In the latter category are stories such as the credit companies’ ditching of Pornhub, and Twitter’s de-platforming of adult accounts — both happening just when the pandemic has made the mainly self-employed people from this sector more reliant than ever on social media.
Throw in a few other events like Brexit and the odd latex-related date marker such as when Instagram banned and later unbanned #latex, and what we have below is a mixed bag of serendipitous external events that might amuse, intrigue or annoy you. All the pieces are short, and most have links, including some to very readable original articles published by the likes of Xbiz, the Daily Beast and Rolling Stone magazine.
BANNER: porn star Cherie DeVille. Her piece for the Daily Beast forcefully refutes the New York Times’ attempt to brand the entire US adult industry as a sex-trafficking racket.
PANDEMIC LOCKDOWNS & LATEX BANS
More than 250 million Europeans have gone into lockdown, with UK lockdown following on March 23 and US states between March 19 and 24. At around the same time, people posting latex pictures on social media report seeing more sanctions against such imagery, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. This trend continues over the ensuing months. One easy explanation for more sanctions is the big increase in social media use because of the pandemic, but not everyone is sure that’s the whole story.
LATEX FROM BALMAIN & SAINT LAURENT
Summer is when the Paris fashion designers’ Autumn/Winter collections, launched in February/March, start to go on sale. Balmain’s new latex scores early fans in Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, while at the more affordable end (though still expensive compared with specialist latex designer prices) is the new Saint Laurent ready-to-wear latex collection by Anthony Vaccarello. High-rise latex leggings and pencil skirts feature strongly, but there are also standalone pieces such as a Midi Wrap dress and Racer midi dress. And this may surprise you, but there are no complaints about fashion brands of this standing getting harassed over pictures of models in latex on social media.
Kardashians’ Balmain latex @ Elle
Saint Laurent RTL latex @ Vogue
BELLA’S NON-NUDES ONLYFANS UPSET
Controversy at OnlyFans, where former Disney actress Bella Thorne has been selling “nude” photos for $200 a pop. She earns $2m in a week from the photos before subscribers complain the photos aren’t nude and start demanding their money back. OnlyFans then implements a plan it claims was “in the pipeline for a while” to cap the prices its content creators can charge. This immediately reduces the earnings of many (mainly female) OnlyFans creators who, during the pandemic, have become dependent on the platform to replace income from other sources they’ve lost in lockdown.
Bella Thorne @ OnlyFans
CELESTE BARBER CALLS OUT INSTAGRAM
Australian comedian Celeste Barber (7.4m followers) calls out Instagram for its “double standards” after one of her trademark celebrity spoof photos, mimicking a breast-cupping pose by catwalk star Candice Swanepoel, is flagged for ‘violating community standards’ although the original image is not censored. Instagram’s local head of public policy, Phil Chua, later apologises to Celeste, saying “This shouldn’t be happening and we are committed to addressing any inequity on our platforms. We expect to update our breast covering policies very soon.”
Celeste Barber @ Instagram
INSTAGRAM BANS #LATEX HASHTAG
The hashtag #latex is hidden, much to the consternation of the fetish community, which widely sees it as confirmation of social media persecution of those with latex interests. (See our piece about the hashtag ban, including the actual explanation for it, here.) Among many protesters is Scots latex enthusiast Kirsty Munro, who targets Instagram with a Change.org petition: Stop discrimination – reverse the ban on #latex. You can support the petition via the link below.
Kirsty Munro latex petition @ Change.org
FACEBOOK’S SEX GUIDE RESURFACES
The Twittersphere reminds us of The Guardian’s article How Sexual Activity is policed on Facebook, originally published in May 2017. The extracts from FB’s official guidelines for moderators exclude some of the more explicit guidance, such as how to distinguish an acceptable upskirt shot from an unacceptable one. The article doesn’t mention fetish specifically but certainly gives an insight into the corporate mindset in relation to restricting adult content.
How FB polices sex @ The Guardian
VISA & MASTERCARD DROP PORNHUB
Visa and Mastercard announce that their cards will no longer be usable on the adult Pornhub platform. At this point Pornhub, an income source for many artistes in the fetish community, has already banned unverified users, because some were uploading sexual abuse material. But Pornhub owner MindGeek remains under attack from rightwing Christian campaign groups determined to abolish internet pornography entirely, under the pretence of stopping sex trafficking. PayPal has also withdrawn support but the platform has retaliated with new payment options including crypto currency.
