Rape, Child Exploitation + Image-Based Abuse: The Truth About OnlyFans

OnlyFans, a subscriber-only social media platform that allows people to sell pornographic content of themselves, is portrayed as a great way for young women to make money, and a better, safer option than traditional prostitution. Some of the dominant media narratives in support of OnlyFans frame it as an ethical alternative to mainstream porn sites, as the means for sellers to have more control over the content they produce, and even as a confidence-building endeavour for women (see our report Side Hustles and Sexual Exploitation). 


We’ve previously exposed how OnlyFans puts women and risk and leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. An increasing number of young female content creators report degrading and violent requests, abusive and predatory treatment, as well as doxxing, image-based abuse and stalking. We also published an account from former OnlyFans recruiter Victoria revealing how women were exploited and degraded on the platform. 

But it’s even worse. A growing number of reports expose OnlyFans hosting – and profiting from – illegal and abusive content, including videos of children, rape and non-consensually produced or shared material.

OnlyFans profits from rape

A special report by Reuters documented rape videos being sold on OnlyFans. It told the story of Sammy*, a 21-year-old woman suing the company under federal sex trafficking laws. Two men raped her, filmed the attack, and then sold it on OnlyFans – which took a cut of 20%. (In the New York Times, legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon described the company as a pimp.) 

Sammy is not the only rape survivor whose abuse has been streamed and sold on OnlyFans. The Reuters report cited a number of other cases: a Queensland man charged after filming himself raping his unconscious girlfriend and posting the footage on OnlyFans, a Thai couple who allegedly drugged and raped four women and a teen girl and uploaded videos on OnlyFans, and accused rapist and sex trafficker Andrew Tate, who is awaiting trial after allegedly forcing women to perform sex acts on video which was posted to the platform.

OnlyFans profits from image-based abuse

Reuters report includes the accounts of women who reported that intimate videos were sold on OnlyFans without their knowledge or consent, most often by a former male partner. Some were also shared on social media to promote the paid content on OnlyFans. The sale of their private videos caused significant distress for the victims:

In Texas, a woman described being forced to install a home security system after being harassed by stalkers who saw an OnlyFans video of her that went viral. A Nebraska woman said she struggled to go out in public, terrified that people might recognize her from a sex video her ex-boyfriend was selling on OnlyFans for $15. An Illinois woman said she learned that naked images of herself were circulating from her teenage daughter, who saw them online.

The women often had great difficulty in getting the videos taken down. Perpetrators often defend posting the content, claiming the women consented. The size of the platform and the paywalls make it difficult for police to investigate reports of image-based abuse. And while OnlyFans claims to moderate 100% of content, in some cases it took more than a year for them to remove non-consensual content after victims reported it.

In one case, where the perpetrator pleaded guilty, the victim reached out to the platform begging for videos of her to be taken down:

The company replied the next day, saying the video would be removed if confirmed to be nonconsensual, according to a screenshot of the message that [the victim] shared with Reuters.

“We take all reports of this nature extremely seriously,” a help desk representative wrote to her.

[The victim] said she never heard from OnlyFans again.

More than a year later, the video was finally removed.

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OnlyFans profits from child exploitation

A 2021 BBC report found that children as young as 13 were featured in pornographic videos on OnlyFans.

The investigation reported that minors were using fake ID to set up accounts, and showed how easily the age verification process could be circumvented in setting up an account for an underage content creator.

BBC documented a number of known cases where children – many vulnerable or at risk – had created OnlyFans accounts. One teen girl, a survivor of image-based abuse, was permitted to sell pornographic videos of herself on the platform despite her age being “everywhere” on other social media accounts.

Some children reported being victims of image-based abuse, with their images being sold on the site. According to a US watchdog, missing children appear in pornographic videos on the platform.

OnlyFans hosts and profits from rape, child sexual exploitation and non-consensually shared content. It facilitates men’s abuse of women and makes it profitable – and takes its 20% cut in the process.

This platform can never be safe. It can never be ethical. Claims to the contrary disregard the pain and suffering of the women and children who have been raped, exploited, humiliated and violated on OnlyFans.

As survivor Sammy* said, “A whole company has made money off of my biggest trauma.”

*name has been changed

See also:

“I told myself it was empowering”: The truth about OnlyFans

Call on the U.S. Attorney General Investigate OnlyFans

I recruited girls to sell themselves on OnlyFans. Here’s why I left.

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  • Caitlin Roper
    published this page in News 2024-06-20 08:40:32 +1000

You can defend their right to childhood

A world free of sexploitation is possible!

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