In this clip, Kelly Price talks about the coming together of her core family members for the making of an album that was inspired by Christmas. She also explains that the reason why she can no longer listen to the tracks anymore is because nearly everyone from those recordings have passed away, since the LP was made. The New York native also shares the details about her first album release after she left Def Jam and that she left the label’s subsidiary, Def Soul, because of her lackluster working relationship with L.A. Reid. Kelly Price goes on to talk about the inspiration behind her first live gospel album. Lastly, the R&B crooner talks about partaking in Tyler Perry’s play “Why Did I Get Married” and what it was like to tour with the cast of the production.
Kelly Price also addresses the lawsuits that she was hit with by numerous promoters due to the cancellation of multiple shows. She explains that the reason behind the cancellations was a combination because of random “acts of God” and the fact that she contracted COVID-19. She added that the severity of these occurrences caused her to lose money because of smear campaigns at the hands of the promoters. Lastly, Kelly Price explains that she nearly became a victim of a conservatorship by members of her own family, because her health was deteriorating and they didn’t want her estate to go to her husband in the event that she passed away.
Can a group of multicolored candy characters change the world? The marketing minds behind M&M’s certainly hope so.
The brand just announced its multi-pronged approach to “creating a world where everyone feels they belong and society is inclusive,” and it apparently starts with makeovers for each of those colorful M&M’s characters that star in the brand’s popular commercials.
The candy company decided to give each of the six characters a “fresh, modern take” on their traditional look and “more nuanced personalities to underscore the importance of self-expression and power of community through storytelling.”
The blink-or-you’ll-miss-it design changes are kind of like looking at one of those “Can you spot the difference?” pictures, and they’re not immediately noticeable. But upon closer inspection, a few notable differences become clear.
The biggest — and perhaps most controversial — change is that the green M&M, who typically sports her signature white go-go boots, has stepped into a pair of “cool, laid-back sneakers to reflect her effortless confidence.”
Brown, the other female character, has also slipped into something a little more comfy — block heels, instead of her signature stiletto. She and the green M&M will also have a more friendly relationship than they’ve previously had, “together throwing shine and not shade.”
Online, people joked about the idea of these arbitrary character changes creating a more inclusive society — and many wanted these personified candies to stay the same.
“Today on Fresh Air,” tweeted Danielle Kurtzleben, NPR politics correspondent. “The green M&M, newly liberated from her white boots, lets loose. She talks social reproduction theory, how patriarchy and capitalism violently reinforce each other, and what a sexy lady M&M says about gender as a construct. Stay with us.”
PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the commercial, and the A-List superstar talent holding the spicy, cheese-flavored snacks for the camera.
Right now, the identity of the spokesperson is being kept under wraps, though there are plenty of clues to get the guessing going.
In the photos, the mysterious celeb’s hand is decked in bling. A diamond bracelet hangs from their wrist, while one pic features a sparkling braided ring and another, a golden ring seemingly made up of stacked yellow diamond bands.
The secret star’s nails make a statement, too, with bright red tips studded in red gems.
This is one of the first Super Bowl ads to be teased this year.
The big game, Super Bowl LVI, will take place on Feb. 13 at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
While sports fans are weeks away from finding out who will be playing, it’s been announced that Dr. Dre is headlining the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show, with Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg making guest appearances.
“The opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime show, and to do it in my own backyard, will be one of the biggest thrills of my career,” Dre in a press release when news came out back in September. “I’m grateful to JAY-Z, Roc Nation, the NFL, and Pepsi as well as Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar for joining me in what will be an unforgettable cultural moment.”
Frito-Lay’s Flamin’ Hot flavor was first introduced as Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, the product making it out to test markets in the summer of 1990 before being launched nationwide in early 1992.
Richard Montañez — who began working for Frito-Lay as a janitor — has long said he created the product, telling Variety he came up with the idea during one of Frito-Lay’s “method improvement programs” where they looked for new ideas and fresh products. He later tested out the seasoning for the Cheetos in his garage.
Frito-Lay’s subsidiary PepsiCo later clarified to PEOPLE that they attribute “the launch and success of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and other products to several people who worked at PepsiCo, including Richard Montañez.”
“Far from being an urban legend, Richard had a remarkable 40-plus-year career at PepsiCo and made an incredible impact on our business and employees and continues to serve as an inspiration today,” the statement read. “His insights and ideas on how to better serve Hispanic consumers were invaluable and directly resulted in the success of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.”
Montañez has gone on to write two books about his success, spoken about it in multiple engagements, and even will see his life told on the big screen in an upcoming biopic.
