Bella Thorne is the most recent celebrity to join subscription-based platform OnlyFans. But not without a hitch.
News of the actress’s debut made history last week when she became the first creator to make $1 million in 24 hours. Though OnlyFans allows creators to charge up to $49.99 per month for access to their content, the former Disney star’s rate is reportedly set at $20.
“OnlyFans is the first platform where I can fully control my image; without censorship, without judgement, and without being bullied online for being me,” she told PAPER Magazine. Bella also explained that she joined OnlyFans to do research for a film directed by Sean Baker.
Founded in 2016 by British entrepreneur Timothy Stokely, OnlyFans has gained a lot of momentum since its inception due to a lack of content restrictions and lucrative payment structure.
Though not specifically designed just for porn, OnlyFans’ “anything goes” policy and airtight data security designed to protect both creator and subscriber make the platform a safe space for sex workers and voyeurs alike. Unlike YouTube, which subtracts 45% of a creator’s ad revenue and pays out monthly, OnlyFans takes 20% and pays weekly. Subscribers can also pay for personalised content (PPV) and tip creators— functions that don’t exist on many social media platforms. As a result, Stokely’s brainchild is often credited for transforming the sex industry in just a few short years, granting entertainers full control of their content, image, and earning potential.
However, this mainstream success has also attracted some public figures to the platform who want a piece of the pie. Notable celebrities with OnlyFans accounts include Cardi B, Tana Mongeau, and now Bella Thorne, who’s making headlines once again for allegedly scamming her subscribers.
After reportedly bringing in $2 million in her first week on the platform, Bella has come under fire for allegedly selling $200 PPV (pay per view) content with the promise of a full-nude photo set. Apparently the 22-year-old did not deliver on the promise, leading to so many refund requests that OnlyFans has now implemented changes to their payment structure.
According to multiple sources, creators can now only charge up to $50 for PPV and receive tips up to $100— caps which previously did not exist. The payment timeline has also been affected, with creators having to wait 30 days to see their money versus the former seven days.
So why the changes?
Though creators have not been given solid answers, the theory is that OnlyFans is unable to process all the refund requests from Bella Thorne’s alleged scam PPV. This, coupled with the 80% payout from the reported $2 million that she would have received this week, has potentially threatened the platform’s cash flow for the time being.
In short, OnlyFans might not have enough money to pay out Bella’s wage, refund her disappointed PPV requests, and stay afloat while continuing to pay creators who rely on the platform to pay their bills and feed their families.
As a result, many are calling for Bella to be banned from OnlyFans for abusing the system and creating problems for sex workers who made the platform what it is today.
Others feel like celebrities should not be allowed to join OnlyFans, as the platform allows them to “ride the coattails” of sex workers without having to be associated with the stigma of sex work.
While some are optimistic that these changes are temporary, others are not.
With payment caps and stricter guidelines, creators are left wondering if their beloved platform— which for many is their primary source of income— will ever be the same again.
Now, Bella has responded. In a series of tweets posted Sunday evening, the actress apologised to OnlyFans creators for impacting their livelihood while attempting to “normalize the stigmas” around sex work.
“I wanted to bring attention to the site, the more people on the site the more likely of a chance to normalize the stigmas, And in trying to do this I hurt you,” she wrote. “I have risked my career a few times to remove the stigma behind sex work, porn, and the natural hatred people spew behind anything sex related. I wrote and directed a porn against the high brows of my peers and managers because I WANTED to help with the stimga behind sex.”
Bella went on to say that as a mainstream celebrity, she was trying to help sex workers and advocate for their rights. “Again in this process I hurt you and for that I’m truly sorry.”
The 22-year-old finishes by saying that will be meeting with OnlyFans to discuss the new restrictions and asks creators to send her links to their profiles so she can promote them on her platforms.
Here’s hoping that Bella’s influence can persuade OnlyFans to undo the new restrictions.