An Open Letter to Patreon

Note: We’ve read the email sent out by Jack Conte. We still endorse this letter in full, our demands have not changed, and we will continue gathering support. You can read our additional response to Jack, and Patreon, below the signatures, here.

We’re writing you today both as adult creators and concerned individuals about free, legal, expression. We’re deeply disappointed in your handling of clarity with regards to adult content on your platform, and the mixed messages we have been receiving. Not only that, the most vulnerable among us – disproportionately queer, trans, disabled, people of color and those whose first language is not English – are literally scared for our lives. After hard-won fandoms finally supporting us on Patreon, just one missed payment can mean homelessness.

Over the last couple years we have been courted by you, worked closely with you on promotion, creation, and even website features, and have been assured by you that Patreon was a home for all types of creators – including those that make adult content. And it’s been well reported that you were ending “payments discrimination against adult content” – something you proudly confirmed to us in email and behind the scenes in one on one messages with your employees.

However, there has always been an issue with your stance on “porn” versus “adult content.” This stance has never been clear and is reminiscent of the phrase “I know it when I see it”, most infamously used in 1964 by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart to describe his threshold test for obscenity. This is an outdated, legally unclear, and importantly, extremely problematic view of adult media.

This problem has only been brought further to the forefront in recent days, where you have long had a checkbox on your site that says “Content contains sexual imagery or nudity.”

Which now exists alongside new language in your October 17th update, to the Adult Content section, which says this:

“Lastly, you cannot sell pornographic material or arrange sexual service(s) as a reward for your patrons. You can’t use Patreon to raise funds in order to produce pornographic material such as maintaining a website, funding the production of movies, or providing a private webcam session.”

Which is exactly, as you well know, how many of your most popular creators operate. We send our patrons signed prints. We let them pick what kind of movie to make. It’s even how you’ve recommended we operate – using Patreon to fund a movie, or creating a website to reliably deliver rewards to our patrons! We’ve got the support conversations to back it up.

After an Engaget article covered these new developments, this was added:

Update: A Patreon spokesperson has clarified that its stance hasn’t changed, just the way it articulates the policy around pornography and other adult content. Which is to say that producers of pornography and sex workers more generally have always been “operating outside of the Community Guidelines.” The decision will leave a number of sex workers looking for yet another way to secure payment for their labor.

As we see it, this is further confirmation of a betrayal of your loyal creators and their loyal patrons. You’ve made a statement to cover yourself, but completely ignored those who generate the money on your platform and use it to pay their rents. Your platform strikes a pose in favor of freedom of expression, but there is no way your current contradictory stances can result in any sort of comfort to the creators. We hear buzz that like tech companies past, it’s all about funding and we worry that we’ll always be disposable people. We see that you’ve stated that you will “work with” creators to make sure their pages aren’t taken down, but that is not enough.

What is lost in that discussion is that the most vulnerable people will be the hardest to “work with”. These will disproportionately be queer, trans, and people of color. These will be creators less steeped in the language of “erotica” – just knowing that they want to create and entertain and that their skills lie in a sexual area. We must listen not just to creators trained in classic mediums, art school graduates, those fluent in theory and all the other ways that adult content is made palatable to the cultured class, we also must listen to and represent those who simply make porn. Who want to be creative with their porn, yes, but most importantly want to be self directed.

Your platform has given these people a light. We know people who would be homeless if it wasn’t for making porn on Patreon – and it’s not a small number. We know people who now employ many queer performers, workers, subcontractors – all working to make beautiful content. And while we understand the desire to police illegal content off the platform (and support it!), all of this legal content is beautiful. Who is it, at Patreon or anywhere, who decides what is art? When is there too much porn, not enough aesthetics?

Your fuzzy position on “adult content” vs. “porn” gives you the freedom to discriminate at will. And it makes content creators live in fear of that discrimination, itself leading to self censorship of important viewpoints.

We ask you to end this discrimination. Porn is a multi-billion dollar industry mostly in the hands of well heeled men. You were helping us hold it in our own hands. We ask you to take a stand on behalf of the sex workers who use your platform, their fans, and everyone who supports freedom of expression. Take a stand behind your creators who make revolutionary independant content. Stand behind your women and LGBT creators.