In this VladTV Flashback from 2021, Foolio reflected on his current success and acknowledged the role beef played in his initial buzz. DJ Vlad encouraged Foolio to leave the beef behind now that he’s cultivated a fanbase and has popular songs. Check out the above clip to view Foolio’s response to Vlad’s suggestions.
A customer whose tirade against employees at a Robeks smoothie shop went viral has been charged by police and fired from his job as a Merrill Lynch wealth advisor.
James Iannazzo ordered a smoothie from a Robeks outlet in Connecticut on Saturday for his son, who has a peanut allergy. He asked for the drink to not contain peanut butter, but he did not mention the allergy, the Fairfield Police Department wrote in a statement.
The video shows him demanding three employees tell him who made the drink, but they say they are not sure and that he should call the franchise’s corporate office with the complaint. The confrontation quickly escalates, with Iannazzo hurling obscenities at the employees, calling them “f****** stupid, f****** ignorant high school kids.”
Iannazzo then throws a drink at one of them, hitting her shoulder and prompting another worker to call 911. (The employee did not suffer any injuries, according to police.) When the employee demands he leave, he continues yelling at her, calling her a “f****** immigrant loser.” The video then shows him trying unsuccessfully to enter a door leading to an employees-only area of the shop.
Iannazzo left the scene before police arrived and later turned himself in, according to police.
A video of the confrontation has been viewed more than half a million times on Twitter as of Sunday afternoon.
Merrill Lynch spokesperson Bill Halldin confirmed to Newsweek on Sunday that Iannazzo had been fired.
“Our company does not tolerate behavior of this kind. We immediately investigated and have taken action. This individual is no longer employed at our firm,” the statement said.
Iannazzo’s attorney, Frank J. Riccio, wrote in a statement that he “stressed to the staff” that the smoothie must not contain peanuts, which is reflected by the receipt.
“His son has a life-threatening peanut allergy. Upon drinking the Robeks smoothie, his son had a severe allergic reaction which required transport via ambulance to the hospital,” the statement said. “When faced with a dire situation, Mr. Iannazzo’ parental instinct kicked in and he acted out of anger and fear. He is not a racist and deeply regrets his statement and actions during a moment of extreme emotion.”
Authorities charged him with intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the second degree, breach of peace in the second degree and criminal trespass in the first degree. He is set to appear in court February 7.
Iannazzo is still listed as employed on Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, where he has one denied complaint from April 2015.
Forbes in 2021 ranked Iannazzo as one of the 25 best in-state wealth advisors. He has worked for Merrill Lynch for about 26 years.
“It’s good to see financial institutions taking clear, decisive action in response to such foul, racist and misogynist behavior,” said Morgan Simon, co-founder of the investment firm Candide Group and author of Real Impact: The New Economics of Social Change. “And in the long-term, it’s important to address the fact that racism is a cancer within finance, period, with less than 2% of global assets managed by firms owned by women or people of color.”
Mater Dei High School football coaches and players referred to it as “Hell Week,” a string of twice-a-day workouts as the Monarchs prepared for football season shortly before the start of the 1987 school year.
Because of the workout schedule, and in an effort to build team chemistry, players and other students who worked with the team, managers, trainers, stat crew members, slept overnight at the Mater Dei gymnasium.
It was on one of the Hell Week nights that Patrick Callahan, a Mater Dei assistant football coach, allegedly led a 17-year-old stat girl, who was a student at the school, to the Monarchs’ nearby football field and raped her, according to a civil suit filed against Mater Dei and the Diocese of Orange in Orange County Superior Court Thursday.
Callahan repeatedly sexually assaulted the girl over a period of years at different places on the Mater Dei campus, at social functions, and at local restaurants, often in the presence of other Mater Dei coaches, according to a court filing. The suit also alleges Callahan repeatedly served the girl alcohol in the presence of other Mater Dei coaches.
The suit does not state whether the other coaches were aware that Callahan was sexually abusing the girl. The suit also does not name the other coaches who were allegedly present when the girl was served alcohol.
“The significance is that another victim of abuse at Mater Dei has come forward to uncover and expose the culture of abuse and cover-up that is rampant through the athletics of Mater Dei and its community,” said Michael Reck, an attorney for the woman.
Over a period of years, starting in 1985 when the girl was 16, Callahan “sexually assaulted (the) Plaintiff countless times over the years that (the) Plaintiff was a student at (Mater Dei),” according to the lawsuit. The Orange County Register is not naming the woman because of the nature of the allegations.
Callahan when asked about the lawsuit on Thursday said, “I don’t have any comment on that.”
