OnlyFans billboards in London prompt complaints to advertising watchdog

Model Eliza Rose Watson who paid for the billboards said she wanted to dismantle the shame and stigma around the platform

Eleanor Noyce
Wednesday 05 July 2023 20:48 BST

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Worried locals have been left outraged after billboards promoting OnlyFans accounts have appeared across London.

The adverts were plastered across Harrow and Edgware in north-west London and Lambeth in south-west London, with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) receiving eight complaints over concerns the content was inappropriate for local children.

One billboard for the adult content subscription site has been spray-painted with a statement reading “keep porn off our streets”.

"I’ve got no issues with people following a career, if it’s legal”, one Harrow local told the BBC.

"But I think advertising issues like what’s on the poster behind me when you’re close to local schools – you’ve got a primary school up the end of this road, you’ve got a secondary school there – young people are impressionable, and it’s completely out of order."

‘Young people are impressionable, and it’s completely out of order’, one Harrow local told the BBC

Another said those complaining were “overreacting”, stating: "To be honest, I would walk past it and not even notice it, and also I’ve seen women in bikinis and stuff before so I wouldn’t really take much notice."

Model Eliza Rose Watson was behind the billboards, having paid for four adverts in London and two in New York. She said the content is “less racy than ads you see for lingerie”, and wanted to dismantle the “shame and stigma” approach to OnlyFans content.

"I would say it’s no more adult than an ad for alcohol and, actually, less racy even than ads you see for lingerie within big shopping centres”, Ms Watson told the BBC.

"It’s kind of an adult thing to do, to join the dots between the logo and the image."

The ASA has confirmed it was reviewing the complaints.

“Complainants believe the ad is inappropriate in particular in untargeted media where children are able to view it”, an ASA spokesperson told The Independent.

“We’re reviewing these complaints to determine whether there are grounds for an investigation – to emphasise, we are not currently investigating.”

Meanwhile, some online commentators have praised Ms Watson for the move, noting that the online response to the billboards are “no doubt generating more traffic for her site than the original ad campaign”.

“No such thing as bad press”, one Twitter user wrote. “Smartest girl in the room – 2 billboards bought, and millions of eyes on it due to the exposure over the pearl clutching.”

“Give this woman a top job in marketing”, another wrote.

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