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Even with porn ban suspended, Austin OnlyFans creators say they won't forgive too quickly

Austin-area OnlyFans creators were left reeling after the app banned explicit content and later suspended the ban in the span of a week. (Shutterstock)

Austin-area resident Hannah likes to say she's an accountant in two ways: she's finishing up her master's in accounting, but she often uses the euphemistic term to describe her role as a creator on subscription site OnlyFans as well.


OnlyFans, which mostly gained popularity from explicit user-created content, is a major source of income for many. It's made thousands for Austinites like Laura Lux, who has over 1 million Instagram followers after gaining fame on the site, and is a significant revenue stream for many others including Hannah, who asked her last name not be used to protect her privacy as a creator. But the site left many of its users reeling after it announced it would ban pornographic content from its creators, later suspending the ban less than a week after.

Hannah's content doesn't really fit under the definition of pornography, she says—she mostly posts lingerie photos—but the decision still left a slightly bitter taste in her mouth as she realized other sites may be more accommodating to the needs of their creators. "This just opened my eyes more to more sites that also could be more mindful of sex workers and how policies change," Hannah said.

OnlyFans founder and CEO Tim Stokely said the ban, which was scheduled to go into effect on July 1, was made because banks including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of New York Mellon and the UK's Metro Bank were no longer allowing OnlyFans to pay creators.

But this isn't the first time sex workers have been shunned or discarded despite making much of the revenue for big-name companies, said Noor ZK of the Sex Workers Outreach Project of Austin.

"It is important to note that the change has only been 'suspended'—this suggests it is still inevitably coming," ZK said. "Either way it has left sex workers feeling angry, confused, scared, exhausted, and reeling from how disposably we are treated—even by those who owe their financial and cultural success entirely to us."

A ban on the site could be devastating for many, ZK said. While Hannah, who left the site for a few months and has made around $300 in her first month back, doesn't rely on OnlyFans as her primary source of income, many others do. Some have been part of the community for years, cultivating a large following and posting thousands of photos and videos to their profile.

"These policy changes intentionally target sex workers to prevent us from having access to survival, and ultimately to force us out of the industry," ZK said. "For survival sex workers, for whom sex work is our only access to income, this is literally life-threatening."

Austin-area OnlyFans creators say there might be better alternatives to the site for their content. (Shutterstock)


OnlyFans certainly has brand recognition—the London-based site boomed during the pandemic and rose to $2.4 billion in transactions in 2020—but some are seeking other alternatives. Hannah knows many sex workers in her support groups who have already jumped ship. Some already had issues with payment on the site, while others are looking for more supportive ownership. But ZK said that every site comes with its challenges given the nature and stigma of their work.

"These sites lure workers with false promises but ultimately are not equipped to handle their safety, protect their privacy or prevent similar payment processing outcomes," ZK said.

Although the ban has been lifted, ZK said it serves as a reminder that support for sex workers is fleeting and can only be combated with outreach and donations as well as a stronger sense of community within the industry.

"The best thing that can come of this is for us to create stronger networks of solidarity within our industry... and uplift each other," ZK said.

Popular

Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway