Why It Was F*cked Up For Bella Thorne To Make An OnlyFans

If you’ve been on the internet over the past couple weeks, you may have noticed that Bella Thorne took it upon herself to make an OnlyFans. If you’re a sex worker, like me, you probably had some questions, like, “who the f*ck is Bella Thorne?” followed up by, “why can’t celebrities stop appropriating sex worker culture when it’s convenient and beneficial for them, while simultaneously distancing themselves from it when they need to save face or appear above it all?!” Then you may or may not have downed a bottle of wine while rage posting about it on Twitter.

But, if you’re not a sex worker, you may have some additional questions. Maybe you don’t even know what OnlyFans is, and/or you don’t really get why people who use it would be upset when a celebrity joins.

Well, if you’re reading this article, you’re already going a step further than Bella Thorne by first hearing from a sex worker what their feelings on it are. Cheers.

I have…a lot of issues with what Bella Thorne did, and even how she attempted to apologize for it. Allow me to break it down.

Let’s Start With What Happened

Okay, so, Bella Thorne is an actress who got her start on Disney Channel and starred in Alvin and the Chipmunks. I fully thought she and Bella Hadid were the same person and that is my bad.

Bella “Not Hadid” Thorne recently made an OnlyFans, which is a subscription based website many sex workers use to sell adult content that is not allowed on other platforms.

She broke a record and made $1 million on her first day.


Thorne Made A Point To Say She Wouldn’t Do Nudity, As If She’s Above It All

After her immediate success on the site, Thorne tweeted this:

It’s pretty annoying for a rich celebrity with millions of followers to be reposting a brag about how much money she’s easily making on a website that sex workers have built to survive, especially right now during a pandemic when many sex workers are struggling to make a living as they can’t do business as usual and often don’t qualify for unemployment. But then to try to distance yourself from what most sex workers do (nudity) at the same time? Babe, that’s problematic.

It seems to me like she wants to the shock value, the street cred, and the “glamour” of being a sex worker, while still making sure to let everyone know that she’s ~not like the other girls~.

It’s like when non-strippers wear pleasers (stripper heels) or take pole classes but are like, “Don’t worry, this is just for fun! I’m not a stripper, ew.” It’s condescending and insulting to those who have faced stigma, shame, violence, and silencing from society for the work that we do.

Everyone has their own boundaries, and if not getting naked online is one of them, that is fine. But sex workers have been ostracized for so long, so showing up to a space they created and immediately being like “look at me, I made more money than anyone, and I didn’t even have to get naked!” is so tone deaf. Why are celebs so obsessed with not being able to read a room?

Sex workers made OnlyFans what it is today so they could have a way to make money creating their own content, instead of having to work through other platforms or companies that often exploit them. Bella Thorne doesn’t need OnlyFans to make money and get her content to reach a wide audience. She’s taking up space to make a splash.

Thorne Claimed She Was Doing Research For A Movie

She then went on to claim that this whole lil’ experiment of hers (again, her “experiment” is how many sex workers are keeping the lights on) was part of her research for a movie she’d be making about OnlyFans.

Girl. If you wanted good research that would lead to authentic material, you could have just paid sex workers to help you make this movie. Again, there is a pandemic happening that is putting many sex workers out of work, and they could really use extra gigs right now. But apparently she thought it’d be cooler and would create more buzz if she shocked the internet with making an OnlyFans and then based a movie of off her experience of making millions easily her first week. Super interesting movie plot you’ve got there.

It’s also worth noting that Sean Beaker denied any involvement with this project and even said he advised Thorne to consult with sex workers first.

Sex Workers Get Called Scammers All The Time. Now Bella Thorne. Has Fueled This Stereotype

After Thorne made her OnlyFans page and made headlines, sex workers were already voicing concern online that this would ultimately lead to harm to the community, as well as negative changes to the site. Because here’s the thing about sex workers: they are resilient, intelligent people who have survived so much, and are able to see what is best and what is worst for them.

Sh*t hit the fan when Thorne apparently sent out a pay-per-view message (a feature on the site that allows you to charge subscribers to open a message) for $200 that implied it contained photos of her naked. However, it turned out that it did not, in fact, have nude photos of her. So people were pissed, and asked for their money back.

Then, OnlyFans users suddenly realized that pay-per-view feature now only allowed them to charge a maximum of $50, and tipping options were capped at $100.

OnlyFans claims that these updates to the site are not based on one person, and just coincidentally came about at the same time as a celebrity with a huge following  was scamming her customers.

People love to stereotype sex workers, and one of the classic assumptions is that we are all scammers. Cause, you know, unlike truly every worker that exists, we are “just after your money.” It’s a harmful misconception that has led to drunk men twice my size rage-screaming at me about how I’m “lying” about how many songs went by during a lap dance, when really they were just too busy staring at my tits to count the songs I was diligently paying attention to.

Also, there’s a difference between hustling and doing what you need to survive, and scamming people out of $200 as part of your experiment to see what it’s like to be an online sex worker. Maybe don’t fuel the fire of negative misconceptions about us while you’re trying to co-opt a site made to help us survive. Just a thought!

Bella Thorne Claimed She Wanted To Help Sex Workers, But She Never Asked. Them What Would Be Helpful. And It Shows

In typical celeb 2020 fashion, Thorne eventually responded to the backlash by posting an “apology” on Twitter that did a lot more self congratulating and excusing herself than it did actually apologizing.

Right now is a really hard and scary time for a lot of sex workers. In-person sex workers like strippers, full-service workers, sugar babies, etc. have been trying to transition to online work, which is really hard to do when you don’t have a massive following, or Page Six writing articles about how you created your page. And online sex workers are now seeing an oversaturated market due to this, so many have had to lower their prices and adapt.

Sex workers don’t need a rich celebrity to come in, co-opt their space, and work off the misunderstanding that sex work is all about scamming, all to help them make a movie (also profitable for the celeb) about what it’s like to be on OnlyFans. That doesn’t help. She made things worse. She literally took away people’s ability to earn more money.

Bella Thorne did what celebrities cannot stop doing during quarantine: she recognized a time to grab the microphone from the people whose voices we should be uplifting and call that charity and activism.

Celebrities gentrifying OnlyFans and turning it into something different and more mainstream and less sex worker-focused isn’t going to gift sex workers with normalization, it’s going to erase us and push us aside. You’re not gonna be our “saviors” by just showing up to our spaces and making money for yourself.

If you want to help sex workers, pay them. Tip them. Hire them. Listen to them. Protest with them. Donate to organizations, fundraisers, and mutual aid funds that help them. Actually make it about sex workers and not about yourself. It’s that simple.


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Images: Andrea Raffin /; bellathorne (7), erikaheidewald, thekiranoir, Lilfilm / Twitter; Giphy

Irene Merrow
Irene Merrow
Irene makes jokes, understands politics, and has legit perfect eyebrows, all in a day’s work. Dumb bitch women really can have it all! This bio took her three days and five nightmares to write.