The 'OnlyFans scandal' was the most talked-about storyline on Married At First Sight, and it's continued to be a topic of conversation related to the MAFS contestants long after the show finished airing at the end of April.
For those playing catchup, the storyline involved bride Olivia Frazer finding a naked photo of co-star Domenica Calarco and showing it to co-stars without Calarco knowing.
In this instance, the image was originally posted on OnlyFans — a platform that allows creators to create content and willingly share images of themselves on their own terms and charge for it. Many viewers then wondered whether Frazer circulating the OnlyFans pic without Calarco's consent fell into 'revenge porn' territory.
After the show finished airing, Frazer herself launched an OnlyFans account, as did her TV husband, Jackson Lonie. Not only has it allowed them to generate some extra income, but it's kept them in the public eye. Since then, some people have questioned whether reality TV stars are simply using the platform as another publicity grab, plus whether it's actually the best way to use this new fame for the greater good.
Today, Calarco announced that her OnlyFans account was back, and that she would be claiming back her power by posing the same way she did in the photo Frazer circulated months ago.
"The issue has never been about the distribution of the photo, it was the damage Olivia intended to cause by sharing it," Calarco told news.com.au.
"Releasing it is a very Domenica way of taking back my power by going, 'You know what, you wanted the photo, here you go. But guess what, you’re gonna have to pay for it'."
Last week The Bachelor Australia's Jimmy Nicholson and Holly Kingston came under fire after they said they wouldn't be signing up to OnlyFans as they didn't view it as "empowering".
"No judgement to anyone who does have OnlyFans, but I think there has been a little bit of a trend in people coming off reality shows and leveraging that degree of fame to then sell nudes online," Kingston said in an Instagram Q&A.
Nicholson said that reality stars saying they were on OnlyFans as a vehicle for "male or female empowerment" was "a load of crap".
"I think you should be a role model to the future generations," he said. "If you want to celebrate male or female empowerment, start a charity, donate to breast cancer awareness or prostate cancer awareness.
"I think it's a way to grab money, and [you should] think about the example you're setting for the future generations, for your kids when they're in school."
"Not a fan of their statement at all. I thought it was a huge slap in my face and came from a very privileged and tone deaf place," she wrote on her Instagram stories.
"They very easily could have just left it at 'no judgement, just not for us'," she added. "But instead went as far as to suggest that reality TV people who move on to do OF [OnlyFans] are bad influences to younger generations and money-hungry (not that there’s anything wrong with being money-hungry)."
She ended her message with one final point about finances: "Very easy for them to sit in their expensive house, with their glowing edits, expensive dental work and all their many paid sponsorships and pass judgement on other reality TV people who weren’t so lucky."
The money aspect is exactly what attracted Calarco to OnlyFans in the first place, prior to appearing on MAFS. She was newly divorced and struggling financially during the pandemic.
"I know some people will say, 'well why didn’t you just go and get a job at Woolworths,' but my mental health was unstable at that time because of everything going on," she told news.com.au. "It paid my rent, I was able to buy a fridge and I made a good amount of money on there."
As Calarco's interview and Frazer's comments from today demonstrate, there can be multiple reasons for someone to be on OnlyFans.
There's nothing wrong with a woman embracing her body and taking naked photos. There's no controversy or scandal in her charging for the images on a platform that allows creators to do it legally and safely.
There's also no issue with people like Nicholson and Kingston choosing not to participate. They're also allowed to express their opinion, but it's the sentiments of shaming in their remarks that have left many feeling uneasy.
If OnlyFans has indeed become a post-reality TV trend, let's just add it to the other ways reality stars express themselves and make some coin (podcasting, Instagram influencing and attending red carpets), and call it a day.