'Performance Prostitution' Ordinance Delayed in Wyoming Over OnlyFans Concerns

'Performance Prostitution' Ordinance Delayed in Wyoming Over OnlyFans Concerns

CASPER, Wyo. — A City Council vote in Casper, Wyoming was delayed yesterday, after a council member pointed out that a newly phrased legislative proposal criminalizing “performance prostitution” would affect local online sex workers, particularly those with an OnlyFans account.

Last month, the Casper City Council began revising their prostitution ordinance after the Casper Police Department and the Natrona County Sheriff's Office alleged that they had “seen some cases of prostitution that involve human trafficking,” according to local radio station K2 Radio.

City Manager Carter Napier told the council then that the main purpose was to further criminalize sex work by enhancing law enforcement’s ability to go after clients.

"The primary thing those changes would accomplish is having a clearer shot, if you will, at not only dealing with those who are committing the act of prostitution, but those that would actually solicit and purchase those acts as well," said Napier at the time.

A memo prepared by City Attorney John Henley justifying the ordinance reform, according to K2 Radio, alleged that “the victims of human trafficking are often vulnerable females who come to the United States from other countries based on promises of a job and citizenship.”

"Other victims,” Henley wrote, “come from the ranks of [the] nation's youth, who having run away and are living in desperate conditions on the street, are 'recruited' with the promise [of] safety and employment.”

Defining the Crime of 'Performance Prostitution'

The proposal changed the ordinance to create the new crime of “performance prostitution,” which it defined as “any touching, manipulation or fondling of the sex organs and/or aerola [sic] by one person upon themselves or by one person upon the person of another, whether by touch of the physical use of other items, for the purpose of sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the person who paid for and/or financed the sexual arousal or sexual gratification.”

But at yesterday’s meeting, Council Member Kyle Gamroth pointed out that the definition would criminalize online sex work in the city.

"I was just curious,” Gamroth asked, “would that make somebody, like, if they were using an OnlyFans account or something to generate some revenue on the side, would that make that illegal.”

”You know, if they were using that sort of phone application? Because I would be very hesitant to support something that, you know, criminalized someone using an OnlyFans account to generate some money on the side,” he added.

The Casper City Attorney office was taken aback by the question, and according to the K2 Radio report, “giggles” were elicited when a city official who had drafted the sex work criminalization ordinance acknowledged he did not know what OnlyFans was.

This occurred when Mayor Steve Freel asked Assistant City Attorney Wallace Trembath what he thought about Gamroth’s question, and Trembath acknowledged his ignorance about the platform.

Council Member Gamroth said he understood that OnlyFans is an app to "transmit video of yourself doing things and get money in return for that. I don't know what their stipulations are as a company, or an application of what you're allowed to do and what you're not allowed to do."

'Happily Married for 10 Years'

Gamroth acknowledged that his understanding of the revisions to the public decency ordinance would make them “broad enough to criminalize private interactions that don't involve a physical presence.”

Gamroth is in favor of the rest of the sex-work-criminalizing ordinance “dealing with sex trafficking and prostitution,” according to K2 Radio. He also said he’s not familiar with OnlyFans personally, having been “happily married for 10 years.”

The ordinance was returned to be redrafted so that the words “physical presence” or "in person" could be added.

City Manager Carter Napier ordered Trembath to do more research to determine "what piece of verbiage would be necessary to not criminalize those opportunities for commerce."

The meeting was postponed until February 16.

How to Link OnlyFans and 'Human Trafficking in Wyoming' via Julie Bindel

Local publication Oil City News added anti-sex work editorializing to their report by claiming that OnlyFans (OF) is exploitative.

“While some say OnlyFans empowers porn models by giving them the ability to work for themselves, rather than for porn production companies supplying large sites such as PornHub, others have said OnlyFans is a venue for exploitation,” wrote the Oil City News’ Brendan LaChance.

LaChance followed this claim with a recap of a piece by anti-porn SWERF crusader Julie Bindel, who regularly pens editorials for the British press lambasting all sex work based on tawdry, cherry-picked anecdotal evidence.

“One myth about OF is that its female content creators are empowered but I spoke to Alice [not her actual name], who signed up to the site last year after losing her receptionist job. Alice was told that she could earn ‘a fortune’ by posting raunchy photographs of herself and was reassured there was no contact or harassment,” Bindel wrote for the Evening Standard, in the piece titled ”OnlyFans is sex work and pornography — stop calling it ‘empowering,’” quoted by the Casper newspaper.

“‘At first it was brilliant,’ Alice tells me. ‘There was a little bit of semi-nudity and I was earning a fair bit, but then I came under pressure to film myself in pornographic poses and even having sex with a girlfriend. That’s when I got really upset and disabled my account.’”

Bindel thinks “it is dangerous to claim that OF is safe. Very little is said about the devastating emotional and psychological effects on women of being bought and sold by men. Being treated as a commodity for consumption takes its toll. OF may have made a fortune for the likes of Bella Thorne, but for countless other women, it costs them dearly.”

Oil City News then somehow directly connected Bindel’s UK editorial creating a made-up panic around OnlyFans, and based on anonymous sources, to their ongoing series on “human trafficking in Wyoming.”

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