OnlyFans CEO on why it banned adult content: ‘the short answer is banks’

Tim Stokely, founder of OnlyFans and CEO, says that banks are behind the recent ban on explicit material from online crowdfunding platforms. In an interview with the Financial Times published today, Stokely stated that the change in policy was inevitable and that banks were responsible.
Stokely identified three banks that were unable to provide service due to reputational risks associated with OnlyFans' sexual material from the UK: Metro Bank, Bank of New York Mellon and JPMorgan Chase. He claimed that OnlyFans was specifically flagged by BNY Mellon, which threatened its ability to pay creators.

Bloomberg reported last week that OnlyFans, a platform known for its support of sex workers, was being pressured by banking partners and payment providers to ban the promotion or sexually explicit material beginning October 1. Anything that promotes, advertises or refers directly to real or simulated sexual activity, masturbation or sex-related bodily fluids will be affected by the ban. Although it will allow nudity, OnlyFans creators were notified by email that zooming too close could be a violation of the rules.

The ban will be in effect from October 1st

The digital economy is plagued by payment processors such as Visa and MasterCard. They have recently slowed down the use of their cards for paying for sexual content. This is ostensibly to stop platforms that allow child sexual abuse material or nonconsensual pornography, but this crackdown was forced by organizations that strongly oppose sex work.

Stokely's comments however single out banks for the main drivers of the ban. Stokely claims JPMorgan Chase is particularly aggressive in closing the accounts of sex workers and businesses that support them. He also stated that Metro Bank had shut down OnlyFans' account in 2019 on short notice. Stokely stated to the Financial Times that he would not disclose the current bank partners of the company.

OnlyFans is one of many web companies that have taken steps to limit or eliminate sexual content over the past few years, following platforms such as Patreon and eBay. Companies that provide sex services to sex workers are now at greater risk of legal action due to increased payment pressures. Apple and Google's app stores also prohibit sexually explicit material. Axios reported on the day of OnlyFans' sex crackdown that OnlyFans had struggled to raise capital from investors, citing OnlyFans' porn problem. However, sex workers played a key role in the growth of services and, despite some music and film stars using it, their future is uncertain.