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Mia Khalifa catapulted to fame via PornHub and still remains a top search despite resigning. Here's what you need to know.

Mia Khalifa is still a top search on PornHub: Why isn’t she more rich?

Mia Khalifa was born in Beirut, Lebanon before moving to the United States in 2001. Khalifa majored in history at the University of Texas at El Paso and spent time modelling on the side – including a brief stint as a “briefcase girl” in a Mexican Deal or No Deal knockoff. She graduated in 2013 and quickly moved to Miami, where the questionably stained doors of the porn industry opened up for Khalifa in 2014. 

Mia Khalifa’s foray into the dimly lit world of adult entertainment 

A man saw Khalifa in Miami as she was crossing a street and offered her a role in some porn scenes. Khalifa sat on it for a week before giving the man a call back and agreeing to do some scenes for content producer BangBros. Khalifa was worried her parents & family might find out, but reasoned that considering the sheer volume of pornographic content produced these days, it would be impossible to actually find her.

Mia Khalifa was wrong. 

Hijab hijinks put Mia Khalifa on the world’s radar 

Mia Khalifa catapulted to fame after a BangBros scene featured her wearing a hijab during a threesome. As the clip circulated the globe and started to rank as the No. 1 clip on Pornhub, Khalifa drew attention from religious extremists and received a barrage of death threats. Khalifa’s popularity grew and opportunities followed. In 2015, the performer signed a long-term contract with BangBro’s parent company, WGCZ Holding.

Mia Khalifa continued to garner negative feedback for the hijab clip, going so far as photoshopped images of an Islamic state executioner preparing to behead her. The pressure became too much; only two weeks after signing with WGCZ Holdings, Khalifa resigned. As part of her contract with WGCZ Holdings, they controlled a website and domain name with Khalifa’s stage name.

Who owns Mia Khalifa?

Five years after Khalifa’s resignation from WGCZ Holdings, the company continues to use a website with Khalifa’s stage name, even posting in the first person. At no point has WGCZ Holdings paid for rights to using Khalifa’s likeness, or given her any rights to her content. This is a common practice in the porn industry and has also been exploited by PornHub to extract endless profits from unsuspecting performers.

Mia Khalifa is worth more than just her body

Although Mia Khalifa’s net worth is $4 million, only about $12,000 of that is from her continually popular clips on PornHub. In 2016, Khalifa was the most searched-for adult actress, and by 2018 she was still the second-highest ranked person on PornHub. Yet, in the five years since Khalifa performed in her BangBros scenes, she hasn’t seen one residual check from her content.

It’s estimated that if Mia Khalifa were a PornHub partner, she’d have made over $500,000 from her content. It’s indicative of an industry that exploits people for quick cash, enticing them to give away streaming rights for a quick paycheck up front and a claim to fame. The practice is unfortunate in the porn industry, in which performers are generally paid a one-time fee ranging between $800-$4000 per scene. 

Would Mia Khalifa be this rich without PornHub? 

It’s hard to say whether Mia Khalifa would have achieved such a giant following without her early exposure on PornHub, but most of her wealth was created from her career as a social media personality & commentator. Whether the performer owes anything to PornHub for her success is debatable, but the fact that an exploitative company retains the rights to Khalifa’s content and refuses to give them up is unsettling. 

As we begin to unravel the questions surrounding what rights users have to their likenesses on the internet, it’s important to address the sticky question of nude imagery. Selfies, videos, hidden-camera footage: all capture our private likeness and should be protected. In Mia Khalifa’s case, they’ve been circulated by other people without her continued permission, leading directly to death threats & other personal issues.

What has Mia Khalifa’s fame cost her?

Mia Khalifa’s family has distanced themselves from her, and her parents have officially stated they’re dissociated from her. Khalifa doesn’t actually want a career as an adult entertainer, but the companies that own the rights to her videos continue to promote her in that capacity. Legal documents are the only factor distinguishing these companies from those using revenge-porn clips against ex-partners. 

Mia Khalifa has her own brand now and is lucky to have developed a following, but many other people don’t have that kind of luck.

At what point does it not matter how much you get paid?

If a high-net-worth individual like Mia Khalifa can’t stop exploitative companies like PornHub from using her content, there must be something incredibly flawed with the system that protects our rights. A contract giveth and taketh rights away – but should it also consider the dignity of the individuals involved? Monetary compensation often isn’t sufficient, especially in Khalifa’s case: her life was put in danger.

Mia Khalifa should probably be richer for her work with BangBros. Systems and procedures both legal and technological must be crafted to ensure all content producers have full rights and total control over their work and likeness. In the end, it doesn’t matter how much you’re paid – if you can’t leave the house for fear of physical harm.

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  • She knowingly did porn. What did she expect?

    July 9, 2020
  • truth is, mia khalifa is a liar and has been exposed as such. or maybe you have not been keeping up with the news?

    July 17, 2020
  • I never trusted her and never will.

    October 5, 2020
  • Just want to say, if you sign on saying you willing act in and sell them the rights to some content, and receive said contractual and legally allowed compensation for it, they now own it, whatever it may be, withinn the legal confines of the law, as it should be. Don’t act in porn and not read the legally binding contract, expecting “I can just get out of selling the rights to the content.” Robert Downey Jr. can’t say he wants end game to stop circulating.

    October 31, 2020
  • I feel so bad for her and many other performers who were exploited for profit. She got only 12,000 but I felt like should should gotten much much more since she was the next big star. It makes me feel guilty about giving money to the porn industry because they don’t treat their performers well either, even though the performers are the ones who made them money. Same with any industry. It’s a shame what the USA really represents as I look deeper and deeper into it. Freedom? Not even a pint of freedom

    November 25, 2020

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