Porn has always been the black sheep of the Internet, something that everybody ‘does’ but no one wants to admit doing. And even though we have made so much of progress in sexuality in the world, being in porn is still seen as a generally shameful, morally wrong profession. No matter if the people involved in it love their job and do it without being coerced.
As with the case of the Duke student doing porn to pay her tuition everybody and their mama seems to have an opinion about doing porn. And it seems that list also includes payment processors and now crowdsourcing companies. To be fair, anyone that has a business that is even shyly related to the dreaded porn industry will find it hard to get the support of payment processors to process any payment. Only a few companies will accept your dollars and even then charge you a hefty fee. But now it seems that crowdfunding platform GiveForward has jumped on that bandwagon, raising the question about discrimination against Adult Entertainers.
Porn actress Eden Alexander recently started a campaign to help raise money for her medical bills after she was misdiagnosed for her illness leaving her in need of serious medical help. Her friends created a page for her on GiveForward but it was soon taken down at the behest of WePay, the payment processor of GiveForward. The reason being that Eden’s campaign had violated its terms of agreement, “…will not accept payments or use the service in connection with pornographic items.”
However, looking at her campaign page, no mention was made of pornography, selling, receiving, giving, nada. So it seems like the only pornographic item on the page, was well… Eden’s profession.
WePay has responded (in light of all the negative attention it is getting from this case) that the reason they took down Eden’s campaign is because, “WePay discovered tweets from others retweeted by Eden Alexander offering adult material in exchange for donations. This is in direct violation of our terms of service as our back-end processor does not permit it.”
Well, while WePay now wants to play nice, it seems it’s a little too late. Eden already has a another campaign up in Crowdtilt and it’s getting close to being fully funded (feel free to donate if you wish to help Eden) and has even been pitched in by the CEO of Crowdtilt.
I get that pornography (along with ponzi schemes and firearms) are considered by the FDIC as ‘high risk activities’ especially since there are loads of people out there waiting to scam you out of your money, and payment processors also want to safeguard themselves. But the FDIC guidelines are merely that… just guidelines. However they have now become a de facto ban on paying for any of these things on the Internet. There is no actual legal rule against porn related purchases on the Internet – but perhaps there is a moral one. It’s good to see that stories like Eden’s are coming to light and that there is some push back in the market. Hopefully in the future there will be less discrimination against the adult industry.