Bella Thorne has finally apologized for screwing over thousands of sex workers after raking in $2 million on OnlyFans from her brief appearance on the site.
Unfortunately, her apology was riddled with privileged language and focused on herself, rather than the larger issues.
Bella took to Twitter to release a multi-part apology, saying that she only wanted to “remove the stigma behind sex, sex work, and the negativity that surrounds the word SEX itself by bringing a mainstream face to it.”
Bella then goes on to brag about all the things she’s done to “destigmatize sex work” and says,
“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.”
She specifically cites the pornographic film she directed, Her & Him.
This is a common tactic for performative allies — instead of focusing their attention on the people who really need it (in this case, sex workers), they find a way to make it all about themselves.
Bella’s “look at me, look at me” rhetoric doesn’t scream ally, it screams ignorance.
And yet her ignorant comments don’t end there. After that, she says,
“I am a mainstream face and when you have a voice, a platform, you try to use you in helping others and advocate for something bigger than yourself.”
That sounds good in theory, but in practice, Bella went about it the completely wrong way.
If you want to use your platform to bring attention to an issue, you don’t make it about yourself, as Bella did. Rather, you use your platform to amplify the voices of sex workers themselves. You allow them to speak for themselves and you use your platform to give them access to a much bigger audience than they might otherwise have. It’s a time for you to be quiet, not to speak louder, which only drowns out the voices of the disenfranchised even more.
Bella says she went on OnlyFans to do research for a film she was working on with director Sean Baker (who vehemently denies ever being attached to the project). But instead of going on OnlyFans herself, should have interviewed the people who use OnlyFans every day, who rely on the subscription platform for their income. After all, how could her little white privileged butt have nearly the same experience as the average user on the site?
Bella’s actions have caused damage well beyond the two days she was on OnlyFans. The website announced new regulations for their users, placing a limit on how much users can charge for pay per view (PPV) content, a limit on how much a customer can tip, and adjusting how long it will take for users to get paid.
OnlyFans claims that these new rules have nothing to do with Bella Thorne but it’s obvious that’s not the case.
These new regulations will have a huge impact on sex workers, particularly those who rely on it for their income. Erika Hoedewald, an OnlyFans user, explained it *perfectly* in this Twitter thread if you’d like to understand the specifics.
Bella promises to speak with OnlyFans about the new regulations but the damage may be irreversible.
Bella Thorne could have gone about her “research” in so many ways but her privilege and ignorance prevented her from seeing the bigger issues at play. Instead, she dove in without thinking about the consequences of her actions.
Let this be a lesson to all celebrities. If you truly want to be an ally, you need to do your research first. Otherwise, you might just end up causing more harm than good.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.