OnlyFans Pivot Leaves Fewer Options For Adult Content Creators – The Hollywood Reporter
Siri Dahl was on a hair-raising date on August 19 when she heard the news: OnlyFans, the platform she relies on 90% of her income on, is reportedly banning sexually explicit photos and videos from October.
But Dahl, a creator and adult movie star, hasn’t learned anything from OnlyFans. Instead, she received a text from another reporter whom she had not spoken to for several months, asking her: Did you hear?
“Without even having any context, I immediately knew absolutely,” says Dahl. “OnlyFans had made an announcement. I just knew it.
She quickly took to Twitter, refreshing her feed to find articles and more information on what OnlyFans was up to. She also received a screenshot of the email ad OnlyFans sent to the media, which stated that “sexually explicit conduct” would be banned on the platform, but nudity – as long as it complied with OnlyFans’ acceptable use policy – would be allowed.
“It doesn’t surprise me that they just prefer to blind us all simultaneously,” Dahl says. “It has the effect of making us frozen and unable to really make decisions about anything because of the vagueness they are approaching it. [with]. “
On August 20, OnlyFans updated its acceptable use policy to clarify “sexually explicit conduct” as actual or simulated sex, including “genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital or oral-anal , between people of any sex ”; masturbation, “material representing bodily fluids commonly secreted during sexual conduct” and “any exposure of the anus or genitals of any person that is extreme or offensive”. Content that falls within OnlyFans’ definition of sexually explicit conduct must be removed by December 1 “or such other date” communicated to users by the company, according to the policy.
But regardless of how OnlyFans decides to enforce these new rules, the sex workers who spoke with Hollywood journalist say it’s a cycle they’re all too familiar with: one platform becomes popular and makes money off the backs of sex workers, only to seemingly ditch those creators later when they’re too closely associated or are under pressure from external trading partners.
It’s a similar situation to when Tumblr banned pornography, and crowdfunding site Patreon began suspending the pages of adult content creators in 2018, citing pressure from payment processors. MasterCard, Visa and PayPal have also cut ties with PornHub, forcing artists to find other payment options for their work.
When OnlyFans arrived on the scene in 2016, the platform was praised for being a haven for adult content creators – especially those from under-represented backgrounds who may have struggled to find work. in the traditional adult film industry – to monetize their work, even if they had to give up a 20 percent cut to the platform.
But with Thursday’s announcement, OnlyFans indicated that demands from banking partners and payment providers were the reason for upcoming rule changes regarding sexually explicit content. The company is struggling to find outside investors at a $ 1 billion valuation because Axes reported, and upcoming changes from MasterCard, which has said it will implement stricter rules around pornography and require artists to verify their identities, among other changes, have only added to additional complications to OnlyFans’ ability to seek investors.
“Banks and other financial partners are introducing more controls. We want to ensure the sustainability of our business and the decision we make makes us more acceptable to these people, ”said Guy Stokely, Chief Financial Officer of OnlyFans. Financial Time.
In a press release sent to THR, a spokesperson for MasterCard said the company was only made aware of OnlyFans’ decision through news reports on Thursday. “It is a decision that they have come to themselves,” said the spokesperson.
But in responding to requests from funding partners, sex workers who spoke with THR say OnlyFans is putting many sex workers back into a financially precarious situation they had previously gotten out of because of the platform.
“There is a power dynamic that we don’t often talk about. It’s almost like OnlyFans has created some amazing things and we are partners and we make them great. But the reality is, we can’t create the same structure when they pull the rug out from under us, ”Jet Setting Jasmine, psychotherapist, sex worker, and content creator who runs a production company with her partner. Black King, said. “We cannot approach a bank as a sex worker and create this structure for ourselves. “
Creators and political experts say evangelical groups and lobbyists have long pressured banking institutions to penalize the creators of adult entertainment, even though the work they do is legal, under the banner of trying. to put an end to the trafficking in human beings or the exploitation of children.
“Pornography has been declared separate from prostitution since People against Freeman in 1988, ” Sinnamon Love, a veteran sex worker, black feminist pornographer and founder of the BIPOC Adult Industry Collective, says. “It’s a legal industry. The way these anti-porn lobbyists try to equate pornography with prostitution and pornography with exploitation is really trying to roll back a federal government [ruling]. “
Mike Stabile, spokesperson for the Free Speech Coalition, says banks and credit card companies are “uniquely placed to be vulnerable” to the influence of anti-porn lobbyists and evangelical groups because they are conservative and “risk averse” institutions.
“It’s already a sector of the economy that is very reluctant to be associated with sex work, and so if these groups can come in and add language about trafficking, if they can add language about illegal content, that it doesn’t take much to move that needle, ”says Stabile.
On the contrary, having fewer options for earning money can push sex workers into riskier situations, according to the Adult Industry Laborers & Artists Association.
“Those who earn an income safely online through OnlyFans can now be coerced into riskier street sex work or even pushed into sex trafficking because of MasterCard’s anti-sex work policies,” said Mary Moody, co-chair of AILAA. in an email.
Some sex workers have turned to cryptocurrency because they find themselves shunned by traditional banking institutions. But without traditional payment options to help prove their income, sex workers find themselves at a disadvantage when they seek government assistance or housing.
“Even if you only earn $ 140 a month on OnlyFans, being able to prove that it gives you access to other resources that you might need,” says Love.
And when it comes to daily income, creators who have come to rely on OnlyFans to pay for their housing find themselves in limbo waiting for OnlyFans to provide more clarity on their upcoming policy changes.
“It’s pretty terrifying,” Dahl said. “I bought a house [earlier this year]. So I’m sitting here going Costs. Am I going to lose my house?“
Billy Procida, actor and host of The whore podcast, says OnlyFans used to cover their rent in New York. “If they say we can’t do sex acts, I don’t know if I should keep doing my OnlyFans or not,” he says. “I don’t know what kind of income I’m going to earn. “
In the meantime, there is one thing creators can do while waiting for the OnlyFans saga to end: diversify their audience and their online presence. It’s the exact same refrain that TikTok users repeated when the threat of a TikTok ban in the United States seemed imminent.
“It’s not smart as an entrepreneur to have all of your eggs in one basket,” says Amberly Rothfield, a model marketing consultant who has worked in the adult industry for over 16 years.
Love recommended that other creators create SFW websites so that clients and fans can subscribe to mailing lists and continue to search for them elsewhere if they ever had to leave OnlyFans due to the explicit ban. of content. Advocacy groups like the BIPOC collective are also running educational programs in September that will help creators adapt to the changes and expand their presence elsewhere.
“The adult industry will see it. That’s what we do well, ”says Rothfield. “We have to be because we continue to be persecuted.”
As for viewers?
“People will follow the porn. They always do, ”Jasmine says. “That’s how we got here, isn’t it?” “