Sean Baker claims to have warned Bella Thorne against making an OnlyFans account when they discussed a potential documentary about her life.
Filmmaker Sean Baker has released a statement denying reports that he is working on a documentary feature film with actress Bella Thorne about her foray into the content sharing website OnlyFans. Thorne recently said in a Paper Magazine interview that she and Sean Baker would be collaborating on a project that would give fans a glimpse into her private life. Thorne is no stranger to controversy after breaking from her Disney star roots, including famously leaking her own nude photos after a hacker threatened to leak them, kickstarting her advocacy about women being open about their sexuality.
Thorne’s latest actions, though, may have directly harmed those she is seeking to uplift. After creating an account on OnlyFans, Thorne has reportedly made nearly $2 million from the platform, charging $200 for nude photos that were never posted. Facing pushback from their customers, including many asking for their money back after paying for access to Thorne’s page, OnlyFans changed some of its policies. Many sex workers who use the platform have come forward to speak out against these changes as they may harm their only source of income during a time where employment is so unstable. Baker himself felt the need to clarify his relationship with Thorne because of the ways in which his films have engaged in conversations about sex work.
According to Indiewire Baker, the director behind indie projects Tangerine and The Florida Project denied claims of a collaboration with Thorne, saying that discussions had taken place, but that he was focused on two other projects that are in development. Baker himself has strongly advocated for the rights of sex workers and, after the response surrounding Thorne’s OnlyFans, felt that he needed to speak up. While Baker denied that he was working on a project with Thorne, the director also revealed that he warned Thorne and her team about the impact of creating the celebrity an OnlyFans account.
“Earlier this month I had a conversation with Ms. Thorne and discussed a possible collaboration in the far future that would focus on her life and the circumstances leading to her joining OnlyFans. 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. This has been the extent of my involvement.”
Among the changes that OnlyFans has made to its platform are caps on earning amounts for content creators and a waiting period before receiving funds that are cashed out to creators. Although OnlyFans has said that this is not the sole fault of any single individual, it seems clear that Thorne’s presence on the website has spurred these changes.
Thorne’s decision to make an account on the website prompted backlash even before the explosion of the controversy. Many sex workers already struggle to get their content on to the platform because of the complicated federal laws surrounding sex work and financial transactions involving sexual content on the internet. Thorne’s access to the website and alleged intention to use it for sex work is evident of the privilege she has as a celebrity joining the platform. Baker is clearly aware of this and concerned that his involvement in a project with Thorne could send the wrong message to the people he has been trying to reach.
Thorne, who will be seen next in The Babysitter 2: Killer Queen, may have earned quite a haul through her use of OnlyFans, and she has now apologized for the way her account affected sex workers on the site. Thorne has explained that she is only trying to defeat the stigma behind sex, but that she is “truly sorry” for her actions. The movie she purported to be involved in with Baker may have addressed those concerns further if it were actually going to be made, but that does not seem to be moving forward. Baker’s warning to Thorne seems to have fallen on deaf ears at the time, but at least she has now recognized the harm she may have cause to sex workers’ livelihoods.