Last week, adult media subscription platform OnlyFans moved to ban almost all NSFW content.
The ban was worse than anyone had imagined, and the public backlash was justifiably intense.
So intense, in fact, that OnlyFans and the payment processors whose new policies made this happen were clearly taken offguard.
On Wednesday morning, the platform announced that they are suspending those changes. They’re not banning porn.
It was not even a full week between OnlyFans announced their ban on virtually all NSFW content and this welcome reversal.
Wednesday morning, OnlyFans took to Twitter to announce the good news.
“Thank you to everyone for making your voices heard,” the tweet from the company’s official Twitter account began.
“We have secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community,” OnlyFans shared.
“And,” the platform’s tweet continued, “have suspended the planned October 1 policy change.”
“OnlyFans stands for inclusion,” the tweet concluded, “and we will continue to provide a home for all creators.”
That tweet is currently pinned to the official OnlyFans Twitter page, making it hard to miss.
In a follow-up tweet, OnlyFans shared that they would soon be releasing a message to their content creators.
Later on Wednesday morning, that message to the site’s hardworking content creators was sent out.
“Our acceptable use policy will remain the same,” the message assured OnlyFans creators.
“The proposed October 1, 2021 changes are no longer required,” the site added.
OnlyFans wrote that this is “due to to banking partners’ assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators.”
“OnlyFans is committed to providing a safe and dependable platform for all creators and their fans,” OnlyFans wrote.
Obviously, this is an imperfect situation, with many hesitant to trust this good news — or the site that betrayed them just days ago.
But it is still good news.
As evidenced by this The Onion parody, the OnlyFans news was not well-received.
Obviously, both longtime subscribers and new subscribers were stunned and unhappy.
After all, OnlyFans offers a rare amount of direct access for paying customers who can access exactly what they want from exactly the creators they like.
The most important issue, however, was the blow that this represented to the creators themselves.
We’re talking about a move that would have impacted thousands of sex workers with only a matter of weeks as notice.
OnlyFans’ proposed “policy” change amounted to widescale layoffs, in many cases targeting marginalized people who depend upon the income.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and even before, numerous sex workers turned to OnlyFans as a safe means of paying the rent.
Strip clubs closed with pandemic lockdown, and a deadly virus made full service sex work dangerous.
Well, more dangerous. FOSTA/SESTA, criminalization, and our society’s disregard for sex workers has made full service dangerous for a long, long time.
When office buildings and countless other places of in-person employment shut down, only a fraction of people were able to continue working from home.
This led to a colossal boom on OnlyFans.
Existing creators spent more time on the site, many shifting from part-time to full-time. And new creators flocked in.
With money from subscriptions, sales of specific packets of photos and video, and tips, bills were paid.
Content creators’ families were fed and housed. In an uncertain time, life went on.
OnlyFans has processed about $2 billion in payments — and gets to keep a whopping 20% of all of the action.
Sex workers turned OnlyFans into an adult media behemoth in a relatively short time.
For months, there have been warning signs that something was changing.
OnlyFans is offering a safe-for-work streaming option, but only for chefs and magicians and other non-porn, non-nude creators.
They exist. A lot of the celebrities who use the site essentially use it like a second, paid Instagram.
And that’s okay!
What’s not okay is that sex workers on the site were increasingly alarmed by how advertisements seemed to deny that they existed at all.
Then came the ban, announced on August 19.
As we covered thoroughly at the time, the outcry and backlash were immediate and thorough.
OnlyFans, however, insisted at the time that their hands were tied — by payment processors.
You can’t pay for something online without using some sort of currency, usually a credit card, a debit card, or an online equivalent.
OnlyFans’ CEO said that payment processors, including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of New York Mellon, and the U.K.’s Metro Bank were cutting them off.
Additionally, many fingers quickly pointed to MasterCard’s new, extremely strict rules on content standards for payment authorization.
It’s great that these payment processors have now reached some sort of agreement with OnlyFans so that things can continue as before.
(We don’t yet know the details behind that … and would be curious to learn more)
But obviously, these banks and card companies didn’t wake up one day after a porn-filled nightmare and decide to hate human sexuality.
There are, as it turns out, dedicated groups of people who already hate human sexuality full time.
These organizations, characterized by some as anti-sex worker hate groups, lobby governments and businesses alike with one goal.
Exodus Cry, NCOSE, and their ilk have been pushing to make it harder (and one day, impossible) for sex workers to exist.
It’s not a conspiracy theory to say that these groups have their origins in Christian dominionism.
Many people have sincerely held beliefs about sex and sexuality that relate to their faith. That is fine.
What is not fine, of course, is attempting to turn those personal beliefs into laws for the rest of the world to follow.
What makes these efforts even more sinister is that they are often in the guise of “saving” women, or even masquerade as “women’s rights.”
Obviously, not all sex workers are women. Many men and nonbinary sex workers exist, on and off of OnlyFans.
But to most of the world, all iterations of the profession are associated with women.
It is categorically absurd to characterize banning sex work as supporting women’s rights.
Right to what — to not have a job?
Telling someone else what to do with their body is a very poor way to safeguard their human rights.
OnlyFans was only the latest target of these lobbying efforts.
It was not so long ago that PornHub purged a tremendous volume of content after similar efforts. Before that Tumblr infamously banned NSFW content, even art.
Backdoor and Craigslist are also victims of sex trafficking hysteria, as the United States Senate played right into the hands of these malefactors.
What makes the OnlyFans purge different is the widespread backlash. Almost all of the coverage was pro-sex worker.
The outrage was directed at site itself and at payment processors and at the sinister groups that wanted this to happen.
Major news outlets interviewed sex workers whose families would be devasted by the ban instead of filming celebrations by hand-wringing prudes. That may have made all of the difference.