Bella Thorne Screwed Over Sex Workers on OnlyFans—and Her Apology Isn't Enough
"Could YOU at YOUR job survive a sudden 85% paycut & monthly payday?"
Bella Thorne's presence on OnlyFans has been an unwelcome one to many sex workers and other content creators who rely on the platform to make a living. Since Thorne created her account two weeks ago, OnlyFans has established new rules that put caps and holds on payments, and many users are blaming the actress for these livelihood-threatening changes.
The new rules come after Thorne allegedly shared a $200 pay-per-view (PPV) photo with a promise of nudity that actually just contained a photo of her in lingerie. Because so many people allegedly requested refunds, and caused OnlyFans to lose money in response, many users are pointing to Thorne's fake-out photo as the reason for the $50 cap on PPV content and the $100 tip maximum.
OnlyFans has also put a longer hold on payments, increasing the amount of time funds are pending on the app from seven to 30 days—which puts creators who are living paycheck to paycheck in even more vulnerable positions.
OnlyFans creator Erika Heidewald shared an example scenario on Twitter to explain how these caps could be especially harmful for those who rely on the platform to pay their bills.
"PPV messages are frequently used by sex workers to sell more explicit content," she writes. "Let’s say you’re selling a video of you sucking your boyfriend’s dick. If you sell that for $50, OF keeps 20%, so you get $40. BUT you have to pay taxes on that. Maybe you get $30-32."
She continued: "Is it worth it to you to sell videos of yourself sucking dick for a maximum of $32? Can you make a living at it? What if you used to sell them for $150 or $200, can you survive a paycut like that? Could YOU at YOUR job survive a sudden 85% paycut & monthly payday?"
Thorne has responded to the backlash in a series of tweets, writing that she was trying to remove the stigma behind sex work by "bringing a mainstream face to it."
She continued, writing, "I wanted to bring attention to the site, the more people on the site the more likely of a chance to normalize the stigmas, And in trying to do this I hurt you." The actress also pointed to the porn film she directed "against the high brows" of her managers as evidence of her past efforts to destigmatize sex and sex work.
Despite this, many have argued that Thorne's celebrity status and position of privilege have prevented her from experiencing the same stigma and risks that many sex workers commonly face. This privilege has also helped grant her direct communication with OnlyFans management.
Thorne tweeted that she was meeting with people behind the platform to find out more about the new restrictions. "This is fucked up and I'm sorry," she wrote. "Comment any ideas or concerns you want brought up to OF!! and send me your links and a pic so I can promote you guys."
While some creators have responded to the thread with links to their accounts, others have been voicing their frustrations, pointing out the double standard in how the site is prioritizing communication with Thorne versus creators who have been on the platform for much longer.
Others are commenting on Thorne's plans to make a movie from her OnlyFans experience urging her to step aside from the role or at least collaborate with actual sex workers in order to provide more authentic representation.
Many content creators are also urging Thorne to redistribute the millions she's already made from OnlyFans back into the hands of sex workers. According to the Los Angeles Times, Thorne has shared plans to put her profits toward her production company and charity, though there aren't specifics on how much money will be going where.
Head to Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) to find out more about what you can do to protect and advocate for the rights of sex workers across the country.