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OnlyFans' CEO blamed his decision to ban porn on pushback from Bank of New York Mellon, JPMorgan, and Metro Bank: 'We had no choice'

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OnlyFans' CEO said the company had "no choice" but to ban explicit content if it wanted to maintain relationships with banks.

Tim Stokely, the founder and chief executive of OnlyFans, told the Financial Times banks like Bank of New York Mellon and JPMorgan had created obstacles for the company to pay creators due to the tech firm's association with sex work. 

"JPMorgan Chase is particularly aggressive in closing accounts of sex workers or...any business that supports sex workers," Stokely told the Financial Times.

OnlyFans, founded in 2016, allows creators to charge subscribers a subscription fee for their content. The platform became associated with explicit content once sex workers took to the platform during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. 

The platform came under fire after OnlyFans announced a ban on "sexually-explicit conduct" starting October 1. Sex workers accused OnlyFans of using them to make money and then kicking them off the platform.

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Stokely said Bank of New York Mellon, which OnlyFans used as an intermediary bank to help transfer money from subscribers to creators, "flagged and rejected" every wire connected to the company, "making it difficult to pay our creators."

He added Metro Bank closed OnlyFans' corporate account in 2019, leaving many sex workers on the platform without financial services. Metro Bank declined to comment on this story.

Stokely rejected reports that OnlyFans banned porn to attract investors. Axios reported investors were hesitant to buy into the platform — valued at $1 billion — due to its association with sex work.

Stokely said OnlyFans' relationship with Mastercard, which cut ties with Pornhub in 2020 after a New York Times opinion piece followed claims of sex trafficking on the platform, had "no bearing on the decision" to ban porn.

"This decision was made to safeguard their funds and subscriptions from increasingly unfair actions by banks and media companies," Stokely told the FT. "We obviously do not want to lose our most loyal creators."

JPMorgan and OnlyFans were not immediately available for comment. BNY Mellon declined to comment.

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