He denied having sex with any minor age girls while coaching at Mater Dei. Callahan, who later worked as an assistant coach at Dodge City Community College in Kansas, said he was unaware of the Orange County diocese making payments to the plaintiff in the lawsuit filed Thursday.
Diocese spokesperson Tracey Kincaid said “we have not yet been formally served with the complaint and as a matter of general practice we do not comment on pending litigation.”
The lawsuit was filed against the backdrop of a Mater Dei-commissioned investigation by a Sacramento law firm into the culture of the school’s football and athletic programs.
The investigation commissioned by then-Mater Dei president Father Walter Jenkins on Nov. 30 was in response to an Orange County Register report detailing an alleged hazing incident involving the Monarchs football team. A current Mater Dei football player punched a teammate, 50 pounds lighter than him, three times in the face during an alleged hazing ritual called “Bodies” on Feb. 4, 2021, while some Monarchs players present shouted racial epithets at the smaller player, according to two videos of the altercation obtained by the Register.
The suit filed Thursday alleges negligent supervision, negligent retention and negligent supervision of the plaintiff, then a minor.
Callahan, who also worked at Mater Dei as an assistant track and field coach, later coached football and track at Santa Margarita Catholic High School, and served as an assistant football coach at Cerritos College.
Callahan was sentenced to two years in jail in 2006 for falsifying government documents in order to secure more than $150,000 in federal grants for athletes who were not eligible for the financial aid.
Callahan admitted fraudulently obtaining federal financial aid grant money for 13 Cerritos football players between July 1999 and March 2004, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office.
The suit alleging sexual assault was filed under a California law that allows sexual abuse victims to finally confront in court their abusers and the organizations that protected predators.
Assembly Bill 218, which was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019 and went into effect Jan. 1, 2020, created a three-year window to file past claims that had expired under the statute of limitations. The bill, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), also extends the statute of limitations for reporting childhood sexual abuse from the time a victim is age 26 to 40. The period for delayed reasonable discovery is also increased from three to five years. The law requires that plaintiffs meet a mental health practitioner and receive a certificate of merit to file under AB218. The woman has received a certificate of merit, Reck said.
Alleged survivors must file civil suits within eight years of becoming an adult or three years from the date an adult survivor “discovers” or should have discovered they were sexually abused, under current California law.
Under the 2019 law, defendants cannot be publicly identified in complaints until the judge formally accepts the case. The initial filings can list the addresses of defendants, however. The addresses of the diocese and Mater Dei are both listed for the two defendants in Thursday’s filing. Reck also confirmed that Mater Dei and the diocese are named in filings with the court.
The girl first met Callahan at a track camp on the Mater Dei campus in 1984, according to the suit. In the following months Callahan groomed her for sexual abuse, the suit alleges. Callahan allegedly began sexually assaulting her in 1985 when she was 16, Reck said.
Callahan “sexually molested, assaulted and abused Plaintiff on the premises owned, operated, and controlled by Defendants (Diocese of Orange) and (Mater Dei), including, without limitation, on the school campus of (Mater Dei),” according to a court filing.
As an assistant to Callahan and Mater Dei, the girl, the suit alleges “was forced to accompany Callahan to various athletic events of or sponsored by (Mater Dei). These athletic events were both on and off the high school campus of (Mater Dei) during the day and night, and included dinners at restaurants and other venues in California where alcohol was served to Plaintiff by (Callahan) and where other coaches and agents of (Mater Dei) were present. Often during these dinners, the PERPETRATOR sexually assaulted Plaintiff while they were sitting at the table with the other coaches and agents of (Mater Dei) present.”
“In his capacity as a track coach and/or an assistant football coach of (Mater Dei), PERPETRATOR often gave alcohol to Plaintiff, then a minor, to consume,” the suit said.
“Why did Mater Dei, why did the adults present during these times not raise a red flag?” Reck said.
The diocese has been aware of the allegations since 2011 when officials agreed to pay for the woman’s counseling, Reck said.
“Why hasn’t the diocese said anything?” Reck said.
Longtime Mater Dei head football coach Bruce Rollinson was not named in the suit. He was an assistant coach on the staff at the time.
Like many people during the early months of the pandemic, Ari, 21, lost her job in the summer of 2020. She’d been working at a casino in the U.K., but government shutdowns forced her employer to lay her off. “I had to get money somehow,” she says.
Ari, whose full name has been withheld to protect her privacy, had an account on OnlyFans, a direct-to-consumer content platform popularized by online sex workers that exploded in popularity during the pandemic. But she’d never really worked to promote her account, until after she was laid off. She’d started to grow a minor following, raking in about $3,000 per month. Then another creator on OnlyFans, a woman we’ll call Cora, messaged her. She’d just gotten a new manager, Nathan Johnson, who’d promised her she could one day earn nearly $100,000 per month; he’d just lost a model, and he needed a new one to take over her Instagram account.
Ari was intrigued. She was somewhat familiar with Johnson, a 21-year-old social media advertising wunderkind of sorts who on his website touts press coverage from the New York Times (in which he was quoted in a piece on spammy Instagram cash giveaway accounts), Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. Johnson owned a model management company, NJAC LLC, and he was recruiting Ari via his Instagram account Enhancement, which has more than half a million followers on Instagram; in its bio, Enhancement promises to help earn creators $100,00 per month. Ari says Johnson also claimed to be partnered with Baddie, a popular Instagram page promoting OnlyFans creators. (When reached by Rolling Stone, Johnson declined to comment whether NJAC has any relationship with Baddie, though he said the two management companies shared employees at the time.)
Ari thought there were a few red flags — Johnson’s company didn’t have its own website, and she didn’t speak with him on the phone. But Cora, who’d been with Johnson for a month, seemed to be making a lot of money, and Ari was lured by Johnson’s promises of helping her grow her Instagram and OnlyFans following. “[Cora] said you really want to be famous,” Johnson wrote in WhatsApp messages provided to Rolling Stone. “And that’s perfect cause that’s what we make people.”
“Yessss I wanna be rich,” Ari responded.
“Well perfect cause I want to be rich too lol,” Johnson responded.
Ari signed with Johnson, and for a few months, she says, he appeared to deliver on his word, with Ari making $75,000 in the first month. Then she realized he wasn’t actually giving her insight on how to grow her page or what type of content to post; according to Ari, he was just advertising her content on Instagram meme pages. (In a conversation with Rolling Stone, Johnson disputed this: “of course we advised on strategy,” he says.) Plus, her earnings were dropping; one month, she says, she only made $10-$15,000 out of $50,000 of earnings. When she confronted Johnson about this, he said he was spending much of that money on ads, but when Ari asked for proof of how much he was spending, he refused to show her any invoices or documentation, citing company secrets. And according to texts provided to Rolling Stone, he also publicly posted sexually explicit content that she had intended to only sell privately, though he apologized promptly after doing so. Ari says Johnson also pressured her to produce more content, though Johnson denies this, providing text messages to Rolling Stone that he did give her time off when she requested it.
After Ari says she heard from another model that Johnson was not, in fact, partnered with Baddie, she’d had enough. “I realized he was taking too much from me and i felt it wasn’t worth it to continue carrying on,” she says. In February, she sent Johnson a WhatsApp message saying she wanted to terminate their contract. He responded by threatening to take legal action against her if she continued to post content on social media, referring to a sunset clause in the contract she’d signed. “All no competes and clauses of early termination will be applied, and appropriate action will be taken if they are not! Thanks for your time with NJAC,” he wrote in response, adding that Ari would also have to forfeit the previous 30 days’ worth of income.
Johnson tells Rolling Stone he only made such threats under pressure of a lawyer, and had no intention to enforce them. “I’m a reasonable person. I was like, ‘This is what the contract says,’ not, ‘this is what I want to do,’” he says. “She was being very emotional and not very respectful during that conversation.” He also says NJAC’s contracts no longer include sunset clauses or non-competes, though he declined to provide Rolling Stone with a copy of the updated contract.
After Ari left Johnson, she says, he continued to post as her under her Instagram and OnlyFans accounts and reselling explicit content she had already sold to her followers at a vastly reduced rate, leading to subscribers complaining about her scamming them. It was at this point that she hired attorney Anibal Luque to send a cease-and-desist to Johnson. When Johnson kept posting, Luque sent another one. (Johnson says he had agreed with Ari beforehand that he could post on the account for 30 days afterward, and stopped immediately after receiving the initial letter from her lawyer. He says he did not receive a follow-up letter because he was out of town at the time.)
In the months since she left Johnson, Ari says she’s heard from nearly half a dozen models who had similar experiences with him, including Cora, who also left after she alleges Johnson took 60-70 percent of her income. “Nathan was a very nice guy, until you didn’t comply with his agenda,” Cora says.
Another model who worked with Johnson, who we’ll call Natasha, also signed up with Johnson after losing her job in May of 2020 due to Covid (it was, in fact, Ari who inherited her Instagram account when she left NJAC). When she signed with him, she agreed to give him a whopping 66 percent of her earnings. But like Ari, she alleges she saw far less than 33 percent of her total earnings. “When I asked him about it he told me that all the money spent on ads came off the top,” she says. “I thought that was pretty normal being new to the industry and everything. I didn’t really question it.” She asked him to show her a spreadsheet showing the ad costs, which Johnson provided, but says that something didn’t add up. Natasha posted a video on her OnlyFans saying she was creating a new account. Johnson continued posting as Natasha to her OnlyFans and Instagram using some of her old content, which Johnson says was also written into her contract, and sent her a cease-and-desist for violating the non-compete.
When reached for comment, Johnson says the majority of his models (NJAC now has 30) have had positive experiences with his agency. He attributes his spats with former models to a combination of miscommunication and youth and inexperience with the adult industry. “It’s sad they feel I did them so wrong when, compared to what other people would do, i did what a good person would do, which is only do what was agreed on and that’s it,” he says. He attributes Ari’s negative experience with NJAC to her producing less content and being dissatisfied about her income, having inherited her Instagram account from a model who made almost twice as much as her. “When you put a dollar sign essentially on your body, it’s kinda fucked up,” he says. “Her seeing her income [plummet], that can discourage you a lot.” He also noted that Ari reached out to Johnson shortly after threatening him with legal action, asking if she could pay him to retweet her OnlyFans link onto one of his Twitter pages.
But Ari says Johnson is an example of a manager exploiting those who wish to enter the fledgling creator industry, who overpromises to his models and then blames them when he fails to deliver. “We just feel like we’ve almost been scammed by this man,” she says, referring to herself and other models who’ve come forward. “He seemed to be taking far too much and when we wanted to quit he made it really hard for every model.”
Ari is one of hundreds of thousands of content creators who have joined OnlyFans, a custom content platform popularized by sex workers that has more recently been embraced by more mainstream influencers and creators, many of whom are posting more vanilla content. Though OnlyFans launched in 2016, after the Covid-19 pandemic hit, newly unemployed people started flocking to OnlyFans in droves, with the platform reporting a 75-percent increase in new sign-ups in April 2020 alone; by December 2020, it had gone up to 85 million users. (As of January 2022, that number is 170 million.) A shoutout by Beyoncé in her “Savage” remix, as well as mainstream celebrities like Bella Thorne joining the platform, helped to lend OnlyFans mainstream visibility; it has also arguably contributed to the platform starting to push sex workers out, with OnlyFans announcing in Aug. 2021 that the website would start prohibiting sexually explicit content due to pressure from payment processors. (It later reversed this decision following outcry from creators on the site.)
OnlyFans’ increased popularity has translated into an emerging cottage industry of third parties, such as agencies, consultants, and managers, looking to show newcomers the ropes and make a few bucks in the process. Prior to the pandemic, only major stars (primarily, adult performers with huge followings) would hire someone to manage their OnlyFans by sending fans DMs or posting content for them, says Amberly Rothfield, a marketing and business consultant for online content creators. “Before the pandemic it was just major stars and their boyfriends who ran their accounts,” Rothfield, who uses “xie” and “xir” pronouns, says. “Then a girl would be like ‘Hey, your boyfriend is running your account, would he like to run mine, I’ll give him a percentage.’ More and more people started getting into it.”
Yet as the platform has exploded, OnlyFans managers have since become “little mom-and-pop businesses” taking a small cut of a creator’s earnings in exchange for managing their content. “The pandemic happened and I skyrocketed,” says Dominique Bradley, owner of Bad Bunny Agency, which manages OnlyFans content creators. In addition to managing about 15 models directly, Bradley makes YouTube videos advising creators and managers on how to make money on OnlyFans. “The coronavirus increased the amount of people at home, increased the amount of people who have money able to spend, and the number of people who need to pay their bills. And that created a huge opening in the marketplace.”
But as modeling agencies pop up, bad actors are increasingly flooding the space as well. Last December, for instance, a number of models came forward to allege that the firm Unruly Agency, which manages prominent creators and OnlyFans influencers, as well as an affiliated firm called Behave, used deceptive recruiting practices to entice creators and, in some cases, posted nude or sexually explicit content without their consent. One model filed suit against the agency for alleged financial blackmail and inappropriate behavior, such as posting an illicit video of her to her OnlyFans page without her consent and rerouting her payment information to the agency’s own bank accounts. And nearly half a dozen OnlyFans creators Rolling Stone spoke with shared similar stories about other managers and agencies. (Referring to this and another lawsuit against the agency, Buzzfeed quoted a representative for Unruly saying that the claimsin the lawsuits “are broadly stated and not supported by any evidence.”)
