A member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet will appear alongside the CEO of the porn website OnlyFans at a business conference later this month.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is slated to speak at an Axios forum on Oct. 12. OnlyFans CEO Keily Blair will speak at the event with executives from several other major companies. Democratic donor and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, who has come under scrutiny for his relationship with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, will also speak at the event.
Tai’s participation in the panel lends an air of credibility to the popular online porn platform as it aims to bolster its public image and fight against regulations in Washington. Conservatives have called for tougher regulations—or an outright ban—of OnlyFans, which allegedly hosts prostitutes and sex traffickers. To stave off those regulations, OnlyFans owner Fenix International has paid nearly $700,000 since last year to the K Street firm Vogel Group to lobby Congress on issues related to Section 230, which protects online platforms from content posted by users. The bill was amended in 2018 to make platforms liable for sex trafficking and prostitution.
Tai’s appearance at the event with OnlyFans could also stoke claims that Democrats are becoming the party of porn. Virginia state legislative candidate Susanna Gibson performed sex acts with her husband on the amateur porn site Chaturbate in exchange for tips.
The FBI opened its investigation into Hunter Biden in 2018 after discovering that he made payments to a U.K.-based online amateur sex site linked to sex trafficking, according to documents released last week. The site has not been publicly identified, but OnlyFans is based in London. The FBI and IRS are reportedly investigating whether the company violated tax laws related to its content creators, many of whom post explicit sex videos in exchange for subscriptions.
The Axios event is part of the media startup’s controversial business model that brings together corporate sponsors with policymakers they would seemingly like to influence. The law firm Latham & Watkins is a sponsor for the upcoming event, which will be moderated by several Axios business reporters. Latham & Watkins represents numerous clients with interests before Tai’s office, which advises the president on international trade policy, foreign investments, and trade disputes.
Wells Fargo is another sponsor for the Axios forum. The bank has stoked concern among porn creators after it shut down accounts for numerous adult film stars last year. OnlyFans announced in 2021 it would ban sexually explicit content in order to comply with requests of banks and payment processors. The company quickly reversed the decision amid outcry from content creators.
The office of the U.S. Trade Representative did not respond to a request for comment.