Do not go quietly down the path of least resistance and join every other platform we are discriminated against on. As journalist Violet Blue noted, “We are barred from Facebook, Instagram, Paypal, MailChimp,, Squarespace, Square, Kickstarter, Chase, Snapchat, AdWords.. Add that Tumblr and other sites make us unfindable. Now imagine trying to start or run a business and being unable to use these tools.”

To reiterate, we specifically ask that you:

  1. Guarantee that adult content creators, of any legal content, will not have their sources of income revoked.
  2. Keep your promises to adult content creators and end the system of arbitrarily judging what is and isn’t acceptable expression.

You at Patreon have been our friends in the tech world, you have told us so. Imagine how hard it must be for us to survive without the tools you had to start your business. Remember that our fan bases have been a pillar of your community and supported that very business. Lukewarm assurances that you’ll “work with us” are not enough – proudly stand with creators and their porn, or admit that you won’t be there for us.

Please do not abandon us.

With much concern,

The undersigned.

And those who have been unable to sign – for fear of their safety and financial well being.

To those who want to sign, the option is below. Solidarity is appreciated.

Liara Roux is Creating Pretty Things
Violet Blue is creating cybersecurity news, and a San Francisco memoir
ChibiNekois creating Cosplay
Zina His creating reviews, articles, and essays about pop culture and fandom.
MarshmallowMaximus is creating Soft & Sweet Pin-Up Photography 
Pandora Blake – is creating sexual freedom
Conner Habib is creating a podcast & web seiries on sex, the occult, and radical philosophy
Luna & Marionare creating Adult Content, Photos, Cosplay, Modelling, Videos, Art, V-Games
Alexis Flower is creating I Roved Out
Megan Rose Gedrisis creating comics
NomnomNamiis creating games about girls who like girls
Caitlin Doughtyis creating Death Videos
Kassandra Leighis creating Fetish, Fantasy & Fashion Photos.
Annie Segarra is creating Videos, Artwork, Writing
Felix Biederman / Chapo Trap House – is Creating Chapo Trap House Podcast
Belleis creating Adult video games
Jetta Rae 
is Creating Praxis, Pro Wrestling, and Pralines
Merritt K / Stay Mean  is creating Podcasts
Aftermath Teamis creating erotica games.
Chlove / Go Get a Roomie – is creating queer webcomics!
River Lovett
 – is Creating Art
Jujalais creating Animated SFM Smut
 – is creating digital art
Sabrina Nichole
is creating Photography
LOK Teamare creating LOK: Rebirth
Jamie Zawinksi / DNA Lounge is creating a nightclub and live music venue in San Francisco
Valerie Halla is creating Goodbye to Halos
Alice Xis creating Friction
Totem Poleis creating The Cummoner
Belissalovelyis creating e-girl stuff
Tarusovis creating Pin-Up & Sexy Comics
Bacchus –
is creating erotica research and curation
Ashe Greyis creating adventures & good vibes
Take Back Your Sex is creating Sex Entertainment, Education, and Advocacy
Zack Morrison / Paranaturalis creating comics!!!
Toni Babelonyis creating KYTHERA and NSFW illustrations.
Kay Lynn Syrinis creating Cosplay, Photosets, and Videos
Mitch Alexander is creating some really gay games, to be honest
Ginger (ero-hime)is Creating Photos, Videos, Cosplay
Bailey Polandis creating texts on feminist rhetoric in a digital age
Street Fight Radio
is creating Radio Shows
Demesejhais creating Music
MikeMasters is creating adult games
Saber Tompson is creating Plus Sized Nude and Fine Art Photography
Laura Kerrigan / Season of the Bitch –
is Creating the Season of the Bitch Podcast
Ashley Tea – is creating a whole buncha magic
Kumars Salehi / Delete your Account is creating the Delete Your Account Podcast
