LOS ANGELES — In an attempt to “contextualize the larger battle,” Free Speech Coalition (FSC) has released a statement in response to the news today that OnlyFans will ban sexually explicit content beginning October 1.
This morning, OnlyFans announced that, as of October 1, it will no longer allow any sexually explicit content on its platform. This is devastating for a new generation of adult creators who have used the platform, and others like it, to build businesses, profit off of their own work, and achieve independence.
While many will blame OnlyFans for sacrificing sex workers in pursuit of investment capital and mainstream recognition, we need to be frank about where the true fault lies: with the banks and credit card companies like Mastercard, who have refused to stand up to a misguided and ill-intentioned evangelical War on Porn.
Over the past two years, we’ve watched as groups that don’t believe in the right of sex workers to exist, let alone speak, have maligned and attacked sex workers in the name of saving them. Funded by conservative groups and churches, they’ve amplified poorly supported claims of trafficking and exploitation, porn addiction and child exploitation.
Banks and credit card companies are risk-averse institutions, easily scared by potential bad publicity. Religious groups know this, and have made no secret of targeting them in their quest to eliminate sex workers altogether. In doing so, companies like Mastercard have become enablers of these anti-porn, anti-LGBTQ, misogynist groups. Companies like Mastercard are now accomplices in the disenfranchisement of millions of sex workers, complicit in pushing workers away from independence into potentially more dangerous and exploitative conditions.
The removal of adult content from OnlyFans will not stop adult content. Sex workers, and those in the adult industry more broadly, have learned to survive in hostile conditions. But that doesn’t mean that people won’t be hurt, that lives and businesses won’t be destroyed and that millions of dollars of sex worker income won’t disappear.
In an attempt to preserve their good standing with religious hate groups, Mastercard and other companies have taken on the indelible stain of discrimination. We will not forget, and we will not stop fighting.