Some of these supposed managers flooding the OnlyFans space use model recruitment as an opportunity to try to get free sexually explicit content. In August 2020, for instance, an OnlyFans creator named Josie, then 23, saysshe was contacted by another OnlyFans creator on a “like-for-like” Twitter DM thread, a common method for creators to encourage each other to follow each other and promote their content. The woman told Josie she had an opportunity for her with the modeling agency Infinite Possibilities, which was setting up a 3D holographic magazine, and set her up with a man who identified himself via text as CEO Russel Andrey. They got in touch on WhatsApp to set up a phone call. “Very quickly, before we started the interview, he said, ‘You’re not wearing too many clothes, right?’” Josie says.
According to screengrabs of WhatsApp messages Josie shared with Rolling Stone, Andrey encouraged her to send one-minute videos of herself wearing “minimal clothing.” Josie says he then asked her to write a positive review of his portfolio on Google Reviews, which she did, and then suggested they set up a FaceTime “training.” “He wanted me to show off my skills, my talent, over the phone with him watching… I think what he wanted me to do was masturbate on video chat with him, [because] he told me to get my toys and I was gonna want to get naked,” says Josie. “I was like, ‘I can see where this is going.’”
Josie told Andrey she wasn’t interested and then told a friend about the application process, who suggested to her that she was being scammed in exchange for providing Andrey with free content. An embarrassed Josie edited her Google review to call the company out, only to receive a reply saying the agency had done a background check on her and found trafficking and drug charges against her (which would have been impossible, she says, because she never gave Andrey her real name). Since then, “I’ve heard a lot about fake training where people can go to OnlyFans models and say, ‘we can make you a real model, just go for this training,’ and it turns out the training is just collecting a whole bunch of your work for free,” she says. (Andrey did not reply to requests for comment.)
Other aspiring OnlyFans modeling agents appear to simply be trying to capitalize off the platform’s boom, without having the knowledge or skill set to do so. Roxie Sinner, 18, was living at home with her parents and selling premium content on Snapchat when a 22-year-old man named Samer Morcy DM’ed her on Instagram. Morcy claimed to be a model manager with an agency called Bombshell. “At the time I didn’t know anything about the industry. I just wanted to make money to move out,” she says. So when Morcy asked for 34 percent of her earnings in exchange for promoting her on Instagram and preventing her content from being leaked, she didn’t bat an eyelash. “Honestly, I thought he’d ask for 50,” she says. (The standard in the industry, Rothfield says, is between 5 and 15 percent.)
Then Roxie started noticing the checks Morcy was sending her were less than she expected. When she confronted him about it, she says he admitted he was taking 50 percent, a number she says they had not agreed to. She also received DMs from an anonymous person addressed to her legal first name, saying Morcy had been impersonating her on Snapchat and selling her nudes without her consent. “That’s when I really lost my shit,” she says. She confronted him over text, where he denied impersonating her and claimed she had agreed to 50 percent to start with.
The next day, Roxie says, she woke up to realize she had been logged out of her OnlyFans. When she managed to get in touch with a representative, they said she had tried to delete her own account. Though OnlyFans eventually gave her back access to the account, she estimates Morcy still owes her about $16,000, and never got a “single cent” back. “He knew I was a naive little child,” she says. “He knew I’d go along with everything he said.”
Lora is another OnlyFans creator based outside the U.S. who claims to have been contacted by Morcy on Twitter last spring. She says Morcy represented himself as an agent employed at Veno Management, a firm that specializes in managing growth for models and influencers. “He promised that I would be in the top one percent in a few months of working with them. That did not happen,” she says. Lora also shared with Rolling Stone a copy of the contract she signed upon starting work with Morcy, which lists the agency as Bombshell Magazine Limited, or BML, Agency. A search for Bombshell Magazine Limited yielded one Facebook page with three likes, which lists an Orlando, Florida address as headquarters for the company; that address is the same as the address on Morcy’s driver license.
When contacted by Rolling Stone, Veno Management denied any involvement with Morcy. “Veno Management is a social media management agency that is absolutely in no way, shape or form associated with the individual you have mentioned as ‘Samer Morcy’,” the company said in a statement. When reached for comment, Morcy denied any wrongdoing while he was working as a manager for OnlyFans models, and said that the anonymous DMs were written by a former friend who was trying to smear his reputation.
Part of the reason why the OnlyFans space is so rife for exploitation is because of the stigma attached to the sex industry in general. Many who have joined OnlyFans within the past two years are completely new to the adult industry, and thus are concerned about being outed to their family or friends. It is not unheard of for this to happen to content creators when the relationship goes south, says Rothfield. “If you try to leave it’s basically, ‘I know who you are, I know where you live, it would be a shame if this info came out,’” xie says.
