OnlyFans Creators React to Site’s Porn Ban With Anger, Confusion

·5-min read

OnlyFans is pulling the rug out from under the sex workers and performers who turned it into a billion-dollar business. And those who have relied on OnlyFans as their key source of income are furious at the about-face.

As of Oct. 1, OnlyFans will ban all photos and videos depicting “sexually explicit conduct,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform, and to continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines.”

More from Variety

OnlyFans, which calls itself “a subscription social platform revolutionizing creator and fan relationships,” said the “changes are to comply with the requests of our banking partners and payout providers.”

“onlyfans is just another example of how these large platforms use sex workers to build their audience then pull support once they no longer deem them beneficial,” @JennaLynnMeowri, a Twitch streamer who has accounts on OnlyFans, YouTube and other platforms, wrote on Twitter.

“[A]s someone who does sex work on [OnlyFans], i’m angry for every creator that has relied on OF for an income just to be thrown out. this is so fucked up,” creator @jasminericegirl tweeted. She also said, “i’ve dealt with all sorts of leaks, harassment, abuse, rape threats and death threats, all while onlyfans ignores my emails for help and takes 20% of everything that i make.” Jasmine said she was deleting all her content on OnlyFans, and directed followers to her “PG-13” page on Fanhouse.

An OnlyFans performer who calls herself Savannah Solo implored people to stop reaching out to creators to ask them how they feel. “I’m personally vibrating like a f*cking hitachi that’s powered only by rage, malice, and betrayal,” she tweeted. “How the f*ck do you think we feel.”

Some creators slammed not only OnlyFans but also anti-pornography groups that have pressured credit-card processors like Visa and Mastercard to cut ties with adult-oriented services.

“The decision is puritanical because @onlyfans decided to submit to @Mastercard’s religious anti-porn group inspired policy,” Mary Moody, a performer with accounts on OnlyFans, Chaturbate and other sites, tweeted. “Legislators need to know this policy has created a human rights and worker rights disaster, and help us fight financial discrimination of sex work.”

According to OnlyFans, content containing nudity will still be allowed on site “as long as it is consistent with our Acceptable Use Policy.” It’s not clear what type of imagery will be OK going forward; OnlyFans said it will provide more details soon and pledges to “actively support and guide our creators through this change in content guidelines.”

“I’m extremely confused about what is changing regarding the content that is and is not allowed on Onlyfans, so this is just… a normal Thursday?” Savannah Solo quipped.

The Adult Performance Artists Guild labor union blasted OnlyFans’ policy change and said that most creators on the platform are adult performers who make their entire living on the site.

“[W]e instantly recognize the financial despair and destruction this will cause our community,” the union said in a statement. “As anti-porn organizations celebrate, we brace ourselves for the crisis this will likely cause. Workers in our industry have families to care for, and this change will push many into potential homelessness.”

Meanwhile, the move by OnlyFans to ban porn also comes after it reportedly was stonewalled in fundraising efforts. This spring, the company went out to pitch investors but “Several deep-pocketed firms quickly passed, not even engaging in serious due diligence,” Axios reported Thursday. “Sex sells,” Axios’ Dan Primack wrote, “but it also scares off venture capitalists.”

Founded in 2016, OnlyFans anticipated revenue more than tripling in 2021 — to an estimated $1.2 billion, up from $375 million last year, per the Axios report, citing the company’s presentation for prospective backers. But the drastic change in the OnlyFans business model to prohibit X-rated material will surely put a dent in its revenue prospects.

OnlyFans claims it has paid out $5 billion to more than 2 million creators to date, with a base of 130 million-plus registered users. According to its terms, the company keeps 20% of revenue generated by creators.

As part of its shift away from NSFW content, OnlyFans this week officially launched OFTV, a free streaming service that will not include any sexually explicit material. OFTV features original content from more than 100 OnlyFans creators, spanning fitness, cooking, comedy, health, music and more. OnlyFans earlier this year soft-launched the on-demand streaming service, which now features a content library of over 800 videos.

Rival social-media subscription platforms have jumped at the opportunity to bash OnlyFans’ decision to ban explicit content, as they look to attract creators to their own platforms.

Isaac Hayes III, son of the legendary R&B singer, is the founder of Fanbase, a social media startup that lets creators charge $3.99/month for exclusive content. Hayes, in a statement about OnlyFans’ change in policy, said, “This is disgraceful to the users of that platform. They’ve made billions off that user base, but it’s exactly what these platforms do. Discard the users who make it popular once they get what they want.”

That said, Fanbase also bans porn. The company’s terms of use says users may not post content that is “pornographic or obscene, including any images, photos, or videos (real or digitally created) that show sexual intercourse, oral sex, genitals or details of full buttocks, or female nipples (other than those showing women breast feeding or post-surgery scarring).”

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting