Bella Thorne OnlyFans Stunt Confuses Existing Platform Stars


UPDATE: AUGUST 31, 2020 – Bella Thorne has apologized to critics for her use of OnlyFans.

“I hurt you and I’m so sorry,” Thorne tweeted, aimed at sex workers who use the platform and who felt that their actions threatened their ability to continue to do so. “I wanted to bring attention to the site, the more people there were on the site, the more likely it was to normalize the stigma.”

In response to allegations that she billed clients for nude photos that she did not intend to deliver, the New York Post reports that the offer may have come from a third party who purported to simply be Thorne’s account, though details remain unclear.

One thing is clear is that the film project Thorne claimed to be researching is not going to develop as she intended. She had stated that she was working with Mandarin and the Florida Project filmmaker Sean Baker on the upcoming feature film, but Baker has made it clear he’s not involved.

“I am NOT attached to this project,” he posted on Twitter. Baker says he had a first conversation with Thorne about an idea that would have, at some point in the future, seen Thorne join OnlyFans. “On this call, I advised her team to consult with sex workers and talk about how they are doing NOT harming the sex industry. This has been the extent of my involvement.

Efirst disney channel Star Bella Thorne made headlines with her stellar debut on OnlyFans, an online platform that allows fans of individual artists to pay for access to exclusive subscriber content. Charging $ 20 per month for subscriptions, Thorne raked in $ 1 million in his first day on the platform, and a total of $ 2 million in less than a week – but not everyone is impressed with Thorne’s manna.

She doesn’t know anything about the real struggle to be a sex worker, ”says Kel, a person who created content on OnlyFans before Thorne arrived. “She’s just another bored millionaire trying to be a culture vulture.”

Kel is among those who claim that Thorne not only took advantage of the platform too much, but threw a “bait and a switch” on her own clients.

Thorne reportedly sent a message promising fully nude photos of herself to users willing to pay $ 200 to open the file. The message did not contain what some users expected, triggering a wave of refund requests. As a result, the sources claim that OnlyFans has changed the rules for all content creators on the platform, setting caps on how much they can charge for pay-per-view content or receiving tips, and slowing down payments. payment terms from seven days to 30 days.

These changes can have a dramatic impact on the creators of OnlyFans who rely on their revenue from the platform, and have only further fueled the frustrations many existing creators have expressed about Thorne’s approach. towards the site.

How dare she enter our territory, rip off our customers, then cause such a mess that the platform decides to screw us up with ‘updated terms’ instead of banning it, ”smokes Kel .

In theory, OnlyFans can be used by any type of content creator to post premium content for paid subscribers, similar to services like Patreon or Substack. But, in practice, the main users of the platform, and those with whom the OnlyFans brand is most associated, are sex workers. Particularly in the midst of the pandemic, when in-person sex work became more dangerous and jobs in many industries simply dried up, a flood of adult content creators found a way to practice their trades. wherever they are in the world.

OnlyFans was founded four years ago, but since March 2020, the company has reported that its user base has nearly doubled every month. Much of this is due to the pandemic, but part of the increase in attention has come from a wave of pop culture cachet associated with the brand, including screams from stars such as Beyoncé, FKA Twigs and Cardi B.

For OnlyFans Content Creator Rebecca Madison, the attention these artists gave offered something positive that Thorne’s drop-in didn’t.

“I think one of the main differences between the way Cardi B and Bella Thorne talk about sex work is that Cardi B is an advocate and ally for sex workers. Every time I have a bad day I put on a Cardi B song and it makes me feel better because I know there is someone in an influential position who really understands me and cares about my community ”, Madison said. “I also feel like Cardi B didn’t abandon us when she first became famous, which I appreciate more than she’ll ever know.

In contrast, Madison says, Thorne’s arrival on the platform looked like a dilettante “meddling in sex work while ignoring the plight of sex workers,” and exploiting an audience built by professionals who put themselves out there. danger.

“It’s very difficult work, and in many ways our industry is stigmatized and criminalized, but the buzz around its story has made it all light and fun, even funny,” Madison says of the hype around Thorne. . “In reality, sex workers are marginalized and vulnerable workers who could really benefit from celebrities using their platforms to advocate for a complete decriminalization of the sex industry, which would protect us the most from the harms associated with sex work.

