OnlyFans Reverses Ban on Sexually Explicit Content after Backlash

Porn actresses line up at the opening of the “Venus” erotic fair in Berlin, Germany, in 2013. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

After receiving thunderous outcry and pressure from sex workers, consumers, and political commentators, OnlyFans reversed its recent prohibition of sexually explicit content on its platform.

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

Less than a week ago, the subscription service, which allows influencers to charge users monthly fees for access to their brands, many of which are sexually suggestive in nature, announced a ban on pornographic material for its gig economy employees. The ban was supposed to be effective October 1st. OnlyFans skyrocketed in popularity during the quarantine period of the pandemic, when people were sheltering in their homes with few options for recreational activity.

As reasoning for the policy change, the London-based company stated that it was to “to comply with the request of our banking partners and payment providers.” OnlyFans leaders, who are seeking funding at a valuation over $1 billion, also feared explicit content could deter potential investors and therefore stifle the platform’s growth.

“The change in policy, we had no choice — the short answer is banks,” OnlyFans founder and CEO Tim Stokely told the Financial Times Tuesday.

The decision sparked very negative reaction among the hundreds of thousands of OnlyFans participants who earn an income from selling sexually explicit photos and videos.

OnlyFans had difficulty navigating the sex worker question even prior to the policy modification. Earlier in the year, sex workers told Rolling Stone that OnlyFans was deactivating or suspending their account for violating user guidelines.

After the company announced the ban, many adult content creators who claimed to be disenfranchised by the rule then defected to competitor and alternative Fansly, a social network with a similar premise to OnlyFans.

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