OnlyFans Made Millions Off Sex Workers’ Labor, Then Hung Them Out To Dry

At the height of the pandemic, Jessica, a 33-year-old single mother living in the suburbs of Chicago, felt like she was drowning. Her ex was paying reduced child support as a result of the crisis, which left her struggling to cover her rent for the two-bedroom apartment she shared with her three kids.


Her income as a loan processor wasn’t enough, and she knew that her situation wasn’t sustainable. So she decided to try selling nude videos of herself on OnlyFans, a subscription platform that had soared to fame in recent years as an online marketplace for homemade NSFW content. It was a scary step to take, but with hard work, it paid off.

“It literally doubled my income,” said Jessica, who is identified only by her first name to protect her family’s privacy. “Now I’m able to provide for my children without begging for help.”


Even with OnlyFans claiming 20% of her earnings, as it does for all creators, Jessica was able to start paying off her debts and saving up for a better life. She set a goal to buy a house within two years — something that had previously felt entirely out of reach. But on Thursday afternoon, the future she’d started building for her family was suddenly thrown into jeopardy.News broke that OnlyFans would be banning “sexually explicit conduct” in a matter of weeks. The announcement caused mass panic and uncertainty among sex workers who’d come to rely on the platform for a living — the very community whose labor helped it explode into a billion-dollar business. OnlyFans expects to net $1.2 billion this year and $2.5 billion in 2022, which would partially cash out majority owner Leo Radivinsky, Axios reports.

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