Within the industry itself, hiring someone to manage your OnlyFans carries a fair amount of stigma. Rothfield compares the manager cottage industry to a Fight Club: “it’s just something you don’t talk about.” Because the ostensible purpose of OnlyFans is to connect content creators directly to their followers, there’s a belief among many fans that if creators hire someone to answer their DMs or post content for them, they’re “scamming” or “catfishing” consumers — even though the practice of hiring social media managers is widespread, if not standard, in the mainstream entertainment industry. “People sign up for OF because they want the one-on-one connection with you. They think they’re talking to you,” says Jessica Sage, an online sex worker and stay-at-home parent. Sage briefly hired a manager two years ago after her following grew, only to terminate the relationship when, she says, without her consent, he started offering her subs custom content that she was not comfortable making. “I realized they wanted to do things to help their pockets,” she says. “I felt like at the end of the day, [the relationship] would hurt me more than it would benefit me.”
For those just starting an OnlyFans, hiring a manager may at first seem like a good way to navigate an unfamiliar industry. Autumn Nelson, a popular content creator who goes by @ColorsOfAutumn on Instagram, was approached by her current manager on Instagram in 2017, when the influencer industry was just starting to take off. “I never thought I could be one of those people with a large Instagram. I was just a technician who worked in health care,” she says. “But I thought, why not? Let’s just try it and see what happens.” She says with his help, she reached 10,000 followers within a week, completely organically. She now has 1.2 million Instagram followers and a sizeable following on OnlyFans, where her manager takes an eight-percent commission to post content for her and respond to pay-per-view messages. She has also started managing models on an Autumn’s Angels Instagram account, inviting models to sign up for OnlyFans using her referral link, a common way for creators to make money. (OnlyFans has a program that offers five percent of a new model’s first-year earnings to the creator who referred them.)
Despite her own success, however, Nelson cautions OnlyFans newcomers against hiring someone to outsource their content management off the bat. Prior to hiring her current manager, she says, she had a bad experience with a former manager who coerced her into videos that she “wasn’t comfortable with at all,” which ended up being posted on the website ManyVids without her consent for additional profit. The manager, she alleges, also sent photos to her family and tried to sell foot fetish videos to a private client. “As you build your platforms, you kinda can determine who’s trustworthy or not,” she says. “I would say don’t go with a program you see ads for online. Find an individual you see as trustworthy, preferably a female, who understands how personal and uncomfortable it can be posting your nude content online.”
In theory, OnlyFans itself discourages creators from sharing their passwords and other account info. In a statement, OnlyFans tells Rolling Stone: “All creator accounts on OnlyFans must be owned by and be registered in the name of the creator and be paid out to the creator’s bank account. The platform has no involvement in any agreements made between creators and third party managers off of the platform.”
But Rothfield says that as the manager industry grows, OnlyFans could afford to be much more responsive to creators who may find themselves getting fleeced by unscrupulous entrepreneurs. “In our experience working with them they haven’t been the most receptive or involved,” says Luque, Ari’s attorney. “When we’ve tried to get things taken down it hasn’t been the most fruitful.” Rothfield says that she is seeing an increasing number of creators get locked out of their accounts and seek out xir help for recovering them. With OnlyFans, xie says, “you kinda just have to pray. You email support and you hope they get back to you.”
But as more and more aspiring adult content creators join OnlyFans, and more and more aspiring entrepreneurs gravitate to the platform to make a few bucks, some content creators are warning newbies to steer clear of people claiming to be agents or managers. “They make all these promises: ‘You’re gonna grow so much, you’re gonna make thousands of dollars and be super successful,’” says Sage. “But at the end of the day it’ll benefit them more than it benefits you.”
A musician who lost all her unemployment documents when her home burned in a wildfire. An arborist who filed for unemployment assistance a year before the pandemic began. A tattoo artist who can’t prove he was working because he ran a cash operation.
These are just a few Californians caught in a state dragnet to recover money from fraudulent unemployment claims.
Late last year, California’s Employment Development Department launched a clawback program, requiring some 1.4 million people who received federal pandemic unemployment assistance to retroactively prove they were working or seeking work. That program, which ended in September, was aimed at helping people who don’t usually qualify for unemployment benefits because they are freelancers or small-business owners.
As of Jan. 4, one out of five recipients who received the notice has responded. The state says a majority have been deemed eligible and won’t have to repay, but some are unable to provide documentation, leaving them on the hook to repay benefits that could add up to tens of thousands of dollars. If they can’t pay, the state could collect the money in a variety of ways, such as wage garnishments or taking them to court.
