ORANGE, Texas (CN) - Operators of Texxxan.com, a "revenge porn" website that hosts semi-nude and nude images of ex-girlfriends, cannot re-launch the site, a judge ruled.
Men use the site to post humiliating intimate photos and private facts about their ex-girlfriends without permission, according to a class action 17 women filed
in January against the site, web host GoDaddy.com and all of its subscribing members, among others.
"This website is significantly designed to cause severe embarrassment, humiliation, and emotional distress to all of the women plaintiffs, and to all the women victims that are sought to be named as plaintiffs through class-action certification," the complaint alleged. "The defendants who own this website, or who contribute to its contents, or who subscribe to this website, are fully aware that they do not have permission from any of the women victims to publish their photographs or their other personal information. As such, the defendants ... are all acting in a deliberately reprehensible manner to participate in activity that they know to be malicious, hurtful and harmful."
Orange County District Court Judge Buddie Hanh ordered an injunction after a hearing on April 16, the Beaumont Enterprise first reported.
He ordered the website's administrators to hand over photographs and information from Texxxan.com within 15 days.
Hunter Thomas Taylor, of Orange, Texas, and his parents, Sandra and Kenneth Taylor, also of Orange, were later named as defendants in the lawsuit, as well as Austin Ray Ponthieu, also of Orange. Attorneys for Hunter Taylor's parents and for Ponthieu told the judge their clients have had no involvement with Texxxan.com.
Plaintiffs' attorney John Morgan of Beaumont told the judge that GoDaddy shut the site down for copyright infringement, but then it allowed the administrators to purchase the Texxxans.com domain and repost content from the previous site.
GoDaddy then hosted the new site, Morgan said.
Several of the plaintiffs and their families were present at the hearing, the Enterprise reported.
"Y'all should feel good about the results today," Morgan told them, according to the article.
GoDaddy had sought dismissal as a defendant, arguing that the Federal Communications Decency Act gives immunity to Onternet service providers and companies like it that host web content created by third parties.
Hanh denied the motion the next day in a letter to attorneys.
Morgan applauded the ruling, deeming it "the right decision under the current law," according to the Beaumont Enterprise.
"I don't believe they have immunity under federal law because revenge porn is not lawful pornography," Morgan reportedly said. "It is a criminal enterprise. I'm not suing them under federal law. The Communications Decency Act does not preempt state law."
The plaintiffs claim the website serves no useful, social or economic purpose, that it is "merely a blight upon society and a sick, cowardly enterprise for the specific purpose of inflicting emotional distress and harm upon each and every plaintiff."