That didn’t last long. Less than a week after OnlyFans announced plans to ban porn from its platform due to pressure from its banking partners, the subscription site announced Wednesday that decision may have been premature. Instead of eliminating sexually explicit content on the site, the company said in a tweet, it had “secured [the] assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community,” and “suspended” its policy change, which was slated to go into effect on October 1.
The proposed changes would have been catastrophic for sex workers, who comprise the majority of the creators on the platform, and although the reversal is something of a relief, the about-face left some worried about their long-term futures on the site. “Workers still lost subscribers in this confusion,” says artist and adult content creator Trapcry. “I think they changed their minds, not for the sake of sex workers, but because they realized the backlash would hurt their pockets more in the long run.”
Money has been at the heart of many of OnlyFans’ maneuvers of late. When it announced the porn ban last week, the company said the move was meant to appease its banking partners, which include the Bank of New York Mellon and JPMorgan Chase, and in a follow-up interview with the Financial Times, founder Tim Stokey said Chase was “particularly aggressive in closing accounts of sex workers or … any business that supports sex workers.”
Seemingly, that’s now changed. In a statement emailed to WIRED Wednesday, the company said the ban on explicit content is “no longer required due to banking partners’ assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators.”
Still, many creators who scrambled to find alternatives in the wake of last week’s announcement do not see this turnaround as a victory. “If this is a win, it’s a temporary one,” says Anshuman Iddamsetty, a nonbinary creator who uploads content dedicated to fat pleasure under the psuedonym Boarlord. “I’ve never seen a platform reverse course like this ever. The language they chose in their announcement worries me. ‘Suspend’ doesn’t instill confidence. And they refused to mention sex workers or erotic laborers by name—they went back to the careful doublespeak of ‘creator’ and ‘all genres.’ We’re long past the point of dancing around the stakes. The porn ban could return October 2nd.”
What remains is an uncertain future for both creators and OnlyFans, which has plans to go public later this year. The site has more than 130 million users and 2 million creators, but hostility toward the porn industry has swelled recently, as adult subscription sites have gained popularity. Detractors believe sites such as OnlyFans, in part, are to blame for the rise in child porn.
“We need to talk about how our banking system has quietly crowned themselves the new morality police,” Iddamsetty says, citing payment processors such as Mastercard and Visa, which are being pressured by conservative groups Exodus Cry and National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) to sever ties with platforms that cater to explicit sexual expression.