OnlyFans announced Wednesday it was suspending plans to ban pornography from the site, a stunning reversal that came after outcry from users and sex workers who have fueled the success of the online platform.

OnlyFans, a site where fans pay creators for access to photos and videos, said last week that it would ban “sexually explicit” content from the platform starting Oct. 1 after requests from its banking partners. But the company reversed course Wednesday, tweeting, “Thank you to everyone for making your voices heard.”

“We have secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community and have suspended the planned October 1 policy change,” the company wrote. “OnlyFans stands for inclusion and we will continue to provide a home for all creators.”

Sophia Bernardi, a spokeswoman for OnlyFans, told The Washington Post that the move came after the company’s banking partners assured OnlyFans that it “can support all genres of creators.” Tim Stokely, founder and CEO of OnlyFans, told the Financial Times this week that Bank of New York Mellon, Metro Bank and JPMorgan Chase were the banking partners that caused the initial decision.

The company said it planned to send an official communication of the decision to the more than 1.5 million content creators on the site.

Representatives with Bank of New York Mellon, Metro Bank and JPMorgan Chase declined to comment.

Founded in 2016, the London-based private company exploded in popularity as a hub for content creators and celebrities to showcase their work to more than 150 million registered users, according to its website. It’s also been recognized as a haven for sex workers, who have been able to post and get paid in a safe manner. The company has recently tried to separate itself from the more sexually explicit content posted to the site, according to the Associated Press.

Last week’s announcement on the pornography ban signaled that OnlyFans would prohibit content that “shows, promotes, advertises, or refers to” real or simulated sex.

“In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform, and to continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines,” the company said last week.

The move came at a time where payment processors such as Mastercard and Visa are clamping down on the use of their cards to pay for sexually explicit content. Mastercard announced in April that banks connected with merchants in its network would need to certify that sellers of adult content have “effective controls in place to monitor, block and, where necessary, take down all illegal content.”

But Stokely told the Financial Times on Tuesday that it was the three banks, not the credit card companies, who fueled the initial decision to ban sexually explicit content. Stokely said the banking partners refused service to OnlyFans because of the “reputational risk” of the site’s sexual content, specifically noting how Bank of New York Mellon “flagged and rejected” every wire transaction associated with OnlyFans.

“The change in policy, we had no choice — the short answer is banks,” Stokely said.

He also claimed that Metro Bank closed OnlyFans’ account on short notice in 2019 and added that JPMorgan Chase had been “particularly aggressive in closing accounts of sex workers.”

Following last week’s announcement, the lack of guidance for sex workers on the platform created uncertainty in a precarious profession that managed to find its footing online, The Post reported. Many sex workers affected by coronavirus restrictions have been able to earn a steady living and often did so in the safety of their own homes.

N’jaila Rhee, who advocates for sex workers’ rights with the New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance, recently told The Post that the announced ban on sexually explicit content was a snub toward sex workers after they helped OnlyFans obtain a valuation of more than $1 billion.

“It’s the fact that we feel like we find a platform that welcomes or tolerates us and then once that platforms gets the engagement from us, now they want more money,” Rhee said last week. “Not only do they want more money, but they want more corporate money. Corporate money means it has to be more puritan.”

The move was celebrated by those who opposed the initial ban decision, but many content creators had already begun deleting videos and images that would have been in violation, according to the Verge. Others had started shifting to new platforms altogether ahead of Oct. 1.

United Sex Workers, a British-based organization supporting sex workers’ rights, applauded the outcry from those in the community who “demanded our voices were heard.” But the group said sex workers should the question of whether to stay on OnlyFans after the events of the last week.

“‘Suspended’ is not canceled, and OnlyFans is not to be trusted,” the group tweeted, “but now more than ever, it is time we come together and fight for our rights at work.”

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