Indie filmmaker Sean Baker says he isn’t making any kind of movie about Bella Thorne and her record-breaking debut on OnlyFans.
In a statement Friday, Baker, whose credits include “The Florida Project” and “Tangerine,” disavowed any connection to a Thorne-OnlyFans project. His announcement comes after a backlash among sex workers who rely on income from OnlyFans about Thorne’s arrival on the subscription-based platform, which they believe has siphoned money away from their accounts. The social network has a reputation for hosting pornographic content, while Thorne has said she will not post nude content on OnlyFans.
Thorne, one-time star of Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up,” launched a $20-per-month OnlyFans account on Aug. 19. According to OnlyFans, she earned more than $1 million in her first 24 hours on the platform, setting a new record for the site. Thorne has since raked in upwards of $2 million from OnlyFans.
Last week, Thorne enthusiastically shared plans to make a documentary feature with Baker about her OnlyFans experience. In an Instagram post, the actor said she’s “excited to talk about the politics behind female body shaming & sex!!! With the amazing director sean baker who I’m proud to call my friend.”
Baker, in a statement posted on Twitter Aug. 28, said he is not, in fact, making a film about OnlyFans and Thorne. “I would like to make it clear that the news of me making a film (documentary or fiction narrative) about Onlyfans and using Bella Thorne as research is false.”
According to Baker, in a call earlier this month with Thorne, they discussed a potential project “in the far future” that would “focus on her life and the circumstances leading to her joining OnlyFans.”
However, Baker said, “On that call, I advised her team to consult with sex workers and address the way she went about this as to NOT hurt the sex work industry… I am an ally and have literally devoted my career to tell stories that remove stigma and normalize lifestyles that are under attack. I would never do anything that could possibly hurt the community. So please know that this news is not correct.”
Baker added that he is in development on two features “that I’ve put years of research and love into and neither of these films have anything to do with Ms. Thorne or Onlyfans.”
Thorne has not directly commented on Baker’s statement distancing himself from an OnlyFans project with her. However, Thorne on Friday retweeted comments by Baby Gemini (@hedonistlovers), a porn performer who sells an $8 monthly subscription on OnlyFans for access to explicit videos and photos.
In the Twitter thread, Baby Gemini said Thorne, who was her landlord for a brief period and let her film in the family’s home, “is an advocate for sex workers & has personally spoke on how she wants to make it more ‘normalized’ in society.” But Thorne’s launch on OnlyFans “backfired due to the lack of knowledge pertaining to how OF works,” Baby Gemini continued.
“Since I am very involved in [OnlyFans] and the online sex work community I reached out to Bella to meet up so we can speak on the real issues of sex work/onlyfans/gatekeeping and to educate as much as possible,” Baby Gemini wrote. “What happened to the smaller accounts because of the surge [by Thorne’s launch on OnlyFans] IS NOT FAIR… But we can work to fix !!!!! and I KNOW Bella agrees.
Earlier this week, Thorne discussed her plans to star in a film about OnlyFans that would be written and directed by Baker in an interview with the L.A. Times. She said she launched her OnlyFans account partly as research for the project.
“I’m super stoked because we are both really interested in the politics of the movie and making sure there’s a strong voice,” Thorne told the publication. “It’s a feature we are researching as I’m living it currently. What are the ins and outs? What does a platform like this do to its users?… You can be me, or this talented girl from Montana, and OnlyFans could change your life — if you want it to, of course.”
In 2019, Pornhub premiered Thorne’s film directorial debut, the pornographic original short “Her & Him,” described as a “sexually explicit reimagining of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet.’” Among her acting credits, Thorne starred in Netflix horror film “The Babysitter” and appears in the sequel, “The Babysitter: Killer Queen,” set to be released Sept. 10.
OnlyFans says that since launching in September 2016, it has paid out more than $1 billion to creators. The service currently has more than 50 million registered users and 700,000 content creators, according to OnlyFans.