Celebrities Are Catching On To The OnlyFans Craze

Celebrities Are Catching On To The OnlyFans Craze

Celebrities Are Catching On To The OnlyFans Craze

Why is this site so intent on punishing our horniness?

Why is this site so intent on punishing our horniness?

Text: Sophie Lee

This week, rapper Tyga announced that he's looking to recruit models for his OnlyFans management company, Too Raww. It's the latest celebrity attempt to capitalize off of a platform most prominently known for it's x-rated content. This time, however, the celebrity is not looking to just make money off their own name, but others' as well.

OnlyFans, launched in 2016, spread like wildfire during quarantine as traditional sex work, and sex in general, became less viable. The whole messy event requires pretty close contact with others. For the public, cooped up alone and horny, paying for online intimacy had never been so desirable.

That's what OnlyFans creators do exceptionally well: provide intimacy for a relatively low price. If you're looking for hardcore pornography, you're better off turning to a traditional site like Pornhub, that operates under "if you can think it up, we've done it" protocol. Conversely, OnlyFans models and creators mostly offer tame, more personalized content. Users can request specific videos or photos, and are looking for something closer to the boyfriend/girlfriend experience.

Sex workers have enjoyed the platform for it's high earning potential, and the fact that it gives them more control over their content. The pay wall means graphic images or videos are less likely to leak online or be stolen, and the physical distance between them and clients makes work less physically dangerous.

So where do celebrities come into the picture? Most of them aren't offering sexual content to fans, aside from Tyga. The first real celebrity scandal on the site happened when Bella Thorne signed up last August and earned a million dollars in a day. That huge of a profit was unheard of on the site, and to make matters worse, Thorne wasn't even offering the x-rated content subscribers had expected.

A lot of customers wanted their money back, and in a text message to The LA Times, Thorne claimed she had only performed the stunt as research for an upcoming movie (that doesn't really exist?).  The whole debacle led to OnlyFans making some big changes to their policies, like a cap on how much users can tip. Needless to say, actual sex workers on the platform were livid and felt like their livelihood had been put at risk for the sake of a celebrity's fun.

Still, Thorne's meddling brought OnlyFans some extra exposure, and since then, other prominent figures have joined the platform, all offering non-sexual content for fans. Cardi B is perhaps the biggest name on OnlyFans, charging $4.99 a month for a peak into her private life. Tyler Posey, Tana Mongeau, Jordyn Woods, and Chris Brown all have accounts.

Though OnlyFans is widely regarded as a pay-for-porn site, the picture becomes more complicated by the company's own stance on the issue. When you visit the site, there is no mention of the sexual content hiding behind the pay wall. Stock photos of fitness gurus and dapper young business people populate the "About Us" page. If you go to the Terms of Service, they outright ban "obscene" content and anything that "promotes or advertises escort services." Some content creators who do sex work irl have even had their accounts mysteriously terminated, with the company citing problems with billing, or giving no explanation at all.

The businessmen who own and operate OnlyFans are notoriously hard to find or pin down, but The New York Times did manage to squeeze them just hard enough to learn that they are "eager to take OnlyFans out of the pornography niche and make it a platform for all sorts of influencers and audiences."

Owner Tim Stokely has always seen OnlyFans as an add-on to traditioal social media. The theory would go that if a creator with a high follower count promotes their subscription-based account on Twitter or Instagram, it will drive fans to purchase more intimate, exclusive content. Though some celebrities have found success with this model, it seems that in practice, the opposite is true. Those paying for OnlyFans often find that to be their main mode of interaction with the creators they sponsor, not simply an add-on to their regular browsing.

The emphasis on diversifying content creators is an interesting, and slightly confusing, move for a platform that has found such immense success catering to an x-rated audience. Not to mention, sex work is becoming increasingly normalized and even accepted in the mainstream. On the wildly popular Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé collab, "Savage" the remix, Beyoncé rapped "On that Demon Time, she might start an OnlyFans (OnlyFans)/

Big B and that B stand for bands."

If arguably the biggest singer in the world isn't afraid to acknowledge one of the most successful forays into soft-core (or regular core) pornography, then why are its founders? And why punish the creators who have brought you that success by hiding them away and limiting their use of the platform? OnlyFans courting of the celebrity and influencer market may be the start of its own demise. After all, turning your back on the those who provided you with your achievements has not historically been the optimal move.

Credits: Photos courtesy of Molly Matalon for The New York Times, Bella Thorne, and Too Raww.

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