Trunglesis Creating Comics and Images
Studio Snickerdoodleis creating lewd girls in spaaaaace!
Dramamineis Creating Smut
Ariel Riesis creating Witchy
Gargron – is creating Mastodon
Glitched Puppet is creating Adult Comics
Rrostekis creating 3D Adult Animations
Riley J. Dennisis creating YouTube videos
AnimoPronis creating adult 3d animations with gaming-girls
Riiis creating cosplay and fashion photos
Kyell Goldis creating Stories
Forevernyte / Deadly Hunger Studios is creating Comics and Animations
Mewsis creating cuties and lewds!
GoAskAlexis creating watercolour, music, nudity, and mischief
Circlet Pressis creating Erotic Science Fiction/Fantasy Books
Rafuis creating role-playing games
Anna Cherry is creating NSFW Cosplay, Gaming and STEM content
SlimeMaidis creating Spirit Zones
Tenleid Cosplay is creating Cosplay tutorials, exclusive prints and more!
Evan Dahmis creating Comics
Trevor Strunk is creating Critical analysis of videogames
Pyro Steedis creating Stories
Sarah Calanthe is creating sensual photos and videos
Girl on the Netis creating audio erotica
ThaumX is creating an adult life simulation game
Rae D Magdonis creating Super Sexy Stories
stringmouseis creating pin-up photos, art
ColonolYobois creating Adult Animations & Posters
Ayumi Niniis creating Cosplay & NSFW
The Scryfall Teamis creating a Magic: The Gathering search engine and other game tools
Alice Mae
is Creating Cosplay, Photosets & Pervy Visuals
Elaine Tipping
 – is creating Comics and Art
Gween Black is creating Custom Art, Videos, Doodles and Photoshoots
Alice Voidstar is creating Octodon
Andreas M. Antonopoulosis creating Videos, Live Q&A, and Books about Bitcoin & Open Blockchains
mZmm –
is creating The Hotel
Steven Brust 
is creating books, blog posts, songs, political essays
wxcafeis Creating
Allison Moon – is creating sex-positive art & education
Freja Joiris Creating Pretty Pictures
Travis Legge is creating Roleplaying Game Supplements, Podcasts, and vlogs!
Sarah Jamie Lewis –
is creating Anonymity & Privacy Research
Sporkbotis creating NSFW art
Caelyn Sandelis creating Games and Stories
Meryl S. Kavanaghis creating fiction, music and art
The Brainstorm Crew is creating The Brainstorm Podcast
Rhys creating Art, FICTION, COMICS(?)
Eliott Tenderis creating Content for Low Lifes!
Laurelai Bailey is creating social and political commentary
thumbcrampsis creating cute girls!
Cybrespace is creating an online space for cybrepunks of all varieties
Twisted Moon Magazine is creating poetry
Lauren Sealeis creating Gay Erotic Fiction
Richard Silva
Is creating digital paintings, videogames, music, etc.
Snaois creating Visual Art
Lexi Fayeis creating various videos, photography, streams, music, and general transy
Satsukii is creating Digital Artwork
LitenDaisyis creating Lingerie, Cosplay & Pinup inspired Photos.
catlingis creating sugar-sweet character art
blacksquares – is creating Music, Videos, Comix, Art!
Madison Roberts is creating Music: Folk, filth and filk
Struggle Session is creating sexy, cutting edge, Leftist nerd audio content.
Ben Zaehringer / Berkeley Mewsis creating comics
Topless New York 
is creating Art and Advocacy
Harper Madi is creating videos, photosets, and more
Skunkfrakker & Veelicious are creating Besti: a VR simulation for adults
G.C. Houle –
is creating Comics and Illustrations
Greg Slepak 
is creating solutions for digital and economic security
Erika Lynai is creating Sex Education & Sex Toy Reviews
Mutant Standard is creating emoji
Mc Morganis creating Illustration and Art
Eva / What’s My Body Doing? is creating evidence based, feminist sex-ed videos
Autistic Made Artis creating Greeting cards, art, and stories.
Distressed Egg is creating Adult Art and Comics
Lynn Cyrin is creating Websites, Culture, Community
Banana Punch is creating NSFW Art and Comics
