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Bella Thorne apologizes after sex workers, advocates blast her OnlyFans work

A portrait of actress Bella Thorne.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Bella Thorne responded to social media backlash over her decision to join the subscription platform OnlyFans in a series of tweets Saturday, saying she was trying to help reduce the stigma around sex work and plans to meet with those in charge to discuss new policies that have recently gone into effect.

“I wanted to bring attention to the site,” she wrote on Twitter. “The more people on the site, the more likely of a change to normalize the stigmas... I have risked my career a few times to remove the stigma behind sex work, porn and the natural hatred people spew behind anything sex related. I wrote and directed a porn against the high brows of my peers and managers because I wanted to help with the stigma behind sex.”

Thorne, who made more than $2 million on the subscription platform in a little more than a week, says she was trying to “help bring more faces to the site to create more revenue for content creators” and “remove the stigma behind sex, sex work and the negativity that surrounds the word sex itself by bringing a mainstream face to it.”

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The actress, who initially came to fame on the Disney Channel comedy “Shake It Up,” had earlier revealed she planned to help make a film about OnlyFans with “The Florida Project” director Sean Baker. Baker later released a statement to distance himself from the project.

“I am a mainstream face and when you have a voice, a platform, you try to use [it] in helping others and advocate for something bigger than yourself,” she tweeted. “Again in this process I hurt you and for that I’m truly sorry.”

Hundreds of OnlyFans performers spoke out against Thorne’s arrival to the site and accused her of taking opportunities from workers who are relying on the platform for income during the pandemic. On Thursday, the platform updated its rules to dictate that no vendor on the site can charge more than $50 for pay-per-view content and none of its more than 30 million users can tip more than $100. Payment speeds have also slowed, with some international vendors complaining that they now had to wait 30 days to receive payment.

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“I’m meeting with only fans about the new restrictions to find out why!!!” Thorne tweeted. “This is ... up and I’m sorry. Comment any ideas or concerns you want brought up to OF!!”


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