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OnlyFans reverses course, says it won’t ban porn. But sex workers are wary

August 25, 2021, 3:07 PM UTC
Sex workers who have used OnlyFans are wary of the site’s porn ban reversal.
Joaquin Sarmiento—AFP/Getty Images

Less than a week after announcing it would ban sexually explicit content on Oct. 1, OnlyFans has changed its mind.

In an early morning tweet on Wednesday, the company said it would no longer make the policy change. But sex workers, who make up a sizable percentage of the site’s content creators, were skeptical about the sincerity of the announcement.

“We have secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community and have suspended the planned October 1 policy change. OnlyFans stands for inclusion, and we will continue to provide a home for all creators,” the company wrote.

That would imply that it had cleared up the unspecified issues with banks. Founder and CEO Tim Stokely told the Financial Times on Aug. 24 that three major banks—Bank of New York Mellon, Metro Bank, and JPMorgan Chase—refused to offer service to the platform because of “reputational risk.”

But use of the word “suspended” in OnlyFans’ announcement instead of something more permanent like “scrapped” has been a red flag for some adult content creators. Many suspect the decision was made after users began to abandon the platform and creators moved their content over to sites like Justfor.fans, OnlyFans’ chief competitor, which was founded by and is staffed by sex workers and adult entertainment industry veterans.

Some sex workers noted that they have seen their subscriber numbers drop dramatically since the announcement and called for the company to lower its fees on a temporary basis. (The site collects 20% of all model income.)

OnlyFans had net revenue of $375 million last year and expects $1.2 billion this year, per a pitch deck obtained by Axios. It claims to have over 7 million paying “fans” per month and to have shelled out $3.2 billion to its creators since the company’s launch.

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