Critics say the problem is compounded by the perception that much of the work to raise awareness of the platform has been done, in particular, by sex workers at BIPOC, and Thorne, a white woman, has cashed in without acknowledging the work of these people.

While many celebrities and artists, from rappers The-Dream and Swae Lee to “Real Housewife” Sonja Morgan, have created accounts on OnlyFans to promote their work and provide exclusive online content to those willing to pay some money. Modestly, Thorne’s use of the site was somewhat different. Many in the audience thought she would use it for adult content – albeit more in the style of provocative bikini photos – which may have fueled the excitement to shell out the $ 20 subscription price. $ (the creators of the platform set their own subscription fees; Cardi B, for example, the fee of $ 4.99 per month).

Then came a statement from Thorne’s camp that she was posting to the service to research a potential role in a movie about people who actually make a living doing it.

“This is a feature that we are looking for as far as I am currently experiencing it,” Thorne said to Los Angeles Time concerning the concept of the potential film. “What are the ins and outs? What does a platform like this do to its users? What is the connecting material between your life and your life in the world of OnlyFans? “

Thorne hiding her allure in the online sex work space with the “acceptability” of an actress looking for a role is ill-placed to OnlyFans creator Savannah Solo.

“If she wants to jump on OnlyFans and sell implied nudity, be my guest,” Solo says. “Sex work is a costume that she takes off at the end of this ‘research’ without impact on her career or her personal life. It makes millions richer out of it, while the little creators who know what to expect on their pages just have to work harder to gain the trust of the public. […] At least have the courage to say that you wanted to make some more money with your underbust. “

Solo notes that while Thorne’s multi-million dollar salary made headlines, many of these little creators are often overlooked.

“The media focused on covering his record earnings and his ‘exciting new project,’” says Solo. “The media don’t like to talk about the real successes of sex workers because they don’t want to promote them as a valid line of work.”

Madison is among creators who have lived on the site full-time but, amid post-Thorne changes to its payment structure, are wondering if it will be able to continue to do so.

“I worked as an escort for many years, then I left the sex industry for a regular job,” she says. “When the pandemic struck and I was unsure of the impact of my work, I decided to launch an OnlyFans as a sort of back-up plan.

Soon, this relief plan was her only source of income, which she says she is grateful for having been able to cope with the health and economic crisis. But cuts to pay-per-view fees and tips – something many on Twitter have attributed to OnlyFans scrambling to pay for Thorne’s surge in income and keep more regular control over cash flow at home. future – could end this.

“I discovered the changes from my colleagues on Twitter who were posting about it. I was really shocked and upset, and immediately logged into my own account to see that the changes were, in fact, real. This is all happening so fast, and it’s hard to say what the impact will be, but I expect to lose thousands of dollars a month in income as a result of these changes, ”she says.

“The pandemic once caused me to quit a job,” says Madison. “And now, Bella Thorne’s behavior made me come out of another.”

The creators of OnlyFans are also concerned that as more celebrities and members of the general public join the platform – some may be inspired by Thorne’s success – the prices they can settling for virtual sex work will eventually decline due to a saturation of supply, perhaps to the point where it is no longer a viable source of income. And the sex workers who are credited with building OnlyFans up are perhaps the ones who have the most to lose.

“The people who are going to be evicted or affected the most are the most marginalized, as this could potentially limit the benefits even further,” says OnlyFans creator Paige Savage. “As a plus size black and brown designer I’m deeply concerned about finances, especially now. I have observed how the last recession particularly affected black and brunette women. “

Savage notes that the OnlyFans system is structured to penalize performers who ask their audiences to send funds to them through external payment systems such as Venmo or CashApp to top up the higher fees they were previously able to charge. .

“My first gig straight out of graduate school with a master’s degree was offering $ 36,000, and that was after some tough negotiations. For three years I struggled and racked up credit card debt to get by and abstained from my student loans, ”says Savage. “OnlyFans gave me a moment to finally breathe and feel a little more financially secure.”

RELATED: How Los Angeles activists and allies are fighting to end violence against sex workers

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