Sex workers feel ‘rage and betrayal’ as OnlyFans moves to ban ‘sexually explicit’ content
After building global success off the backs of sex workers, OnlyFans yesterday (August 19) announced it would ban “sexually explicit” content later this year.
The news was first reported by Bloomberg, alongside an official quote which read: “In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of our platform, and continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines.”
“These changes are to comply with the requests of our banking partners and payout providers,” another statement issued to XBiz clarified. “We will be sharing more details in the coming days and we will actively support and guide our creators through this change in content guidelines.”
OnlyFans move is a continuation of the ‘Holy War on Porn’
Last December, a New York Times feature led to Visa and Mastercard disallowing Pornhub to process payments on their site. As a result, millions of unverified videos were purged overnight.
In an in-depth article entitled ‘The Holy War on Pornhub’, Playing The Whore author Melissa G Grant suggested that the original New York Times piece was heavily linked to Exodus Cry, a “shady Evangelical group with Trump ties” which campaigns for sex work abolition.
Payment processors have since become a key driving force in the ideological war against sex work, and have put pressure on sites like OnlyFans to comply or lose their services.
Sex workers saw it coming
In the aforementioned statement, OnlyFans indicated more information would be forthcoming for sex workers scared of losing their livelihood.
Yet this hasn’t always been the case. In the summer of 2020, sex workers reported having their accounts deleted en masse, often without payouts. The US-based Adult Performers and Actors’ Guild, essentially a sex worker’s union, were then tasked with helping adult creators recover their accounts.
OnlyFans’ vague wording on “soliciting” was often cited as a reason for deletion, allegedly with no justification. As a result, sex workers were left being made to adhere to guidelines that reportedly weren’t clear in the first place.
Similarly, the recently-released official statement indicated “some nudity would be allowed” despite the sexually explicit content ban, causing confusion as to what will actually change.
Sex worker organisations and activists took to Twitter to express their feelings on the news, which many have been anticipating since the so-called purge of OnlyFans accounts last year.
The potential income loss that many may face due to upcoming Onlyfans changes can cause duress and fear. We want to express that we are working to get answers. As this happens, we want performers to know we are here to offer support and services.
— APAG – Adult Performance Artists Guild (@APAGunion) August 19, 2021
Performers- This situation can be overwhelming. We are seeing dozens of “new platforms” fill mentions with their advertising. Be sure to do research before applying with your legal IDs and info. Make sure they’re real, legit, and established. This is a hot time for phishing— APAG – Adult Performance Artists Guild (@APAGunion) August 19, 2021
I remember warning models during a union meeting because I was outright TOLD by an Onlyfans employee that this was coming. I can also think of those who attacked me for it. I will always speak the truth regardless of the backlash it may cause because here we are.— Alana Evans (@alanaevansxxx) August 19, 2021
I don’t know if the Onlyfans news is true, but I’m BEGGING y’all to stop reaching out to creators to ask them how they feel about it right now. I’m personally vibrating like a f*cking hitachi that’s powered only by rage, malice, and betrayal. How the f*ck do you think we feel.— Savannah Solo @ Onlyfans (@savannah_solo) August 19, 2021
A search for viable alternatives to OnlyFans
Payment processors have long been a thorn in the side of the adult industry.
As such, a handful of collectives and activists have advised performers start their own mailing lists to keep fans informed on where to buy their content.
OnlyFans may be shutting down but there are other platforms out there you can use to make money. Start building a mailing list so your fans know where to find you when you do move.
— BIPOC Collective (@BIPOC_AIC) August 19, 2021
For those of you who are newer to the industry, don't panic. I remember a time before onlyfans. I actually made more money for less work then. There will always be other ways to get paid from the internet. The key is being flexible and adaptable and keeping your fans informed.— Daisy Ducati (@DaisyDucati) August 19, 2021
I've watched so many platforms come and go over the years and there's always something new. We're like the wildflowers of the internet, they can cut us down but we'll just pop back up somewhere else with twice as many. Take a breath, it's ok.— Daisy Ducati (@DaisyDucati) August 19, 2021
JustForFans is currently the leading alternative, yet founder Dominic Ford has been previously accused of sexual assault and creators have vocally condemned the 30 per cent cut. By comparison, OnlyFans took 20%.
“JustForFans was founded and built by and for sex workers and its staff is 100 per cent comprised of sex workers and people who have been in the porn industry for many, many years,” the company said in a statement, urging OnlyFans users to move over to the platform.
“We are a porn site. That will never change and we have no interest in ‘mainstreaming’.”
I would switch over but that 30% cut is awful. Onlyfans already takes 20% which is far too much. Offer a better % and we can make your site a billion $ dollar $ company like OF.— ♡Juliette Michele♡ (@BishoujoMom) August 19, 2021
It remains to be seen how the announced changes will ultimately pay out, but sex workers are again being forced to deal with instability and stigma.
Whether an alternative site does manage to flourish or not, the seemingly endless war on the porn industry is clearly taking its toll.
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