Fringecrowis creating Fantasy/Scifi, Furry and Transformation Art
Blattarievais creating weird comics
Antonius M Hogebrandt are creating lyrical tapestries with threads of contemporary issues and myths
Admiral Squishis creating filthy, filthy smut
Niki Smithis creating Comics
Del’s Doodles is creating Colouring Pages
Mitchell Hall is creating queer games
Michael Lutzis creating criticism, traditional fiction, and interactive fiction
Nicnakis creating art!
Funkit Toys is creating Modular Fucksquiggles
Brian Wolf is creating Cute ‘n’ Queer Games and Comics
Emily Ritchieis creating sketchbooks
Joshua A.C. Newmanis creating xenoglyph
Tiffany Whiteis creating music, games, comics, and dorky streams
Ashley Schandelmeieris creating TAMD content
Helena Havoc is creating erotic artistry
Ryan Bloomis creating Videos and games and videos about games
James Iles is creating role-playing games.
Breeocheis creating NSFW and SFW art (mostly butts)
Eros Photography is creating Photography
Nero O’Reillyis creating NSFW Comics and Art
Professor Otaku is creating Retro Anime Reviews
RM Honeyboyis creating weird and strange illustrations for the sick and sad
LiteraturaBDSMis creating Yaoi-bondage-comics-
madam data is creating music and music software
Muskwalkeris creating furry stories
Jacqui Grace is creating Art and Stories
Naughty Nessa is creating Nude Art & Fetish Photos
Madam Kistulotis creating Erotic Mind Control Fiction
Rey Tucker is creating a very smol fox-friendly Mastodon instance
xaxis creating HELL GAME
Sticky Scribbles is creating Cute and Sexy Damsels in Distress. Exotic Art and Comics
Dani Lee Pearceis creating music, albums, music videos, album art designs, and THINGS
Ryan Estrada is creating @forexposure_txt Illustrated
Emily Riesbeckis creating Comics
Mortal Podcastis creating the MortalVerse
Mx. Pucks A’Plenty is creating Sex Positive Burlesque, Workshops, Events, and Art
Hushicho – is creating Art, Comics, Narration, and serving up realness
Alpha Harlotis creating smut in the form of visuals and the written word
Pedro de Faraisis creating Photography
DOS Nostalgia is creating videos about MS-DOS games and software
Max Smeagol is creating 3D Erotic Adult Comic
Onyxdime is creating Erotic Novels and Short Stories
Sinogenis creating NSFW art
Hex Witch Circe is creating writing, videos, and code
Andrew Hunter is creating Sexy Comics and Art
Ndidiamaka, T.R. is creating Fiction, Coloring Books, and Comics.
Tailsteakis creating Leftover Soup
VL Darlingis creating erotica, smut, dirty little stories of sex, love, and kink.
Kathy Gaeleis creating Digital Art
Geneveive Newmanis creating Open Ivory Tower
Free Press Publicationsis creating pro-liberty media
Aliza Layneis creating comics
James ‘Grim’ Desboroughis creating Games, stories, dreams and nightmares.
Errogonous is creating Smut
M.K. Lords is creating podcasts, writing
Amaranthe Rae Lovisiis creating informational videos
Calico Coquette is creating Erotic Art
Recurring V’sis creating Videos, Podcasts, Writing, Art and Whatever Else
Lirael Lowenstein / Now Face Northis creating Blog posts
Studio Thumpy Puppyis creating Video Game Music
Luella Arbreis creating Photos, Videos, and other arty stuff
Margaret Trauth is creating sci-fi and fantasy comics
SuikaShoujois creating Song Covers
Sean M Pickett is creating Photography
Farore Nightclaw is creating furry, scifi & fantasy artwork
Kristina Tracer is creating Clusters of Words Moving in Beautiful Synchronicity 
Ghrolathis creating Peril Commission Series and 3d models/animation
Charlot-sweetieis creating Comics
Human?is creating games and words about games
Fawn Fancybitsis creating a sanctuary for used panty lovers
Elliot Cooper is creating queer speculative fiction
Sylverstone Khandr + Sylver’s Edge is creating digital art + video games + variety stuff + more!
