Irish ‘OnlyFans’ creators say the website’s attempt to ban sexually explicit content came as a huge shock.
The site, which allows users to pay a monthly fee to access exclusive pictures and videos uploaded by individual content creators, last week abruptly announced plans to ban explicit content.
It said it was making the changes to comply with the requests of its banking partners and pay-out providers.
Just days later it made a U-turn on the decision and announced that it was ‘suspending’ the changes.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Newstalk reporter Josh Crosbie spoke to three OnlyFans creators about their experiences on the website – and their thoughts on a dramatic week for the industry.
Dubliner Emma Brierley said she has been on the website for a year now.
“At first it was intense,” she said. “It was very intense because you get some bad reactions from people.
“After that it was grand and I made good money. The money made me feel better and the confidence you get from it makes it worth it. It gives you the motivation to keep doing it.”
She said her content is “as explicit as you can be” noting that she does “all sorts of videos” that are specifically requested by fans.
She said last week’s announcement came as a huge shock.
“I actually went out and looked for another job because I panicked that much I didn’t know what I was going to do if I lost all that money,” she said.
“I got a job as a waitress in a gentleman’s club so I start that next week - but it was just a moment of, oh crap what the hell am I going to do? You know what I mean, I had a plan.”
She said she would never have considered strip club work without OnlyFans.
“Definitely not,” she said. “I was trying to think of something that was just as good as the money on OnlyFans that I could do if OnlyFans was to go and that was the only thing I could think of.”
OnlyFans reversed their plan to ban sexually explicit content.
@JoshCrosbie3 gets reaction to the u-turn on @TheHardShoulder from 4pm. pic.twitter.com/0fpKiVoIOM
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) August 27, 2021
Mother-of-two Danielle Kennedy said she has been on the site since last October and “absolutely loves it so far.”
“I am a single mother of two kids so it has just given me the freedom … say if I needed extra money to get bread or whatever, it is just there if I need it,” she said.
Asked what she would be prepared to do on video she said: “You have to go all the way.”
“That is what people want,” she said. “It’s where the money is."
“If you’re not going to go all the way there is absolutely no point in doing it. Custom videos and things like that and people have butt fetishes and things like that – you just have to please everyone. There is something on there for everyone.”
She said she has no concerns about what her children may think when they are older.
“Absolutely not – it is a job; there is nothing wrong with doing it," she said. "I just think of it in the way that, you are doing it in the bedroom anyway so why not just record it and get paid for it?”
Danielle said she is going to “just keep doing what I’m doing” despite last week’s announcement – but she is also building up a presence on rival sites in case it happens again.
Creator Megan Sims told Josh she got involved in the site for a slightly different reason.
“I made one because I kept getting my nudes sent to me as a way of shaming me because they were released without my consent years ago,” she said. “I had gone into hiding because of it.
“So I kind of made one to say you can’t shame me for this if I do it myself.
“That was a large part of it; it wasn’t really about the money at the start. Then I was like if I am doing it go all out so I only started taking it seriously in the last few months really.”
She said last week’s announcement has broken the trust between the site and its creators.
“It changes daily nearly what they’re saying,” she said. “Now they have changed their stance again and they’re saying they will suspend their changes. That is only a suspension there’s still no certainty with anything.
“I think what has happened is they have kind of realised that everyone is going to leave the platform – and we are their main source of income.
“They have done this now once but the thing is, now they have lost a lot of trust because what's to stop them doing this again down the line? There is just a real lack of communication and transparency.”
She said the controversy will just see creators moving to other sites.
“It has just been the most stressful week and I think they have shown where their loyalties lie as well that they would just drop us all in a second rather than trying to fight it.”
Josh also spoke to Linda Kavanagh from the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) who said the “near-universal condemnation” of the OnlyFans decision shows that “people are really copping on to the fact that sex work exists; it exists in Ireland and people should be able to get paid for their work.”
“Those platforms are going to exist no matter what and really OnlyFans was just a payment processor for, mostly women but not only women, to get paid for their content,” she said.
“The reality is that had these rules gone ahead … they still need to pay their bills, they still need to pay their rent and they may have been forced to meet their clients and make up that income in another way. A way that might mean more risk-taking.
“This industry exists and being able to move online for both in-service and virtual workers means they can control who they see and they talk to.
“It gives sex workers an awful lot more control.”
You can listen back here:
Main image shows Irish ‘OnlyFans’ creator Emma Brierley