting, we learned that Hilton Worldwide is committed to helping curb sexual exploitation and certainly open to changing policies they have that contribute to exploitation.”
The NCOSE has subsequently removed the hotel chain from its list of “leading contributors of sexual exploitation,” otherwise known as its “Dirty Dozen List.”
The list comprises the 12 primary contributors to sexual exploitation, including American Apparel, American Library Association, backpage.com, CKE Restaurants, Cosmopolitan magazine, Department of Justice, Facebook, Fifty Shades of Grey, Sex Week, Verizon, and YouTube.
In its statement, Hilton said that “Adult video-on-demand entertainment is not in keeping with our company’s vision and goals moving forward.”
Hilton’s decision is in keeping with a broader trend to remove on-demand porn from major hotel chains. In 2012, Catholic law professor Robert P. George of Princeton teamed up with the well-known Muslim intellectual Shaykh Hamza Yusuf to write letters to the CEOs of major hotel chains asking them to consider removing hotel room pornography, noting its “degrading, dehumanizing” and objectifying nature.
Omni Hotels and Resorts also stopped selling pornography in 1998, and Marriot has said it is “phasing out” pornography sales, while the Hilton chain had previously defended its continued sales.
In 2013, Nordic Hotels – a major Scandinavian hotel chain – announced that it was eliminating pay-per-view pornography channels from its 171 hotels.
Revenue from video-on-demand services has reportedly fallen in recent years as guests bring their own movies or stream content via hotel-provided Wi-Fi.
Robert Mandelbaum, director of research information services at PKF Hospitality research, said that the “decline over the past seven years has been really dramatic, profits from on demand services have dropped by half since 2007.”
“Between 2013 and 2014 demand for pay-per-view services fell by 12 per cent, and that’s while the hotel industry is achieving record profitability,” he said.
“It’s not like we’re in the middle of a recession. The hotels themselves are full, people just aren’t paying to use these services anymore,” he said.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome