Bella Thorne shattered records for OnlyFans, a social media platform where subscribers pay monthly fees and occasionally tips to people they follow in exchange for access to premium content, by generating $1 million on her first day on the site. A week later, Thorne announced that the number had hit $2 million.
OnlyFans stands out from other social media sites because it allows NSFW images, although anyone can make an OnlyFans account and post whatever they want — it doesn’t necessarily have to involve nudity.
However, OnlyFans has been a primary source of income for people in the sex work community. Members were upset with Thorne, who is already wealthy and has a steady income, for joining the site and charging $20 a month.
Several OnlyFans members who are in the sex work community told Rolling Stone that Thorne joining could signal doom for the platform and could “gentrify” the site and potentially encourage other celebrities, who don’t need the money, to join as well. It’s also particularly problematic because it didn’t seem as though Thorne was going to acknowledge the plight and stigma against sex workers and appeared to be joining the platform just for fun.
These were very valid points of concern. Thorne faced blowback on August 28 after charging subscribers $200 to access a photo she advertised as “nude.” One OnlyFans follower shared an alleged screenshot of an interaction with Thorne on the site that included a message where Thorne confirmed she was naked in the photo. She wasn’t.
anyways yeah, fuck you, bella thorne. pic.twitter.com/dKjxUMUWR0
— Kira Noir Inc. (@thekiranoir) August 28, 2020
Prior to the debacle, Thorne told several publications and Twitter followers that she was not going to be doing full nudity for OnlyFans, and technically she stayed true to that.
Also nooooo I’m not doing nudity!!! ❤️ https://t.co/vJECHqF4uW
— BITCHIMBELLATHORNE (@bellathorne) August 26, 2020
People were angry and started demanding refunds from OnlyFans, which does administer refunds to people when they feel like they’ve been scammed on the site. So many people requested their money back that apparently OnlyFans implemented new restrictions on how much money people could make off the site and put a cap on tip spending.
The OnlyFans platform has basically been destroyed because of her lying. Sex work is real work and Bella Thorne just made a joke out of it and proved she has no idea what it means to be a sex worker. She disrespected every sex worker out there and nobody will forget about this.
— Sassafras (@hihohaihoe) August 28, 2020
TikTok user Nikki Newhope broke down what the restrictions now imply for people like her who use OnlyFans for income.
“There is now a limit to tips … and, apparently, payouts are now only once a month. So, you can’t just request to payout whenever you want to,” Newhope says in the video, which garnered almost 2 million views.
According to a comment on Newhope’s TikTok — which Newhope confirmed in a reply but In The Know could not verify on Thorne’s OnlyFans profile — Thorne had also at one point supposedly posted the link to her Amazon wishlist.
“She literally scammed people,” one commenter posted.
The 22-year-old took to her Twitter on August 29 to apologize. Thorne claims that she only joined the site to further destigmatize sex work by “bringing it to a mainstream face.”
...I am a mainstream face and when you have a voice, a platform, you try to use you in helping others and advocate for something bigger than yourself. Again in this process I hurt you and for that I’m truly sorry.
— BITCHIMBELLATHORNE (@bellathorne) August 29, 2020
Thorne concluded that she plans to meet with OnlyFans to renegotiate the new restrictions.
However, Thorne’s tweets seem to be insincere when fans pointed out that she had also told the Los Angeles Times that she had planned to make a movie about the OnlyFans experience with Sean Baker.
But Baker tweeted three days later that he had never intended to collaborate with Thorne on such a movie. He said he had had a phone call with Thorne’s team and “advised her team to consult with sex workers and address the way she went about this as to NOT hurt the sex work industry.”
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