News

Bella Thorne has apologised to sex workers for recent OnlyFans changes, but people aren’t happy

Bella Thorne joined OnlyFans to “remove the stigma behind sex work”, but it appears she may have done way more damage than good.

Without any warning, content subscription service OnlyFans have put a cap on how much money their users can make from selling their content. Many believe these new limits have been put into place due to former Disney Channel star, Bella Thorne, recently joining the platform.

Now Thorne has issued an apology to sex workers; however, many feel this is not enough.

onlyfans, sexwork, bella thorne, rights, equal pay

We are definitely lucky enough to be living in an age where sex work is significantly less taboo than it was, say, 30 years ago; but there is still a long way to go (prostitution is illegal across most of the United States). Just like any other career, sex work requires a lot of effort to be able to maintain a profitable income. If these sudden changes to OnlyFans have shown anything, it’s that sex workers who rely on technology platforms for their income can have their entire livelihoods drastically affected when policy changes are made with little or no warning.

Recently, the site introduced new rules, limiting the amount of money content creators can earn. Several creators have reported the site has capped the pay-per-view rates at $50 per photo or video, instituted a 30-day payout plan (meaning users will have to wait a month before they are able to transfer their earnings from the site to their bank accounts), and made it so that tips are unable to exceed $100.

These changes have come only a week after Bella Thorne joined the platform and made over $2 million in less than a week – the timing of which everyone agrees is a tad suspicious.

In a statement to Rolling Stone, OnlyFans has denied that these changes are related to any one user, stating: “Transaction limits are set to help prevent overspending and to allow our users to continue to use the site safely. We value all of the feedback received since this change was implemented and we will continue to review these limits.” 

Sex workers have heavily criticised Thorne for joining the site and using her privilege as a white cis celebrity to skew the wider public’s understanding of how much work is actually required to use OnlyFans in order to maintain a reliable and profitable income.

“I am concerned that some sex workers will start selling content at prices lower than what they are actually comfortable with due to these new financial pressures,” Canadian sex worker Rebecca Madison told VICE News. “This may be fun and games for Bella, but these are our jobs. These are our lives. This is how we pay rent and buy food.”

Madison, who had a mainstream job before the pandemic occured, has been using her earnings from OnlyFans as a primary source of income. Other workers revealed that they were previously receiving tips as high as $1,000, an amount which is considerably more than the $100 limit. OnlyFans also take a 20% cut of all earnings made.

Following the backlash, Bella Thorne took to Twitter to post a lengthy apology:

It is unclear how Thorne would be able to change any of the new OnlyFans policies, considering the company has stated the changes were not made due to her. Since her post was made, thousands of people have commented, urging her to donate her profits to organisations that assist sex workers or to workers directly on the platform.

Many have also mentioned that the next time she tries to help the sex work community, she should use her platform to amplify the voices of those actually in the community and help fight for sex workers’ rights.

An escort and solo porn content creator told Pedestrian TV, “I think she should use the traction she’s gained from this to fight for sex workers’ rights and the need for there to be laws separate from those in reference to sex trafficking, paedophilia and child porn. While these laws are excellent in combating rape they also currently affect the rights that consenting legal adults have.”

 

Check out Scarlet Alliance for ways that you can be an ally for the sex work community.