Germany's Leading Censorship Advocate Now Targeting OnlyFans

Germany's Leading Censorship Advocate Now Targeting OnlyFans

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — Germany’s most vocal proponent of state censorship, an obscure local bureaucrat named Tobias Schmid who serves as the head of the State Media Authority (LMA) of North Rhine-Westphalia, has announced this week he has started investigating popular premium fan site OnlyFans.

“During the Corona [COVID-19] crisis, the OnlyFans platform has gained enormous popularity,” the news site for the NTV TV service reported Sunday. “According to the State Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia, the site is also attracting more and more providers of erotic content and the Authority is therefore calling for stricter regulation.”

“We are registering that OnlyFans, for example, are increasingly attracting erotic providers and influencers, and we will take care of it,” Schmid ominously warned the German public during an interview with the influential Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

A local bureaucrat aligned with the establishment’s center-right Christian Democrat party, Schmid has gained national and international stature since 2019 by appointing himself the Central European nation’s chief proponent of state censorship on sexual content.

Schmid’s rhetoric, like that of fellow War on Porn crusaders worldwide, claim his campaigns have a purpose to “protect the children,” although with the German twist that he is proudly an obsessive of “Ordnung” (order).

“Ordnungspolitik ist sein Fetisch" — “Order Policy [or Regulation Policy] is his fetish,” according to a profile of Schmid published in 2016.

A Would-Be Censor's 'Intense Reminders'

Schmid is the head of the State Media Authority (LMA) of North Rhine-Westphalia, an agency that is part of the federal state government of that German region and is of equal rank as the ministries or a superior state authority.

As XBIZ reported, in April 2020 Schmid loudly demanded “web locks” be placed on Pornhub. Schmid was particularly bothered by "gang bang" [sic] content, and how it was normalized on Pornhub among other sexual practices.

“If children get the impression that 'gang bang' is a normal sexual practice in which the woman is used and humiliated, it is certainly an extreme problem,” declared Schmid, who obsessed in his statements about policing “normal” versus “not normal” sexuality.

This past weekend, Schmid jumped on the current rising wave of anti-porn sentiment spreading from the NCOSE and Exodus Cry-led attack on Pornhub in the U.S. and Canada with a murky press campaign against the enormously popular — and headline-magnet — OnlyFans.

Schmid told Welt am Sonntag that the "core of our legal situation for these services [like OnlyFans is] the same as for the porn platforms. That means: no customers under the age of 18.”

Schmid sternly warned content makers that he is watching their activities.

His authority, he told the newspaper, will “intensely remind the ladies and gentlemen who sell pornographic services on their accounts that they are obliged to use a permissible system for the protection of minors.”

In October 2020, an extensive Vice magazine report on rising anti-porn attitudes in Germany focused on Schmid. The Vice piece characterized him as “relentless” and points out that some members of the German press are critical of his zeal.

A Curiously Timed Article

Schmid’s warning coincides with rumors in both the adult industry and among War on Porn crusaders that, although Pornhub is the current flashpoint for the ongoing and largely religiously motivated attacks, “OnlyFans is next.”

At the end of February, several models and sex worker advocates began sharing the news that an article would be published imminently targeting OnlyFans with a number of allegations.

The article finally materialized on February 3, but it was not through a prominent news organization or from an experienced journalist. Instead, the piece appeared on a news blog called Forensic News, founded in 2019 by a young man from Orange County named Scott Stedman, who had graduated from college a year earlier.

Stedman’s mission statement vaguely describes Forensic News as “a concept and experiment.”

“At its core,” Stedman wrote, “we aim to deliver original long-form investigative journalism that actually matters. Though focused on national security/political/legal matters, we will never turn a blind eye to reporting that could make an impact. Every investigative report that we produce will include hard evidence. Evidence that one could hold in their hands. Bank records, notes, documents, flight logs, corporate filings, pictures.”

Although Stedman also claims the purpose of his publication is to “speak truth to power,” his background is in communication work for law enforcement and “dossier journalism” (as in stories deliberately leaked in the context of financial disputes).

According to his LinkedIn page, Stedman collaborated for almost three years (2012-2015) with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, where he says his duties included “conducting social media and terrorism research and analysis” and “contributing to the Open Source Intelligence Team during events.” At the time, Stedman was attending high school and college.

After graduating from college, Stedman managed to land a book deal with Skyhorse Publishing and he produced a tome entitled “Real News: An Investigative Reporter Uncovers the Foundations of the Trump-Russia Conspiracy.”

Skyhorse has also published books by Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz and anti-vaccine advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., both of whom endorse the publisher on its webpage.

Stedman wrote two articles about OnlyFans and those he identifies as its owners: one published in August 2020 and the aforementioned piece on March 3.

Both articles make allegations and implications with sensational headlines, followed by “document dumps” typical of dossier journalism, couched in strategically placed disclaimers disavowing those allegations and implications.

The final lines of the March 3 article reveal that “there have been no charges filed” and that “the allegations within the banking documents are not conclusive evidence of any criminal wrongdoing,” which beg, then, the questions of why the Forensic News pieces targeting OnlyFans are being published, and why, precisely, they are being published now.

Main Image: Tobias Schmid, head of the State Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia (Photo: official portrait)

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