D. Moonfireis creating Words
emma leeis creating ???
repzzmonsteris creating Erotic furry comics and illustrations
E. Harrisonis creating Covers
American Sex Podcast is creating a Sex Positive, Kink Friendly, Hilarious, Educational Podcast
Honey Rogueis creating songs about love and scourge
articis creating smutty fairytales!
John Ayliff is creating Twine games and interactive stories
Turkey Mountain Sunset Bandis creating Music
Rycharde’s Realmis creating the Pangaia series, hentai, story-rih, fantasy, RPG games
Sheena Dabholkaris creating LOVER magazine
Vyctorianis creating Shakura’s Sunset and Transformation art
Waiting 4 Wrathis creating the beer-guzzeling skeptical podcast you’ve been waiting for!
Darksh1neis creating webcomics and digital art (18+)
Sifyrois creating Drawings and random sketches
Ashe Armstrongis creating Fiction
Drea Gentryis creating MESSY ORGASMS AND CONFUSION (aka self-shot porn)
Discourse Collective is creating leftist podcasts about theory, current events, and culture.
SuziBeanis creating Lewd Art & Comics
AuntieSocialis creating food for thought (Stereo-Typed radio show/podcast)
Lycaonis creating videogames, etc.
Justin is creating an autobiographical comic, SFW/NSFW Illustrations
Christian Nowakis creating Personal Photography and Erotic Art
SurgeryHeadis creating Scumfilth from gargagetown
the Wolfis creating Short Vore Fiction
Heart of Stone Entertainmentis creating Photography, Video
Blackrainis creating drawings of vore, bondage, sex
Kaurwn Bliss is creating Gender, Sexuality, and Relationship Coaching and Counselling
Suciais creating Photos and Videos
Scoot Moondog – is creating Anthro art and watercolor paintings
Darius Kazemiis creating a weird and wonderful internet
Sycamorphis creating Stereogram edits
MisterZuluis creating Cartoony Fetish and Exploitation Art and Animation
Queen of Cups is creating Next Level Findom
Meet The Creatorsis creating a NSFW show all about Patreon creators of Adult Content
Autumn Ashis creating Erotica
Vanessa Northis creating queer fiction to make you sweat, swoon, and swear
A Grand Markis creating Comics, Art and Writing
Terithesis creating fan-art, NSFW, & personal projects!
Nephanoris creating a website for 3D artists & 3D Art
Nikki Bruisesis creating Cosplay and Artistic Photography
Sfanis creating NSFW art and animation parody about famous cartoons and anime
Johnny Lemuria is creating collage art
PY Studiosis creating Adult Games
Sadie Lune – is creating Sex-Positive Visual Art, Performance, Writing, Video
RJAIN // seinobyteis creating kinky monster and predicament hentai!
7 Realms Productions is creating sweet videos about games and movies!
The SMUT Project is creating intelligent erotica
Brian Sovrynis creating Podcasts
Prince Lowellis creating illustrations and comics
Andras Nestis creating Adult Video Games
CustomWaifusis creating 18+ Soft Ecchi, Fan Art, Comic, Yuri Hentai & Nude Pinups
Steph Dumais is creating Comics, illustrations
MadMansGunis creating Game Mods/Animations and 3D Printable Objects
The Teamis creating a Mastodon instance
Minibegois creating Writing
Delirium Sade is creating Queer/Trans BDSM Smut, BDSM Gear, Podcasts + Kinky Poems
James Opie (Nihilore)is creating Royalty Free Music
Ishigais creating anthro-themed artwork and projects
MMis creating queer love stories
Velntine Meikinis creating Adventure Games
Fox Barrett is creating Vagabond Starlight, A Webcomic
Peintois creating Art and Baes
Katharsisdrillis creating the comic about Phill from GCHQ
E.R. Morenois creating writings
Dan The Giant Rat is creating comics and zines
fangurleyis creating Illustrations and comics
Cassandra Panekis creating Photography, Art, and Writing
MaillerPhongis creating Fine Art Fetish & Erotica Photography
Magias Cosplay is creating Cosplay, Photoshoot, Makeup

