Long-time OnlyFans creators hit back at Bella Thorne for 'gentrifying' the erotic content site, and call on her to redistribute the $1 million she earned in a day
- Bella Thorne joined OnlyFans on August 19 and set the site's record by making $1 million within 24 hours.
- As more celebrities join the platform, sex workers who have been on OnlyFans for years are voicing their concerns.
- Many sex workers turned to OnlyFans as a safe way to generate income when the pandemic made in person sessions impossible.
- "A millionaire making more millions during a pandemic while others starve, isn't the feel good story anyone is looking for," Castle B Productions, sex worker & adult industry photographer, told Insider.
Bella Thorne made OnlyFans history after joining the platform on August 19, raking in $1 million in less than 24 hours and $2 million in less than a week.
The 22-year-old actress and adult film director is among a growing number of celebrities who have joined the erotic content site since the beginning of quarantine, including Cardi B, Tana Mongeau, and Swae Lee.
A majority of these celebrities (including Thorne) don't plan on posting X-rated content, but the allure of OnlyFans — even earning a mention in a recent Beyoncé rap — is that it's a place where people can make it big with pay-per-view erotic content.
As the site has soared in popularity this year, many of its original creators have been grumbling about celebrities swooping in. Many say they are capitalizing on the success and hard graft of sex workers, who've shown how it's done.
With Thorne's record earnings this week, those complaints have turned up a notch.
—mustafa (@whocaresmanlmao) August 25, 2020
Sex workers built OnlyFans
OnlyFans was founded in 2016, steadily drawing creators and followers in the years since.
But this year, it saw a boom as it became a solid alternative way for strippers and other out-of-work sex workers to make money during the pandemic, with in-person and indoor work out of the question.
Its online interface and subscription-style format allowed sex workers and adult entertainers to have more control over their earnings.
C0ncreteveins, a sex worker based in Ontario who uses she/they pronouns, joined OnlyFans in March after the pandemic limited their ways to make money, selling erotic content to their fanbase. They said their first two months were a breeze.
According to Concreteveins, that changed when Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion dropped their remix of "Savage" in May. In a verse, Beyoncé mentioned OnlyFans. The site saw a 15% spike in traffic less than 24 hours.
With the spike, came an influx of celebrity users. And some users felt they were being sidelined.
"I think any person who wants to profit off their sexuality, should. However, sex workers have spent years building OnlyFans into what it is today. We did that," Castle B Productions, sex worker and adult industry photographer, told Insider in an email. "When celebrities join our platforms they don't even acknowledge us, this is a common pattern."
OnlyFans has been a lifeline for sex workers, who can't work in person and can't get government COVID-19 support funds
C0ncreteveins told Insider after celebrities started joining OnlyFans in the first few months after they joined, they saw their profits reduce to less than a third of what they were bringing in, making them deeply consider switching platforms. While it is not clear whether celebrities joining the site had a direct impact on their traffic, Concreteveins found the coincidence notable.
Thorne joining and raking in $2 million was, they said, the last straw. (Prior to joining OnlyFans, Thorne had an estimated net worth of $5 million to $12 million, according to many outlets that referenced a site called Celebrity Net Worth. That number is unverified.)
"I knew that would be the end — especially for sex workers who began their careers at the beginning of quarantine as a way to make ends meet," C0ncreteveins said.
"People have to understand that OnlyFans was created as a way to redistribute wealth back to the sex workers the industry has been exploiting at the hands of those who want to view pornography for free. Bella Thorne already has the money and resources to make and promote the content she wants to — that's not the problem here."
Like C0ncreteveins, dozens of sex workers turned to OnlyFans as an additional source of income during the pandemic, especially in light of the US denying strippers, brothel workers, and other sex workers government COVID-19 assistance.
On Tuesday, Twitter users launched a protest, demanding that Thorne redistribute her the $2 million she has made on OnlyFans to sex workers.
—Aussie Rachel NYC ✡️ (@AussieRachel_) August 26, 2020
—Fairy Odelia ✨ click the link in my bio (@fkinfairy) August 26, 2020
Thorne has yet to reply to the calls to redistribute her OnlyFans money to sex workers.
"A millionaire making more millions during a pandemic while others starve, isn't the feel good story anyone is looking for," Productions told Insider.
Bella Thorne did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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