Pornhub vs Visa & Mastercard @ Xbiz
BREXIT AFFECTING LATEX BIZ, OR NOT? ‘Full Brexit’ quickly looks like excelling itself as even more of a disaster than predicted by those who never fell for the lies. It appears that anything anyone tries to import or export between the UK and Europe, or indeed elsewhere, is now likely to have extra costs slapped on it. The British latex clothing industry — the world’s largest — is soon buzzing with stories of rising costs of raw materials and shipping, and of overseas customers hit with extra import charges. And Brexit may have been the last straw for at least one brand already hit badly by the covid effect. However, the post-Brexit picture also includes latex labels doing unexpectedly well with exports, without their customers paying more. But whether we’ll see UK brands exhibiting at European fetish fairs in the future remains to be seen.
INSTA WARNS ALIX OVER BBC TRAILER
UK broadcaster/writer/sex educator Alix Fox receives a warning from Instagram that an official post about her BBC Radio 1 show Unexpected Fluids, “an educational comedy show”, is against its sexual solicitation guidelines. This may be just one instance among many, but it provides a reminder of the platform’s talent for tone-deafness when attempting to distinguish legitimate broadcast content from types of violating material.
Alix Fox @ Instagram
UNBANNING OF THE #LATEX HASHTAG
Instagram reinstates the #latex hashtag, to the great relief of the latex community. The hashtag was hidden for some eight weeks.
TWITTER DELETES ‘ADULT’ ACCOUNTS
Rolling Stone magazine reveals that Twitter has suspended the account of long-established fet industry trade show Fetish Con’s organiser Genesis Lynn. The unexpected move came in December, and she isn’t alone — Twitter has also suspended the accounts of Clips4Sale and ModelCentro. Some insiders believe Twitter may have been responding to an unexpected increase in use of the platform by sex workers during the pandemic. But adult industry consultant Amberly Rothfield doesn’t believe they are being uniquely targeted, despite an 82 percent increase in deletions among the 5,000 sex worker accounts she monitors. Like Pornhub, Twitter has also been on the receiving end of an anti-porn lawsuit from a religious right-wing group.
Twitter drops adult a/cs @ Rolling Stone
CHERIE DEVILLE BEASTS THE NY TIMES
The Daily Beast publishes porn actress Cherie DeVille’s article: Stop Listening to The New York Times and Start Listening to Porn Stars. It’s a response to Nicholas Kristof and Exodus Cry’s campaign against Pornhub, which vilified the adult industry as a sex trafficking racket and lost Pornhub its payment support from Visa and Mastercard. DeVille forensically examines the unverified claims that have resulted in self-employed performers on Pornhub being treated as complicit in illegality and consequently dropped from other platforms that help them promote themselves and obtain work.
Cherie DeVille trashes NYT @ Daily Beast
FACEBOOK BLOCKS AUSTRALIAN NEWS
Not content with blocking individual latex images, Facebook decides to block an entire continent’s news. This is its response to the Australian Government’s upcoming legislation to make social networks pay news publishers for content. But when FB blocks the news sites, it also blocks dozens of other, non-news sites such as emergency services and pandemic info sources. Global condemnation shames it into apologising for its overreaction; it eventually drops the entire blocking action and enters negotiations to pay Australian news sources. Esteemed media analyst Emily Bell, writing in the Guardian, says of Facebook: “Even for a social media company that specialises in public relations disasters, this was an achievement.”
Facebook vs Australia @ The Guardian
FETISHISTAS: LATEX VS SOCIAL MEDIA
The Fetishistas publishes its March cover story: a three-page investigation into how increased censorship by social media platforms has unfairly targeted the latex community. From Instagram’s ‘unrelated’ latex hashtag ban last autumn to the ‘14 years of harassment’ allegedly suffered by Bianca Beauchamp, the invesitgation finds that those posting latex imagery risk seemingly indiscriminate bans, takedowns and account deletions. Platforms are accused of lacking transparency over deletions and providing inadequate means of objection or redress. Rules appear unevenly applied and favour celebrities and VIPs, while takedowns may require legal help to reverse.
Latex vs Social Media @ TheFetishistas
INSTAGRAM BANS #LATEXCATSUIT
Instagram hides the #latexcatsuit hashtag. Here we go again, sigh…