As of the latest update (10/30)  over 2,000 creators, patrons, and supporters have signed. Detailed statistics available below.

Based on public data, the creators in the featured link section are supported by 49,397 patrons and bring in (again, based on those who list this publicly) over $167,911 either per month or per reward.

You can sign below.

This section to be updated as people choose to be added as featured cosigners. The complete list is below. Please do not be offended if we are unable to add your signature above in a timely manner and get in touch if there are any typos/mistakes. If you would like to support us, please fill out our google form. You can sign anonymously, as a creator, a patron, an organization or any concerned individual.

Again, live updated signatures will be displayed below the form.

Questions/press –

Articles featuring this letter and additional context – with latest roughly on top:
Here’s How Patreon Politely Makes It Impossible for Adult Content Creators – Motherboard/Vice – Latest
Crowdfunding Amateur Porn is Becoming Impossible – Playboy
Creators: ‘Adult Content Ban May Cost Patreon Big Bucks’ – YNOT
The real consequences of Patreon’s adult content crackdown – Engadget
Adult Content Creators: Patreon is Doing ‘the Exact Opposite of What We Asked For” – Motherboard/Vice
Patreon Censors Content; Creators Fight Back – YNOT
Porn-makers challenge Patreon’s crowdfunding ban – BBC Technology
Adult Content Creators Are Fighting Patreon’s New Anti-Porn Rules – Motherboard/Vice
Adult content on Patreon – Pandora Blake
Patreon’s Discriminatory Porn Policy Hurts Creators Who Need the Most Protection – The Mary Sue
Patreon Updates Its Rules On Adult Content, And NSFW Content Creators Are Worried – Buzzfeed News
Patreon : les créateurs de contenus pour adultes montrent les crocs – Fredzone
Patreon Starts Enforcing Stricter Rules On Sex Games – Kotaku
Devs push back on Patreon’s ‘clearer stance’ regarding adult content – Gamasutra
Developers question Patreon’s adult games restrictions –
Cryptocurrency Increasingly Popular, Safer Payment Option For Sex Workers – IB Times

Response to Jack Conte/Patreon’s response to this letter.
Media, please print in full if possible. Everyone else, feel free to reshare.

“We’ve read the email from Jack Conte. It continues to exemplify the exact problems we are writing about in our open letter and, in fact, makes them worse. He both moves to come out strongly against specific forms of expression, such as “real people engaging in sexual acts”, while going on at length about how good a home Patreon is to creators. And if we don’t agree it’s a good home, it’s ok because it only affects “very few creators”.

We will continue to stand in solidarity with any creator on the platform creating legal content and continue to demand that Patreon revise its stance to allow any legal adult content within a safe space on their site. We are sorry to hear that the way his company has handled our community “bugs” him, but it’s hard for us to have empathy for those in power while we are fighting simply to be heard, create, and survive.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Patreon’s move today is the exact opposite of what we asked for. Patreon is saying that they believe sex workers unable to change or censor their work to fit new requirements should lose their income and that legal expressions of sexual creativity do not have a home on their platform.

This email exemplifies the mentality of Patreon and other tech companies that their image, perhaps to investors or banking partners, is more important than the wellbeing of the legal content creators who rely on Patreon as a source of income and one of the only “safe” spaces for us.

We will continue collecting support and will think about our next steps as unified creators. If you would like to stand in solidarity, you can do so here –”

Note: We are aware that since penning (with a working group on signal and in twitter messages) this open letter, Liara Roux’s twitter account was suspended overnight. We don’t know anything more about why it happened and twitter has been unresponsive. We’re currently working to find out what we can with Liara’s legal representation at Austin Law Group, in the meantime you can contact her directly for comment if needed at Violet Blue has also indicated she is happy to talk to press.

Update: Liara’s twitter is back! Her and her legal team issued a statement.

As of about 12:00 pm PST 10/27, some statistics for you. Over 1,800 people have signed. 839 Patrons have signed, and 325 Patreon creators. Also of interest, 150 people said they would join Patreon as creators if it more fairly supported freedom of expression. 531 signers indicated they were concerned parties.

Based on public data, the creators in the featured link section are supported by 49,397 patrons and bring in (again, based on those who list this publicly) over $167,911 either per month or per reward.

We’ll update this again.