Porn Stars Criticize Tumblr's Ban on Adult Content

Porn Stars at Rest

Tumblr’s recent announcement that they were banning “adult content’ prompted a widespread backlash. In a matter of days, a petition started by a NSFW adult artist named “S.S” has racked up almost 350,000 signatures — over 200,000 were in the first hour — asking the platform to rescind the ban.

“I’m a NSFW Tumblr artist who has the vast majority of their viewership (and thus, potential for income from commissions and such) on Tumblr,” S.S. wrote. “With Tumblr being taken down, a large portion of my viewerbase will go with it, and not only will this hurt people like myself, who rely on this income to live, but it will also mean the people who do want to view that content no longer get it.”

But it’s more than just art; adult performers, who have been able to use Tumblr to cultivate and maintain their fanbase in the past, will see a large share of their content banned. Here, we asked a few queer adult performers to give their reaction to the new ban.

 

TOPHER DREW

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by T O P H E R D R E W (@topherdrew212) on

“My success in the adult industry is in large part due to Tumblr. I grew an audience of over 100,000 followers in less than two years [there]. I used that following to eventually translate free clips into paid subscriptions on sites like JustForFans, which is now my primary source of revenue.

The idea that Tumblr, a platform that used to be all about porn, would act as though sex workers and performers aren’t a 'part of their community,' is frankly preposterous.

Tumblr is for porn. This will be the end of Tumblr, and frankly, good riddance to it.”

 

XL

“After I heard the news, I was extremely upset at the fact that most users who do occasionally partake in viewing adult content would be penalized without warning or even without an attempt to find compromise. I understand online media servers (who employ conservative admins) don't want to see porn being shared publicly; but why not make it private? Why not have a 'Must Be Over 18' to view? Allow us to input our birthday every single time if needed, but simply banning it without question is wrong because then we're at the mercy of what someone else says is acceptable.

If heterosexual white men are policing what content we can view, at some point it makes me wonder if they'll ban certain content they find explicit [that aren’t]. Non-explicit nude portraits, gay love stories, random images of men kissing, and queer narratives possibly being banned just because they contain a sense of adult realism is forced censorship to me. That could lead to anti-gay rhetoric spreading online while heterosexual imagery stayed in the foreground. I've seen this pattern occur before with the shutdown of RentBoy (a gay escort site) yet the approval of AshleyMadison (a heterosexual escort site). I just hope they hold all content to the same standard and refrain from purposely discriminating primarily against queer people. We as queer people tend to be low hanging fruit that some conservatives feel they need to regulate while actual sexual deviancy goes unnoticed.”

 

DEVIN FRANCO

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Devin Franco (@devin_franco) on

"I think it’s crazy; Tumblr has been such a great space for porn until recently. I want to say it’s gonna hurt them in the long run and they will become the next MySpace, but who knows? I’m worried that the recent site shutdowns and content removal is targeting sex workers and making it harder for them to make money on the internet rather than in the streets. At the same time, someone will probably take advantage of this opportunity to create a new (potentially better) site for a community who wants a safe space to share adult content. This could also drive more people to actually pay for the porn they consume, which in the end would mean more money for people like me who create content. I guess we will have to wait and see"

 

BUCK ANGEL

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Buck Angel (@buckangel) on

"It was a matter of time that Tumblr started banning adult content, in my opinion. Watching how this administration has come after sex workers under the guise of sex trafficking and creating fear has enabled them to, little by little, dismantle our sexual freedom of expression. It is not new for many of us in the professional business to have dealt with this and now that they are coming after anyone who posts anything 'sexual,' I think more people will see the bigger picture of the dangerous behavior of censorship."

 

LEO SWEETWOOD

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by L e o S w e e t w o o d (@leosweetwood) on

"It sucks, but unfortunately this is happening with every platform. In order to be a 'porn star' you have to also present yourself as advertiser/platform friendly. This means performers will have to cater to each platform individually and by that platform’s rules. What you’re allowed to post on Twitter you might not be able to post on Instagram. What you say in a tweet you might not be able to say in a comment on Facebook.

Their platform, their Rules."

 

CONNER HABIB

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Conner Habib (@againsteveryonewithconnerhabib) on

"Online platforms love to build themselves up on the labors of sex workers and people interested in sexual expression, and then pull the rug out from under them. It's a common exploitative move, not to be explained away by empty and insulting statements like those made by Tumblr CEO, Jeff D'Onofrio, that they're simply making a 'safe place for creative expression, self-discovery, and a deep sense of community.' People need to remember that sexual imagery is the canary in the coal mine for free expression in general, and that sex workers' rights (and many sex workers used Tumblr for direct and soft marketing purposes) are the canary in the coal mine for all sorts of labor exploitation. Whatever is done to sexual expression and sex workers is what people and institutions in power want to do to all expression and all workers. That should concern everyone, whether they went to Tumblr for porn or (if these people even exist) you went to porn with no interest in adult content."

RELATED: Queer Women Used Tumblr to Explore Sexuality. Now It's Over

 

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