Sarah Jayne Dunn became the latest celebrity to have her OnlyFans content leaked just days after the model and influencer Lottie Moss suffered the same fate. The Hollyoaks star’s adult content was shared online, without her consent, when it was only intended for paying subscribers on the site.
Immediately, she became a search topic on Google Trends. According to the platform, 'Sarah Jayne Dunn leaked OnlyFans photos' and 'Sarah Jayne Dunn OnlyFans pictures' are still breakout search terms for the star.
‘Sarah isn't horrified at all, unfortunately this is just par for the course with any online platform,’ Dunn’s spokesperson told the Mirror in a statement. ‘Content gets leaked and it's the world we live in for all creators which isn't right at all.’
For those creating explicit content online to have to accept these leaks as ‘par for the course’ is horrifying. While Dunn maintains ‘it's really not an issue that she is worried about,’ Moss broke down in tears after her images were made public online, with people on Reddit being encouraged to share the images with her mother via Instagram.
‘Just because a woman shares her body as her career, it does not mean she should be subject to her content being shared for free without her consent,’ Trauma Councillor Ruth Micallef told Grazia. ‘The trauma repercussions of this could be incredibly severe, with victims feeling out of control, exposed, and violated.’
Micallef added that this trauma can be worsened if victims aren’t able to get support to find justice for the leaks. ‘When trauma remains unprocessed, we have to find ways to cope, and these can often be unhealthy,’ she explained.
But, under current laws, justice for OnlyFans content creators who have been violated by leaks seems almost unachievable. According to experts, courts may decide that, in sharing explicit photos to secure platforms online creators have waived their expectation for privacy.
‘If someone voluntarily puts explicit images out in the world, these rights are likely to be diminished or even extinguished,’ media and privacy lawyer Steven Heffer told Grazia. ‘Even if websites suggest their terms protect privacy or intellectual property rights, that is only part of the story.’
Despite many OnlyFans creators choosing to distribute their content through the site’s subscriber-only business model, OnlyFans doesn’t actually stop users saving premium paid for content.
Saving images or video for non-commercial use is fine, as long as you’re not distributing it, according to the site’s terms of service. So if you’re a creator, you will always run the risk of having your content stolen, with only a DMCA Takedown Policy available to report shared images once the worst has already happened.
Moss’ OnlyFans leak was allegedly spearheaded by an ex-friend with a vendetta. This use of a woman’s explicit content to be used against her as punishment is reminiscent of when private nudes or sex tapes are made public as revenge porn.
But despite the similarities, crime and regulatory lawyer Hannah Costley says the two situations cannot be taken to court in the same way: ‘Revenge porn is clearly defined as the distribution of private, sexual images and videos without the consent of the person in them,’ she told Grazia.
‘Sex workers or those that earn money posting explicit content online are participating in a transaction that should be covered by terms and conditions. Therefore, any leak of images is in fact a breach of contract rather than a criminal offence.’
But Criminal defence lawyer Myles Jackman, who specialises in human rights, privacy and sexual freedom of expression, says charges being brought about by breach of contract or copyright laws are extremely unlikely to succeed.
Although OnlyFans told Grazia they have a dedicated anti-piracy team which works with search engines and domains to 'proactively hunt, identify and remove stolen content' Jackman is not convinced this is translating to court.
Purchasing someone’s material and then posting it vitiates the consent of the performer who made it.
‘Civil remedies to bring to justice people who share content illegally are almost impossible,’ he told Grazia. ‘Although there is a 10-year sentence for doing so, in practice, it’s very difficult for police to identify who is the perpetrator.’
‘Criminal offence might actually make people take notice,’ Jackman continued. ‘This - taking something from sex workers without their permission - is emblematic of when sex workers are exploited…Purchasing someone’s material and then posting it vitiates the consent of the performer who made it.’
Moss and Dunn both sold adult content under the conditions that it would remain private. Pirating this material is a violation of their consent and until it is punishable by criminal law little will deter the traumatic exposure of other creators.