Left with Little Money, Pushed to Degrading Acts, Exposed to Risks
“Content Creators” Left with Little Money, Pushed to Perform Degrading Acts, and Exposed to Threats and Stalking
Many of the “content creators” on OnlyFans are those struggling to make ends meet, worrying about paying bills and being able to feed their families. This has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic with millions of people out of work and without income. To make matters worse, the majority of those creating content for OnlyFans have trouble making anywhere near enough money to survive, despite putting in hours of work every day. Additionally, OnlyFans takes a 20% cut of “creator” earnings, and creators must make $200 before they’re able to withdraw any of the money. Despite all of this effort put in and minimal return, “creators” are repeatedly put at risk.
Jobless, Selling Nudes Online and Still Struggling (New York Times: January 13, 2021)
The pandemic has taken a particularly devastating toll on women and mothers, wiping out parts of the economy where women dominate: retail businesses, restaurants and health care.
“A lot of people are migrating to OnlyFans out of desperation,” said Angela Jones, an associate professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Farmingdale. “These are people who are worried about eating, they’re worried about keeping the lights on, they’re worried about not being evicted.”
The most successful content creators are often models, porn stars and celebrities who already have large social media followings.
Elle Morocco of West Palm Beach, Fla., was laid off from her job as an office manager in July. Her unemployment checks don’t cover her $1,600 monthly rent, utility bills and food costs, so she joined OnlyFans in November.
She has made just $250 on the platform so far, despite sometimes spending upward of eight hours a day creating, posting and promoting her content.
Creators can also be subject to “capping,” a practice in which users take unauthorized screenshots or recordings and then share them elsewhere on the internet. OnlyFans creators have also received death and rape threats on social media.
Hialeah Couple Hit With Human Trafficking Charges (CBSMiami.com, January 29, 2021)
A couple from Hialeah is facing human trafficking charges after posting and selling a video of a topless underage teen on a social media website known for selling pornography.
Roberto Cuesta, 27, and Julietta Vado, 23, have been charged with human trafficking for commercial purposes, possession of a sexual performance by a child, and promoting the sexual performance by a child.
According to police, a friend of the 16-year-old recognized her from a video that was posted on the couple’s page on the website and contacted the state’s Department of Children and Families.
Police say Cuesta and Vado are live-in boyfriend and girlfriend who sell their self-produced pornography on their OnlyFans page.
Vado reportedly posted the video of the teen on her social media site and promoted it for sale with the caption ” New Content” with a link to their OnlyFans page.
When the DCF notified them that the teen was a minor, they failed to remove the video and continued to promote it for sale, according to the arrest report.
. . .an analysis by Forensic News has revealed that OnlyFans is owned by a Ukrainian-American porn entrepreneur named Leonid Radvinsky with a history of lawsuits and allegations of spam, theft, fraud, and drug dealing.
Other concerns include the uber-popular OnlyFans’ seemingly lax safeguards against possible child exploitation.
One recurring complaint that Forensic News documented by talking to various users and content creators of both [Radvinsky owned] MyFreeCams and OnlyFans was the arbitrary freezing of accounts, which left many without thousands of dollars.
“One day I had enough [of bad customer support] and told my fans not to tip for a day. Many models were going to join me. Then my account was banned in minutes,” the model who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
There’s nothing ‘empowering’ about the sex work on OnlyFans (The Spectator, April 2020)
‘Each subscriber paid me $10 a week and after the cut from OF I was left with £8. I needed to get as many subscribers as possible so I could pay my rent, which means posting new images all day every day,’ says Claudia, ‘and agreeing to more and more explicit stuff. In the end I felt exhausted and degraded and cancelled my membership.’
Then there is the girlfriend experience. OF offers men the opportunity to pay providers for a day, or however long, to behave as if they are a real date, and via messages and voice notes send instructions as to what he requires of his ‘girlfriend’.
It’s not surprising that this leads to reports of subscribers becoming obsessed with and going on to stalk the women they follow on OF. Last month it was reported that a 21-year-old woman in Australia who posted explicit content on OF was followed and harassed by a man who went on to leak her personal information online.
I heard from another woman about being sexually harassed by a subscriber after she rejected his pleas to meet up in real life. ‘He ended up tracking down my real name and mobile number,’ she told me, ‘and put up a fake advert… on a porn site.’ The young woman was soon deluged with dozens of calls and messages from men before she was forced to change her number.
How OnlyFans became the industry’s great lockdown winner – and at what cost (New Statesman: November 4, 2020)
Every now and again, a tweet by a previously unknown OnlyFans creator will go viral, as she (always she) shares photos of the house she has been able to buy “thanks to OnlyFans”. But as the blogger Thomas Hollands has found in his detailed analysis of the OnlyFans model, such rags-to-riches cases are unusual. According to Hollands’s interpretation of the data, most of the women on the platform probably make a loss, given the amount of time they spend creating content and engaging with users. The median creator attracts only 30 subscribers, but she carries just as much risk of public exposure and harassment as her more successful counterparts. The same amount of effort goes in, but a very different level of reward comes out.
The distribution of income on OnlyFans is highly unequal, with the top 1 per cent of creators making 33 per cent of the money. Using the Gini index – a standard measure of economic inequality – Hollands finds OnlyFans to be more unequal than South Africa, the most unequal country in the world. The tiny minority of creators who do well on the platform are mostly celebrities already, meaning the women who post “thanks to OnlyFans” success stories on social media are not representative of ordinary creators, but are rather more like those rare punters who walk out of a casino as millionaires, having put it all on red.
‘Everyone and their mum is on it’: OnlyFans booms in popularity during the pandemic (The Guardian, December 2020)
This time last year Jah Bella* was doing it tough. She had fled an abusive relationship, was looking after her newborn daughter and was struggling to find work in far north Queensland.
“Every single regular job that I had, I was getting sexually harassed in some way,” she says. “I would either get fired or I’d have to leave once I reported it.”
When the pandemic hit all remaining gigs dried up.
“I was like, ‘OK. Why not make money out of this [OnlyFans] and have control over my body?’”
Dr Zahra Stardust, a socio-legal researcher from the University of New South Wales and OnlyFans content creator, says the site recently reduced the minimum amount of earnings it will pay from $500 to $200 because many users struggled to reach the threshold.
Stardust says users who fail to establish a wide fanbase may work for many months, or even years, without receiving significant payment.
“In reality, it is often small amounts that trickle in over time, many of which become diluted through commissions and international transfer fees,” she says.
According to content creator Brooklyn Rose it took months of working almost for free before she began making real money.
“It was about a year before I really started seeing any type of income and even then it’s not like a steady income or anything,” she says. “I can have some days where [I] only make maybe $10, and then [I] can have weeks where [I’ve] actually cashed in about $500.