It’s no secret that adult-themed content creators and subcultures are the most vulnerable to platform bans. But members of the “Adult Baby/Diaper Lover” Furries community say a recent wave of bans from Patreon has flung many of their lives into a mental and financial crisis.
… Now, if you’re wondering what the hell you just read, allow me to break it down for you. “Adult Baby/Diaper Lovers” (AB/DLs, for short) refers to people who choose to wear diapers, whether that be for sexual pleasure (not always) or part of a wider “age regression” experience.
And furries, as you probably know, refer to people with an interest in anthropomorphic animals. They usually create their own animal character, known as their ‘fursona,’ and dress up as them. As with AB/DLs, this roleplaying can sometimes have a sexual dimension to it, but isn’t necessarily sexual in and of itself.
Last week, 404 Media reported that “hundreds” of prominent AB/DL accounts were “banned within the space of an hour,” with one such user telling the outlet that creators all got the “same” email from Patreon.
“Patreon has zero tolerance for the sexualization of children or teenagers,” the email about the bans read. “Because we do not allow this type of activity on Patreon, my team and I removed your creator page.”
Yet, several banned users are claiming their artwork and posts had zero mention or association with the sexualization of minors — and that Patreon penalized them anyway.
While Patreon refuted this, telling 404 Media that “accounts with non-sexualized baby animal cartoons alone would not be a violation of our policies and would not merit a removal,” they hastened to add that they have a “zero tolerance policy” on any content that includes the sexualization of minors.
At the heart of this conundrum is the same old story: confounding something unusual with something seedy. I think we can all agree that the sexualization of animals and minors has no place on the internet. That goes without question. But are AB/DLs automatically pedophiles? Furries automatically zoophiles? This is usually the assumption.
When it comes to these kinds of subcultures, nuance is often lost as we all get tangled up in how ‘weird’ we might find them. But this lack of nuance online might may well lead to real-world consequences for these creators, as as Patreon bans are now preventing them from generating an income.