With the pandemic leaving businesses open one day and closed the next, many sex workers are turning to sites like OnlyFans as their sole source of income. But what happens when celebrities like Bella Thorne want to join in on sex work (SW) OnlyFans and see what the hype is all about? As a platform for the adult industry with the ability to speak on this I felt like sharing the buzz. There’s a reason so many are upset right now and I want to give them the acknowledgement they deserve.
Since Beyonce’s lyrics about the infamous “Demon Time” account it’s no secret that when anyone thinks OnlyFans they think adult content. Period. While there are many other types of creators on there it is notoriously interwoven with sex work. All the way down to the conception point and the CEO himself – this company is single handedly supported by who? You guessed it! Sex workers. So now that we established what this site is synonymous with let’s get to why some are not exactly thrilled.
Let’s think about the in person sex workers, the ones who did not have any type of online presence pre pandemic. These workers are now forced to catch up to those of us who have years invested in social media/content creation/broadcasting. When push came to shove most of these sex workers had to figure out SOME form of online equivalent if they did not want to brave contact with others. Where do you think the huge majority of them went? Yes, you’re paying attention! OnlyFans!
Now imagine being this internet novice, “living” off of one bullshit stimulus check, having to fight for unemployment you’ve yet to receive… and OnlyFans is your ONLY means of income. I don’t think I have to explain but for those who aren’t following- it is life or death to be able to upload a simple fucken video during a global pandemic. With so many out of work relying on this corner of the platform to pay their bills, can celebrities LARPing as sex workers please stay the fuck off OnlyFans?
Anyone not familiar with how OnlyFans works, your source of value is in DMing everyone for pay per view (PPV) messages. The social interaction and attention is what models rely on. Just three days into her experiment she has been rumored to have implemented changes to the messaging platform, due to chargebacks because of a $200 ppv that didn’t deliver what was implied. Now is this catastrophic? No, the changes made were not detrimental at a capped tip amount of $100 – however we should be asking ourselves if one person can affect a platform like this … what could we all collectively do? OnlyFans denies this is because of Bella but is it coincidence this happens in the same week? I’ll let you decide.
Countless sites even state that people such “as out-of-work strippers, sex workers, and other service industry workers have turned to OnlyFans to earn additional income” yet somehow celebrities don’t seem to fathom what that actually means. While they’re sitting in their 1/6 estates, these out of work sex workers are fighting to even keep food in their fridges. Gas in their tanks. Their bills paid on time. The most basic necessities. Why can’t celebrities take a tip from Cardi B and use the platform their own way? How many more people are going to build off of sex workers backs and then deny us the stability we deserve?
Surprisingly, as I was certain I was alone in my distaste I came to see on social media many others shared this exact moral question. Which to me is hilarious – because we are asked this question of morality all the time but somehow the question is different for the sex worker versus the celebrity. How Bella Thorne feels dignified joining a corner of a platform in the means of “research for a movie” in sex work (that is apparently not even happening) that many are relying on during a global pandemic is morally questionable. I wanted to share one Instagram account’s post called @StopSPeakingForUs because I truly feel like they were able to deliver an impactful message so eloquently.
How hard is this to grasp that the sex work community does not need another misrepresentation? We don’t need another documentary about our industry made by anyone who isn’t directly involved. How much more shadow-banning, dead hooker jokes and aesthetic vampirism can we all tolerate? How long are we going to let celebrities LARP as us without the deplatforming we face? This is why I will always stand by supporting SW platforms who aren’t as popular and care for us, because together we are the ones who ultimately decide what platforms survive.
*To those who have an opposing view, I invite you to leave a comment with your opinion on this topic. I’m not naive enough to think every single person who clicked this is in total agreement. I’m a believer that without conversation change can’t take place so please, start the conversation!