Judge Allows APAG Officers' Lawsuit Against Meta to Move Forward

Judge Allows APAG Officers' Lawsuit Against Meta to Move Forward

SAN FRANCISCO — A U.S. District judge yesterday denied Meta’s motion to dismiss a civil lawsuit alleging that Meta employees conspired with OnlyFans to blacklist OnlyFans' competitors and their brand ambassadors.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup's ruling means that a proposed class action suit concerning the alleged conspiracy can move forward, and social media giant Meta will have to stand trial over the allegations.

As XBIZ reported, Adult Performance Artists Guild (APAG) board officers Alana Evans, Kelly Pierce and Ruby originally filed the civil lawsuit in February, against OnlyFans, its owner Leonid Radvinsky and Instagram and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, replicating claims from an earlier lawsuit filed on behalf of FanCentro in November 2021 and alleging a conspiracy to engage in “tortious interference with contract and intentional interference with prospective business.”

Attorney David Azar of Beverly Hills firm Milberg Coleman Bryson Grossman, who is representing the group as the first three of a class involving all adult performers and content creators, is also one of the lawyers representing FanCentro in its related action against OnlyFans.

Meta had argued in its motion to dismiss that news leaked in September about an anonymous email allegedly containing inculpatory information about a suspicious wire transfer “was ‘consipracy-theory-tinged’ and lacked credibility,” Bloomberg Law reported today.

Yesterday, however, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge Alsup ruled that “Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — which broadly shields internet platforms from liability for content created by their users — doesn’t block the lawsuit,” Bloomberg Law added.

Lawsuit: OnlyFans Is 'A Corrupt Business'

Evans, Pierce and Ruby allege in their complaint that OnlyFans is “a corrupt business” which gained “an enormous advantage over its competitors by wrongfully manipulating behind-the-scenes databases, and in the process, harming thousands of small entrepreneurs who rely on social media to promote sales of their product and earn a living.”

Like the FanCentro lawsuit, the complaint claims that “up until late 2018 or early 2019, the online adult entertainment industry was a vibrant, competitive market” but that sometime after Radvinsky’s purchase of OnlyFans, performers who had promoted OnlyFans' competitors “suddenly began to experience a drop-off in traffic and user engagement on social media platforms.”

“After working with performers to help them through their Instagram issues over the last few years,” Alana Evans told XBIZ today, “the judge’s decision has shined a bright light on the issue at hand. I am incredibly excited to see this case unfold and happy we will be given our day in court. We are so thankful for our legal team and appreciate the support from our community.”

Kelly Pierce told XBIZ she was “elated the honorable Judge Alsup is giving us independent content creators such precedence in this lawsuit.

“We really have no real footing in the tech world and are just slaves to it,” Pierce added. “We all know, from content creators to adult company owners, that social media is our bread and butter. Unfortunately these are the fights that will be necessary if we want to continue our presence on these platforms. We must come together and fight. I’m so grateful to our lawyers for working so diligently on this case and making sure this case was heard loud and clear, that we will not back down when it comes to unfair treatment.”

A Meta spokesperson told Bloomberg Law today that the company maintains that the plaintiffs’ claims are “completely false and lack a shred of evidence to back them up. We’re confident we’ll win this case.”

The case is [Evans] v. Instagram LLC, N.D. Cal., No. 3:22-cv-01101, 11/30/22.

Order Re Motion to Dismiss (Alana Evans et al. v. Meta)

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