OnlyFans and Love Island star, Megan Barton-Hanson, has hit out at OnlyFans’ decision to ban sexual content, branding the move as ‘unfair’.
Last week, OnlyFans announced that from October 1, porn, or what it sees to be ‘any content containing sexually-explicit conduct’ will be banned under new guidelines.
Barton-Hanson, who found her fame on the ITV series Love Island, has since gone on to become an OnlyFans star and sex columnist.
Now, the star has now spoken out about OnlyFans’ announcement, accusing the site of treating sex workers unfairly.
The ban came soon after the news of the site attracting new investors and seeking to also protect its partnerships with banks and payment providers.
Since its launch, OnlyFans has been a platform dominated by sexually explicit content, attracting sex workers and explicit content creators to its site. However, upon its decision to move away from its adult-only reputation to try and expand to other markets and revenue streams, Barton-Hanson has shared her ‘disappointment’ in the company with VICE World News.
It used to be a beacon of hope in my eyes and I thought that stigma around sex work would be diminished but now it feels like we are back at square one. Sex workers have always been treated unfairly and this is another example of that.
The reality star also expressed concerns over what impact the decision will have on the sex worker community. ‘OnlyFans has been a really safe way for people to sell their images and earn money from home. During the pandemic, this has been a lifeline for so many’, she explained.
During the coronavirus pandemic, when people were required to stay at home during lockdowns, many sex workers turned to the site in order to make money without having to run the risk of working in person.
Through OnlyFans, it was reported by the Mirror that Barton-Hanson was estimated to be earning as much as £800,000 a month by posting elicit images and videos.
I don’t understand what Only Fans thinks people will look at on their app if they ban sex work. Tumblr banned pornography and killed the site. Payment processors trying to dictate morality is… ridiculous.— roxane gay (@rgay) August 19, 2021
Many other OnlyFans content creators have criticised the site for the move, accusing the company of disregarding them despite them making up the majority of the user base which has been responsible for the company’s fast growth.
Sex worker, Elise Kennedy, who relies entirely on OnlyFans for her income, told VICE World News that she doesn’t think it is ‘fair that [sex workers are] constantly living under this threat of everything being taken away’, adding it feels like a ‘bomb going off but we can’t see anything’.
Despite the company’s announcement, Kennedy says she feels like ‘there’s no clarity on the situation’. She also notes how ‘if they kicked off all the sex workers, the platforms wouldn’t exist anymore.’
OnlyFans decision to ban "sexually explicit content" is about criminalizing & stigmatizing sex workers.— Shervin For The Valley (CA-30) (@AazamiShervin) August 19, 2021
Banks & payment providers should not be permitted to de-platform sex workers. It is past time that we decriminalize the industry.
Sex work is work, period.
Laura Watson, a member of the English Collective of Prostitutes called the ban a ‘big slap in the face’, noting how the company had ‘made a lot of profit from sex workers, specifically in the last year’.
‘When there are still no alternatives – there’s no government help, and there are no financial alternatives – we don’t think it’s fair’, she said.
OnlyFans has since tweeted a message of solidarity to sex workers, accrediting the success of the site and company to the content creators who have used it. They claim the change to their policy was necessary in order to ‘secure banking and payment services’ to support workers and that they are ‘working around the clock to come up with solutions’.