“They are going to want money back from me that I don’t have,” said Donna Casey, a musician who could owe EDD more than $30,000 after losing her home in the August Complex fire in 2020. “What are they going to do to me, put me in jail? At least I’ll have a place to live.”
Even former federal prosecutor McGregor Scott, hired by the state to lead a separate investigation into large-scale unemployment fraud, expressed skepticism that the effort would recoup much of some $20 billion lost to fraudulent claims, including millions of dollars of state-approved payments to prison inmates. Advocates suggested letting claimants like Casey keep the money regardless of proof, but the state is holding firm.
That’s left many Californians in a bind.
Some who were contacted by EDD said they are terrified of losing their homes. Many are furious that the responsibility fell on them after they already received the money. And others simply don’t know where to turn for help.
Casey had lost gigs and stopped selling homemade jewelry at festivals when the lockdown began. Then she lost all her documentation when her house in Trinity County burned in a wildfire, just after her daughter died of a lung infection.
Unemployment was a lifesaver as Casey searched for work throughout the pandemic, including applying to an Amazon warehouse. But, at 67-years-old, she couldn’t lift enough to qualify for the job.
Casey, however, never thought she might have to pay back her benefits.
Now living in Berkeley with one of her daughters, Casey has some photos of her old business cards that she’ll send to the agency. She also hopes EDD will speak with the music groups she played with – but she worries that won’t cut it.
Similarly, at the start of the pandemic, Sasha Emery was living in an RV partly paid for by federal emergency funds after her Paradise home burned down. After finally getting into affordable housing during the pandemic, she signed up for unemployment when the few available jobs didn’t pan out.
When the notice arrived asking for proof or repayment, shock turned into tears. All Emery has to offer are records of her dire situation: food stamps, Medi-Cal documentation and potentially the federal assistance she received after the fire.
If a recipient can’t offer the necessary proof, and cannot repay the funds at once or in installments that could include 3% interest, EDD may seek the money in a number of ways. The agency could put a lien on property, take up to 25% of a recipient’s wages, withhold state and federal tax refunds or lottery winnings, deduct benefits from future unemployment or state disability insurance benefits, or file a lawsuit.
Cryptocurrencies, also known as virtual currencies, have gone mainstream. That’s for sure. For example, you can use bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.35% to buy a Tesla TSLA, +1.75% and to buy or pay for lots of other things. However, using cryptocurrencies has federal income tax implications. Here’s what you need to know at 2021 tax return time if you made crypto transactions last year.
Understand this: the IRS wants to know about your crypto transactions The 2021 version of IRS Form 1040 asks if at any time during the year you received, sold, exchanged, or otherwise disposed of any financial interest in any virtual currency. If you did, you are supposed to check the “Yes” box. The fact that this question appears on page 1 of Form 1040, right below the lines for supplying basic information like your name and address, indicates that the IRS is serious about enforcing compliance with the applicable tax rules. Fair warning.
When to check the ‘Yes’ box on crypto transactions The 2021 Form 1040 instructions clarify that virtual currency transactions for which you should check the “Yes” box include but are not limited to: (1) the receipt of virtual currency as payment for goods or services that you provided; (2) the receipt or transfer of virtual currency for free that does not qualify as a bona fide gift under the federal tax rules; (3) the receipt of new virtual currency as a result of mining and staking activities; (4) the receipt of virtual currency as a result of a hard fork; (5) an exchange of virtual currency for property, goods, or services; (6) an exchange/trade of virtual currency for another virtual currency; (7) a sale of virtual currency; and (8) any other disposition of a financial interest in virtual currency.
If in 2021 you disposed of any virtual currency that was held as a capital asset through a sale, exchange, or transfer, check the “Yes” box and use familiar IRS Form 8949 and Schedule D of Form 1040 to figure your capital gain or loss. See Examples 1 and 4 below.
If in 2021 you received any virtual currency as compensation for services, check the “Yes” box and report the income the same way as you would report other income of the same nature. See Example 3 below.
When to check the ‘No’ box on crypto transactions You cannot leave the virtual currency transaction question unanswered. You must check either the “Yes” box or the “No” box.
A transaction involving virtual currency does not include holding virtual currency in a wallet or account, or the transfer of virtual currency from one wallet or account that you own or control to another that you own or control. If that’s all that happened last year, check the “No” box.
Also check the “No” box if your only virtual currency transactions in 2021 were purchases of virtual currency for real currency, including the use of real currency electronic platforms such as PayPal PYPL, -1.43%.