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OnlyFans executive had bank account frozen over platform’s links to adult content

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A top OnlyFans executive has admitted that his bank account was suspended, hit by a growing problem faced by those associated with the social media platform used by sex workers.

Lee Taylor, chief financial officer, told the Financial Times’s TNW tech conference in Amsterdam this week: “My bank, where I have my mortgage for my house — where my family and my two children live — froze my account for a month while they went through a compliance procedure.”

He added: “They weren’t very transparent with me, but I later found out . . . that it was the name of the company that was paying my wages that had caused the compliance review.”

His admission comes months after Keily BlairOnlyFans chief executive, told the FT that her application for a personal bank account had been declined because she works for OnlyFans.

OnlyFans, which rejects the notion it is a pornography site, has struggled to overcome negative perceptions from adult content that dominates the platform. Banks and payments providers have long considered services associated with sex work as high risk, despite such content being legal.

“Reputational risk is a blanket term that they use,” said Taylor, referring to financial institutions.

The two OnlyFans executives declined to name the banks involved in their cases, with Taylor adding: “I don’t want to lose my mortgage.”

The London-based site has campaigned for better treatment from financial institutions for influencers on its platform who have struggled to obtain mortgages or bank accounts, known as “debanking”. More than 80 per cent of members of the Sex Workers Union say they have experienced some form of financial discrimination.

Sex workers have argued that the practice leaves them more vulnerable to financial exploitation.

The financial services group that turned Blair’s application down “would previously have been incredibly keen to have my business”, she said in an interview with the FT in February. “Nothing about me has changed, nothing about my risk profile has changed, but it was very interesting to see that prejudice come up.”

Blair called it a “really good lesson” on some of the issues that OnlyFans’ creators face.

The platform allows creators including adult content stars, musicians and artists to sell videos, images and messages directly to subscribers who pay a monthly fee of between $5 and $50.

OnlyFans takes a 20 per cent commission from that. Its revenues grew more than 17 per cent in the year ending November 2022 to more than $1bn.

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