After announcing last week that it would be ban all adult content on its platform, leading to an outcry from creators and an exodus to its competitors, OnlyFans has reversed course. Adult content is (currently) here to stay on OnlyFans.
“Thank you to everyone for making your voices heard,” the company said in a tweet Wednesday. “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.”
OnlyFans had previously received praised from sex workers for providing a safe space to conduct their business. However, the site has seen a significant uptick in traffic since the beginning of the pandemic, leading it to shift its focus to content makers who don’t create explicit content.
Still, it came as a shock to many when the site announced last week that it intended to ban all adult content beginning in October, due to pressure from its banking partners and payment providers. “In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of our platform, and continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines,” the company previously said in a released statement. It pointed to companies like Mastercard who had recently updated their regulations for sites that host adult content, and to banks like JP Morgan Chase, Bank of New York Mellon, and the U.K.’s Metro Bank, who were interfering with payouts.
The backlash against the policy change was immediate and loud, with both creators and users decrying the decision. But it was perhaps Late Show host Stephen Colbert who summed up the hypocrisy of these companies’ policy positions best on his show. “They know that fans of OnlyFans are only fans of one thing, right?” he asked.
“Evidently, pornography does not live up to the high moral standards of investment bankers — unless it’s them fucking the economy,” Colbert joked. “But I do have good news for the OnlyFans fans out there. There is another place to find sexually explicit material on the internet — it’s called the internet.”
Colbert wasn’t wrong: Competitors including Fansly, JustForFans, and 4MyFans were quick to fill the void, hiring and expanding to meet demand. Other new competitors have sprung up, including Rapper Tyga (who was an OnlyFans creator) who announced his platform, MYstar, and Big Brother star Jozea Flores with his competitor site, Wonderland.
All of this led to the swift about-face by OnlyFans, who seems to have belatedly realized that turning its back on content creators and devaluing their work — much of which is sex work — that helped it reach 150 million users was perhaps not the most sustainable business model after all.