And not in a kinky way. I funded a business trip to the upcoming Feminist Porn Conference in part because of the financial assistance Patreon provided, where I'd be speaking on porn and privacy. I looked into this somewhat and found many such companies claiming that statistically, adult companies were more likely to be high risk for chargebacks when someone buys the content, often downloading what they want and then calling the company to report fraud. And Square has banned Courtney Trouble for life, even though they were using it for non-porn purposes, because their Google search uncovered that Courtney is a porn producer. While her offered perks followed Fundly's terms, WePay, the payment processor they used, shut down her account because they were "adult," causing the Sex Workers Outreach Project to write to Fundly encouraging them to stop using WePay and actually do what their tagline says I spoke to faith-based organization Solace SF about options. I found Patreon , a service that allowed content creators to gather patrons who could pay for your art on a subscription basis. It's not just them, either -- Amazon Payments joined the list when Polly Whittaker raised money to fund publishing her memoirs of her experiences with sex culture, but when it came to cash out, Amazon decided her memoirs were too sexual in nature. As I've discovered by seeking out stories on Twitter and Facebook , if you have anything to do with sex in some capacity and have tried to use an online payment processor, you'll have had a run-in with one of them freezing your account, returning donations in best case scenarios and just taking it in the worst cases.
In case you were wondering, my Patreon patrons all switched over and rent got paid. I would lose all my contacts, lose all the work I had done in media. Even if that help had panned out I was and still am somewhat conflicted about whether or not I want to leave the sex industry. Our economy is pretty terrible right now. I don't know a company alive that couldn't use that skill set in an unsteady economy. We simply had to take action to avoid a situation where creators would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars of legitimate pledges. When payment processors can dictate morality, that's a scary road to walk down. Also interesting is that being associated in any way with adult services or performers does not seem to be enforced across the board. I can't say I was altogether surprised. It seems like what counts as "adult" shifts drastically and is impossible to anticipate. As I've discovered by seeking out stories on Twitter and Facebook , if you have anything to do with sex in some capacity and have tried to use an online payment processor, you'll have had a run-in with one of them freezing your account, returning donations in best case scenarios and just taking it in the worst cases. For me, becoming a sex worker was part survival and part career path, as I had been working three jobs at a mall for very little and knew it wasn't sustainable. While Patreon was open to artists creating work that was adult in nature , their hands were tied. Companies like PayPal or WePay will Google people they deem suspicious and then take the money out of their accounts if they decide it's "adult" without ever clearly defining what that means. Andre Shakti found herself in similarly hot water in March for crowdfunding travel costs using Fundly to make it to the Feminist Porn Awards and Conference. And Square has banned Courtney Trouble for life, even though they were using it for non-porn purposes, because their Google search uncovered that Courtney is a porn producer. Interestingly, as faith in PayPal and WePay falls, companies like Verotel are moving forward, accepting Bitcoin as a possible alternative form of online payment for adult companies. PayPal and WePay are not required to give answers as to why they freeze or shut down accounts, but often all that's required is the history or even the suspicion of sex work. Many groups that focus on the intersection of sex work and religion or sex work and radical feminism talk constantly about how much they want women to leave the industry, how it drains us, how it mistreats us. I discovered that leaving the sex industry was far easier said than done. A representative from Solace told me that I had two choices -- work as a freelancer, continue to hustle and don't worry about my history If an employer Googles my name, they'll find my "sordid past" and then will it matter how many Twitter followers I have or the success of my blog? It encouraged me to work harder on my writing, and was, for the first time, a viable alternative to sex work. These businesses aren't targeted the way adult performers are. Seattle Erotic Art Festival had their account frozen even though they only used the service to process fine art submission fees. Guess PayPal just lost out on the fees for all those transactions.
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