It’s the adult website blowing up the porn industry and driving income for sex workers. But while performers claim it’s empowering, it’s not without risk.
It’s the adult website blowing up the porn industry and driving income for sex workers. But while performers claim it’s empowering, it’s not without risk.

$52k a month: Adult star who is cashing in on OnlyFans

Cash and control is driving Australian sex workers to OnlyFans in a snub to the porn industry and websites linked to image-based abuse.

The subscription-based adult site has been embraced by Australian creators for giving performers control of their content, contracts and earnings although cyber experts warn the platform is far from risk-free.

Australia's most high-profile OnlyFans star Renee Gracie, who is in the top 0.01 per cent of creators, never considered porn until OnlyFans.

"I would have never worked with a porn company or porn producers," Ms Gracie said.

"(On OnlyFans) I am in control. I do the content myself or with another person. No matter how good the money is I would not do it another way. I've been approached by Pornhub and Brazzers, no way - with OnlyFans I'm the boss."

 

OnlyFans content creator and former V8 Supercar driver Renee Gracie says the site has been a game-changer for adult stars. Picture: Jerad Williams
OnlyFans content creator and former V8 Supercar driver Renee Gracie says the site has been a game-changer for adult stars. Picture: Jerad Williams

OnlyFans launched in 2016 but grew exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic when brothels shut and sex workers shifted online site to maintain an income.

It has since become the biggest disrupter to the porn industry since the proliferation of online 'tube' sites in the 2000s, such as Pornhub, which host millions of adult videos.

Pornhub has come under increasing scrutiny since December 2019, when it suspended all videos on its site that were not uploaded by content partners or verified models.

It followed allegations the site was hosting videos containing rape and abuse videos and image-based abuse material also known as revenge porn and child porn.

Both MasterCard and Visa cut ties with the site in the wake of the claims.

Concerns over how sites like Pornhub operate has pushed women like Sydney sex worker Kimberley Hartley, 21, known as Veruca Salt on OnlyFans, to steer clear of the industry.

Kimberley Hartley, 21, known as Veruca Salt, is earning big bucks on OnlyFans: Picture: Instagram.
Kimberley Hartley, 21, known as Veruca Salt, is earning big bucks on OnlyFans: Picture: Instagram.

"I find websites like Pornhub repulsive. I'm not sure whether I would work with a porn company either - the way they (Pornhub) promote videos using incest and teenagers is not something I would ever consider," she said.

Ms Hartley uses the thousands she earns to invest in the stock market.

"I earned $5000 in my first month on OnlyFans about a year and a half ago. In December, I made $45,000 and this month I've already earned $52,000," she said.

 

The world’s biggest porn site, Pornhub was visited more than 40 billion times in 2019.
The world’s biggest porn site, Pornhub was visited more than 40 billion times in 2019.

Cyber Safety expert Susan McLean, who has investigated cyber crimes for more than 27 years, said while Only Fans content is behind a paywall, it's still at risk of wider circulation.

"As soon as you post something on the internet, there is not much you can do. Control and ownership are completely different things. You can own an image or video posted on the internet but it does not mean you will always be in control of it," she said.

"The minute it hits the internet it is gone. Good luck trying to track down people who are breaching copyright."

 

 

OnlyFans was set up to give fans exclusive access to creators based on a paid subscription. Because it allows explicit content, it grew to be known for online sex work and has not been without controversy.

In July 2020, the site was accused of not paying tax in the UK and months later, in August, content creators claimed they had money stolen from their accounts.

There's also growing concern women using the site are vulnerable to scams and in 2020, a 21-year-old content creator on the Gold Coast was allegedly harassed by a stalker who leaked her personal information online.

 

 

Despite the risks, Australian performers are earning significant dollars on the site depending on their popularity, with most creators charging between $5-$30 per month for a subscription.

Long-time porn actor, director and producer Angela White said she makes far more money on the service than in traditional porn videos.

The 35-year-old Sydney woman now based in LA bumped up her Only Fans posts during the pandemic when it shut down porn sets.

"It was fortuitous. It was something I had planned to put more time into, it has been an incredible way to interact with fans," she said.

"I think it has empowered women to take things into their own hands. It has empowered all performers. I think it is great for the industry."

 

 

Originally published as $52k a month: Sydney women cashing in on OnlyFans

Ms Hartley says OnlyFans has made traditional porn unappealing to creators.
Ms Hartley says OnlyFans has made traditional porn unappealing to creators.

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