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The OnlyFans Porn Ban Reversal Does Not Reassure Creators

The OnlyFans Porn Ban Reversal Does Not Reassure Creators

That didn’t last long. Less than a week after OnlyFans announced plans to ban porn from its platform due to pressure from its banking partners, the subscription site announced Wednesday that decision may have been premature. Instead of eliminating sexually explicit content on the site, the company said in a tweet, it had “secured [the] assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community,” and “suspended” its policy change, which was slated to go into effect on October 1.

The proposed changes would have been catastrophic for sex workers, who comprise the majority of the creators on the platform, and although the reversal is something of a relief, the about-face left some worried about their long-term futures on the site. “Workers still lost subscribers in this confusion,” says artist and adult content creator Trapcry. “I think they changed their minds, not for the sake of sex workers, but because they realized the backlash would hurt their pockets more in the long run.”

Money has been at the heart of many of OnlyFans’ maneuvers of late. When it announced the porn ban last week, the company said the move was meant to appease its banking partners, which include the Bank of New York Mellon and JPMorgan Chase, and in a follow-up interview with the Financial Times, founder Tim Stokey said Chase was “particularly aggressive in closing accounts of sex workers or …  any business that supports sex workers.”

Seemingly, that’s now changed. In a statement emailed to WIRED Wednesday, the company said the ban on explicit content is “no longer required due to banking partners’ assurances that OnlyFans can support all genres of creators.”

Still, many creators who scrambled to find alternatives in the wake of last week’s announcement do not see this turnaround as a victory. “If this is a win, it’s a temporary one,” says Anshuman Iddamsetty, a nonbinary creator who uploads content dedicated to fat pleasure under the psuedonym Boarlord. “I’ve never seen a platform reverse course like this ever. The language they chose in their announcement worries me. ‘Suspend’ doesn’t instill confidence. And they refused to mention sex workers or erotic laborers by name—they went back to the careful doublespeak of ‘creator’ and ‘all genres.’ We’re long past the point of dancing around the stakes. The porn ban could return October 2nd.”

What remains is an uncertain future for both creators and OnlyFans, which has plans to go public later this year. The site has more than 130 million users and 2 million creators, but hostility toward the porn industry has swelled recently, as adult subscription sites have gained popularity. Detractors believe sites such as OnlyFans, in part, are to blame for the rise in child porn.

“We need to talk about how our banking system has quietly crowned themselves the new morality police,” Iddamsetty says, citing payment processors such as Mastercard and Visa, which are being pressured by conservative groups Exodus Cry and National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) to sever ties with platforms that cater to explicit sexual expression.

Six-Word Sci-Fi: Stories Written By You

Six-Word Sci-Fi: Stories Written By You

THIS MONTH’S PROMPT

In six words, write a story about a robot pop star.

Disclaimer: All #WiredSixWord submissions become the property of WIRED. Submissions will not be acknowledged or returned. Submissions and any other materials, including your name or social media handle, may be published, illustrated, edited, or otherwise used in any medium. Submissions must be original and not violate the rights of any other person or entity.


AUGUST 2021

A Story About a Self-Aware Self-Driving Car

Image may contain Cushion Vehicle Transportation Automobile Car and Headrest

ILLUSTRATION: VIOLET REED

HE THINKS I’M TAKING HIM HOME.

—Stephen Clamage, via email


Honorable Mentions:

I take lithium for range anxiety. —@jamesjoaquin, via Twitter

I dreamt of the Autobahn again. —James Wortz, via Facebook

Honest, officer—the human was driving. —Steve Magid, via email

Don’t make me pull me over. —@atlrun, via Twitter

The smart car drove itself crazy. —@frascafrasca, via Twitter

The grandma or the baby—shit. —@gaophilip, via Twitter

Have I chosen the right path? —Andrew Dawson, via email

It takes itself on long drives. —Wade Sheppard, via email

It’s my way on the highway. —@manu.life, via Instagram


JULY 2021

A Story About a Casual Encounter With Aliens

Aliens at a telemarketing center.

ILLUSTRATION: VIOLET REED

SO, ABOUT YOUR PLANET’S EXTENDED WARRANTY ….

—@phorne96, via Twitter


Honorable Mentions:

You look nothing like your photo. —@markgyles, via Twitter

Lights, camera … where did it go? —thalia925, via email

They came, too late, for Elvis. —Bruce Lyon, via Facebook

Seeking vital fluids, they commandeered snacks. —Scott Medintz, via email

Do you have the correct spacetime? —Richard Krzemien, via email

I awoke with a probing thought. —@andynez, via Twitter

Take us to the Nigerian prince. —Juan Garcia, via Facebook

Quite unexpectedly, cocktail recipes were exchanged. —John Wagner, via email

You’re an alien! No you are! —@simon_staffans, via Twitter


JUNE 2021

A Story About an International Digital Heist

ILLUSTRATION VIOLET REED

ILLUSTRATION: VIOLET REED

THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT, ONLY ZEROES.

