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Bella Thorne OnlyFans
Via Instagram @bellathorne

Bella Thorne claims she was the ‘first’ to use OnlyFans

The actor is once again facing criticism after suggesting that those using the platform are ‘following in her footsteps’

In August, OnlyFans subjected its users to new transaction limits, capping pay-per-view prices at $50 and maximum tips at $100. Sex workers and other creators criticised the move, and blamed actor Bella Thorne for its introduction. Earlier that month, Thorne had joined the platform and sold a photo of herself for $200, quickly breaking the record for the most money earned in a day (over $1 million).

Creators accused Thorne of riding on the coattails of sex workers while not having to deal with the stigma they face. She was also criticised for not considering the impact her actions would have on those who rely on the platform as their only source of income.

“She didn’t think about us as real people or about sex work as a real job,” OnlyFans creator Erika Heidewald said at the time. Referencing the fact that Thorne’s ‘nude’ photo was actually of her in her lingerie – similar to images already shared on her Instagram – Heidewald continued: “She scammed people, which leads to the spread of a dangerous and unfair stereotype that sex workers are scammers even though every content creator I know works their ass off and cares about providing value.”

Despite apologising in August and claiming she “wanted to bring attention to the site… to normalise the stigmas”, Thorne has now declared that she was the “first” to use OnlyFans. Writing on Instagram Stories, the actor said: “Everyone jumping on OnlyFans but I took the hit for doing it first, cool. Legit everyone in my news feed following in my footsteps, but when I was getting heat, y’all were scared.”

Ignoring, for a moment, the fact that sex workers have long been on the platform (before Thorne even heard about it), it’s likely that the actor is referring to herself as the first celebrity to use OnlyFans. This isn’t even true – Cardi B, Rico Nasty, Swae Lee, Shea Couleé, and The-Dream all joined before Thorne, while Beyoncé gave a shoutout to OnlyFans in her April remix of Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage”.

Unsurprisingly, Thorne has been criticised for her latest comments. One Twitter user said: “Bella Thorne, u got shit on bc u scammed a bunch of ppl and forced OnlyFans to set a tip limit.” 

Another added: “Bella Thorne claiming to have ‘started’ OnlyFans, taking credit away from the Black and Brown SWs who made that platform what it is today, and the fact that it was created in 2016 and she hopped on THIS YEAR, I just… the worms in her brain are working overtime rn my god.”

OnlyFans creator Jasmine referenced Thorne’s lacklustre apology on Twitter, writing: “Remember when she posted an apology and told sex workers to send links so she would promote them, and then never did anything and now she just tweets promotions for her own OF page while sex workers are still screwed by the caps and restrictions that she brought about!”

Look back at Dazed’s 2018 feature about the rising popularity of OnlyFans here, and meet the straight men doing gay for pay on the platform here.