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Celebrity OnlyFans screw over creators, fans

Celebrity OnlyFans screw over creators, fans

Celebrity OnlyFans screw over creators, fans
September 03
12:18 2020

Last week, former Disney Channel star Bella Thorne said she earned $2 million in the first week on the subscription platform OnlyFans in early August, as reported by USA Today. In addition, Thorne earned a record $1 million in a single day on the social media platform. 

These earnings and the controversial new rule that limits the amount content creators can charge has sparked outrage from OnlyFans’ creators and fans. The new rule states no creator can charge over $50 for pay-per-view content and no user can tip more than $100.

Bella Thorne’s splash into OnlyFans and the subsequent changes on the site are digital gentrifications at its finest. The price changes and increased coverage are hurting the livelihoods of OnlyFans’ minority sex workers who’ve worked for years to build a fanbase and steady earnings from the site, only to be ruined by a celebrity trying to get some pocket change. 

Let’s also not forget the concern that the platform is allegedly edging sex workers out by deleting accounts as the site gains more widespread popularity, initially reported on by Rolling Stone

OnlyFans, a subscription-based social media platform, has gained popularity over the last few years as an avenue to directly sell and interact with customers since it’s founding in 2016. Creators can earn money from “fans” who pay for a monthly membership fee to view their content.

Creators can sell just about anything, from fitness routines, recipes to ASMR videos, but by far the most popular content sold are nude or NSFW photos and videos. This has opened the doors for sex workers across the world to create content in a safer space than other pornography or sex work websites as well as have greater control in who sees and buys their content. 

Since the pandemic started in March, the subscription platform has seen an increase of 75 percent in new memberships, with more than 170,000 new users each day in the early weeks of the pandemic, according to a report from the HuffPost

This isn’t Thorne’s first time delving into NSFW content. The actress made her directorial debut on the X-rated adult film “Her & Him” in 2019, which later received a Pornhub Award, according to a USA Today article

Thorne’s OnlyFans page features various photos with suggestive imagery, but no nudity or explicitly graphic photos, according to an article from Vulture. Allegedly, Thorne enticed her followers to pay $200 for a single pay-per-view nude photo (which she had confirmed in a message to a fan), only for the end product to actually be a photo of her in lingerie, according to various Twitter users who paid for her content and screenshots of their interactions with the creator. 

Thorne has since released an apology and explained herself on Twitter, citing that she “wanted to bring attention to the site, the more people on the site the more likely of a chance to normalize the stigmas” behind sex and the sex work industry. She also said she had hoped to “bring more faces to the site to create more revenue for content creators on the site.” 

Thorne’s earnings and trial run on OnlyFans has also come with backlash after an interview with the Los Angeles Times circulated where the actress states she joined OnlyFans as research for a new film.

Thorne isn’t the only high-profile celebrity to hop on OnlyFans: Cardi B, Blac Chyna, Rubi Rose, Ansel Elgort and Tana Mongeau have all contributed to the site and sold NSFW or exclusive content. 

Sex work is not an easy way to make a quick lump of cash and this notion of “easy money” only feeds the long-standing stigma behind sex work and the misogyny used to justify the objectification and manipulation of women in the adult industry, according to a Rolling Stone article. 

Yet, sex work is as valid of a career like any other, it is the oldest profession in the world. Celebrities gentrifying a space where sex workers and other creators can control and make a living simply for “fun” or for a “project” isn’t helping to alleviate the sex work stigma nor help OnlyFans’ sex workers. 

For many OnlyFans’ creators, this platform is their livelihood and main hustle to make end’s meet, especially after the waves of unemployment from the pandemic. The U.S. creators aren’t just vendors, they’re their own photographers, marketers, managers and accountants for their OnlyFans business and brand, not some fun side hustle to earn a couple of hundred bucks. 

Celebrities aren’t solely reliant on OnlyFans to earn a living — their brand deals, salaries, royalties, social media earnings and other revenue streams keep their net worth in the millions and their pockets overflowing with cash. They already have the massive platform, following and revenue streams to keep their heads up during pandemic and post-pandemic. 

Scamming your fans and hurting the rest of the sex work industry for pocket change to add to your estimated $12 million net worth and “research” for a possible film is not the way to go about doing business nor acting, Ms. Thorne. 

Featured Illustration by Olivia Varnell

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Sarah Berg

Sarah Berg

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