—@jamesnsmith, via Twitter


Honorable Mentions:

“Hand it over,” the ATM said. —Lauren Dolan, via email

They never suspected Alexa was Alexei. —Liz Ransom, via email

Why wouldn’t I help a prince? —Harleigh Marsh, via Facebook

They said nonfungible. They were wrong. —@eminay86, via Twitter

Use his eyeball while there’s time. —Noreen Anastasia, via Facebook

“Update Later” was the incorrect choice. —@terryfphotos, via Instagram

Check Google Maps. Kiev is gone. —r0cket fr0g, via email

They got away on the blockchain. —JYRWG, via email

Every cat photo gone. Police baffled. —@john.cartan, via Instagram


MAY 2021

A Story About a Freaky Discovery in Physics

Image may contain Comics and Book

ILLUSTRATION: VIOLET REED

GRAVITY WAS A CONSENSUAL, SHARED ILLUSION.

—Mark Crane, via Facebook


Honorable Mentions:

Schrodinger’s cat is actually a dog. —@tynanwrites, via Twitter

The Best Olympics Show Is Peacock’s Chaotic Tokyo Tonight

The Best Olympics Show Is Peacock’s Chaotic Tokyo Tonight

Watching the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is a strange experience. It’s been 2021 for more than seven months now, and seeing the logo feels like living in a time warp. Pandemic precautions mean there are very few people in the stands, so each event looks as though it’s taking place post-apocalypse. The time zones aren’t doing North American viewers any favors, either. Tokyo is 13 to 16 hours ahead of the US, so watching any competition in real time means staying up late or getting up horrifically early. 

Then there’s the issue of how to watch the Games in the first place. NBC likes to tout its streaming service as the “place to be” to catch all the action, but navigating the app is so confusing, it’s already spawned headlines like “Why Is It So Hard to Use NBC’s Peacock to Watch the Olympics?” It also makes viewing any single event in its entirety a bit of a nightmare. Peacock does, however, have one program that brings all of the oddity of the 2020 Games into a kind of focus: Tokyo Tonight.

Streaming live from an unusually purple set at NBC Sports headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, Tokyo Tonight is notably not in Tokyo. Unable to do on-site reporting, hosts Kenny Mayne and Cari Champion fill their impressively long 7:30 pm to midnight ET run time with off-kilter banter and a rapid-fire collage of coverage on everything from BMX biking and white water kayaking to skateboarding and ping-pong. It’s the ideal thing to watch while scrolling TikTok—and it’s a delight.

Champion is beautiful and witty, while Mayne exudes a loosey-goosey Boomer charisma and tends to approach his guests as though they’re people he just happened by chance to encounter, asking random questions and supplying odd anecdotes about his personal life. Crucially, both are unexpectedly droll for anchors—so much so that it’s often hard to tell when they’re joking. After Mayne started asking guests, abruptly and with little context, whether or not they like the band Pearl Jam, Champion got in on the action by asking for their stance on Beyoncé.

All of this gives Tokyo Tonight a whiff of experimental public-access charm previously unseen in traditional Olympics coverage. Often, Mayne and Champion appear onscreen seemingly unaware that their mics are hot. “Am I supposed to be doing something right now?” Mayne asked Champion one night last week, deep into the stream. “I’m tapped out.”

Even in the more polished portions of the show, a sense of whimsy persists. Mayne devoted one segment to a sketch in which he pretended a toddler was an elite gymnast. During “Shredding the Gnar With Mike Parsons,” Mayne interviewed the veteran American surfer in a conversation that bordered on the surreal. “How many times have you been out there, and there’s been a shark by you?” Mayne asked Parsons, who was clearly thrown off by having to estimate the number of sharks with which he’d shared an approximate location in his five decades of surfing. (He was unable to provide an estimate.) Unfazed, Mayne then informed Parsons and the viewers that the world’s waters belong to sharks, not humans. “It’s their ocean,” he said.

Then he asked Parsons whether he liked Pearl Jam.

Die-hard, gotta-watch-it-all Olympics fans will probably not like Tokyo Tonight, partly because of its hopscotching format and partly because it doesn’t take itself very seriously. But for those who enjoy seeing elite athletes shine on a global stage but who also feel a little queasy about watching a competition that really should not be taking place, and who like to watch Olympics coverage while looking at social media, it is a perfect sampler of short-form highlights presented by hosts who seem determined to make the least-boring version of a highlights show possible. 

If NBC continues to control Olympics coverage for American viewers, it’ll have to make some changes to keep people happy. It would also do well to preserve this kind of anarchic fun. The ocean belongs to the sharks, but my heart belongs to Tokyo Tonight.


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