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My life is not made better by Bella Thorne treating me, or my fellow sex workers, like lab rats to be studied for, apparently fabricated research.

Not to participate in internalized whorephobia or whatever, but I wish this new wave of alleged sex worker allyship would end.

Look, I get it. We’re six months into a global health crisis, almost 60 million people have applied for unemployment, countless people are facing eviction, people are starving, and one of the worst hurricanes in modern history just demolished the Gulf Coast. People are quite literally desperate, so the once repugnant idea of sex work is starting to become an ever-looming reality for a lot of people. Globally. Literally across the world, people are turning to sex work to make ends meet as the increasingly digital world becomes the final — and only — frontier.

But, despite having been at this for a decade, I wouldn’t wish the hell that is being a sex worker on anyone. We can’t have bank accounts, rent homes, keep our kids, get “real” jobs, have social media, rent an AirBnB, use pay apps or processors, or be safe apparently. The continued criminalization and stigmatization of sex work, and sex workers, is quite literally killing us. Legislation like SESTA/FOSTA and EARN-IT forces us offline, onto the streets, and into the arms of unscreened clients with the demise of Backpage, Craigslist Personals, and the loss of apps like Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, and Plenty of Fish.

Enter Only Fans. Long plagued by claims of code stolen from a sex worker, Only Fans has been synonymous with amateur porn for as long as I’ve been online. An alternative to the absolute shit show that is PornHub, and parent company Mind Geek, Only Fans “gives control” to creators. Of course, Only Fans TOS and executives would never admit or acknowledge why the relatively open platform is so popular with adult content creators, but it is. Despite a TOS that vaguely prohibits “obscene content”, the site has become an inadvertent alias for independently created porn. And I get it. But I’m real fucking tired.

Rich people — who have never, will never, and could never imagine or empathize with the reality that is sex work — are flocking to Only Fans for funsies, shits, and giggles. Not just flocking to, but literally destroying the platform and experience for those of us who have no choice. Since Bella Thorne joined Only Fans (to “conduct research”), limits on tips and pricing have been enacted (further restricting already minimized payouts) and content creators must wait 30 days between payouts. Speculation is rampant that the site, already battling with allegations of fraud and theft, enacted these policies to avoid bankruptcy as Thorne amassed a small fortune of $2 million by promising fans nude photos, only to lie and provide clothed images instead — prompting a wave of chargebacks. Whatever the reasoning, the impact is devastating. Going from weekly payouts to monthly payouts is quite literally life ending

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Consider the burden of creating content, knowing that grifting “fans” will subscribe, download what they want, unsubscribe, and then request a chargeback. Now consider having to create a month’s worth of content while the same grifters have a full 30 days to repeat the scam as your money, the money you earned, sits in limbo as retribution for a rich white woman’s hubris. Adding fuel to the fire, Thorne’s Kardashian wish-to-look-alike, filtered to hell sister, Kaili, took to social media to denigrate sex workers, claiming we’re all trafficking victims who cannot advocate for ourselves or display agency.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know who or what a Bella or Kaili Thorne is. I don’t know what contributions they’ve made to the cultural zeitgeist. What I do know is that we would all be better served if they would shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down. My life is not made better by Bella Thorne treating me, or my fellow sex workers, like lab rats to be studied for, apparently fabricated research. With “allies” like Bella Thorne, who needs detractors?

What would improve my life, and the lives of others like me, is if Thorne and every other “demon time, Only Fans” part-time, alleged ally would close their mouths and open their wallets. We don’t qualify for unemployment or rental assistance or any other assistance that requires steady, verifiable employment, housing, or legality. We don’t have the safety net of “gig” or secondary employment for reasons ranging from chronic disability to inconsistent childcare. Nothing is gained from yet another publicist-drafted apology that alleges to combat the stigma we face, while your sister mocks and derides us concurrently. Write a fucking check. Don’t “promote our links.” Redistribute that $2 million. Expeditiously. And then go back to your hole of obscurity, promising to leave us alone from now until forever.

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Adrie, Sociology student, book hoarder, and mother to Oscar (5) and Misty (16). I believe in the power of the glitter accent nail, sex workers, and black people.

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