Patreon is a boon for many 3DX artists looking to get their work off the ground. It’s not an easy or cheap art to practice; and getting any support outside of a person’s job is very helpful. For some, using crowdfunding sources like Patreon are a great way to make a living out of this line of work. Moreover, the issue of piracy is a little more manageable.
However, our situation with Patreon has always been tenuous because of our line of work. Now, because of an unrelated incident, there’s a potential risk that various Patreons, if not many, could get culled. It’s uncertain whether it will happen, and it’s possible this is just minor nonsense. But it’s nevertheless something to worry about.
The cause of this concern, almost surprisingly, has nothing to do with porn. Last month, Patreon banned a Canadian right-wing vlogger by the name of Lauren Southern due to an incident in the Mediterranean Sea. We’re not going to post any links on it, since it involves a very divisive political issue. Besides, what matters is what happened afterward.
Several figures on the right are very unhappy by the development. Some have ended up abandoning Patreon for choosing the “intolerance narrative” by booting Southern. This disregards the fact that Patreon can do whatever it wants, since it’s, you know, a private company in America. Others have supported Southern in different ways through donations.
However, for some right-wing media sites, the response is to do what everyone else does on Twitter and Tumblr when someone angers them in a stupid way: Get petty. One site in particular, GotNews – whose claim to fame is saying the President reads their site, which is a weird thing to sell your site on, no matter who that President is – is going after Patreon because it supports porn, a conservative dog whistle. Patreon CEO Jack Conte denies it, says it’s even in the rules, but they say otherwise. The porn in question they speak of happens to be live-action, which is important to note.
GotNews is small fry, judging by most metrics. We get more traffic than they do. Moreover, more prominent right-wing publications such as Breitbart and The Daily Caller aren’t blowing the same dog whistle. In theory, 3DX Patreons are safe because they’re art, and the dispute relates to live-action. In theory. Still, this isn’t the first time a minor article by a conservative spooked a culling of some kind.
Like a Book Burning, But With DATA
Back in 2013, one of the weirder fads that developed was the rise of dinosaur and mythical beast erotica on Amazon Kindle. Women getting boned by velociraptors, sasquatches, and various other legendary creatures were a thing for a while. It was also lucrative: Some writers were making thousands a month in sales. It showed that writing erotica and selling well was possible.
However, the trend died quickly due to an unrelated incident of its own. A conservative writer by the name of Jeremy Wilson wrote a series of hit pieces on the Kindle erotica marketplace for The Daily Dot, in which he noted there was a large number of rape and incest erotica being published on the site, along with a combination of the two on occasion. Granted, such stories aren’t cool to begin with on a business level, but we’re not one to judge other people’s fetishes.
After the article published, Amazon quickly deleted many of the stories what was likely a panic-driven decision. But it ultimately led to a larger culling of erotica that dragged non-incest and non-rape titles into the memory hole, including many of the popular dino and sasquatch erotica pieces. We witnessed a minor digital book burning. It became much more tenuous to publish erotica that wasn’t strictly vanilla for a couple years. Things have settled down now, as is evidenced by my rival Chuck Tingle’s rise to fame with his fabled and Hugo-nominated gay dino porn.
The pattern is similar: Right-wing writer/pub goes after some seedy element, bigger company uses blunt force to get rid of seedy element, taking out people who had nothing to do with it. It’s very possible it will happen with Patreon.
How to Stay Safe
Odds are, something may happen in the coming days and weeks. But even if it doesn’t, 3DX artists that use Patreon should take some steps to make sure they don’t get in trouble. Supro, who hosts his own Patreon, recommends a few:
1. Make sure all NSFW posts are Patron-only.
This is a common mistake to make, but Pateron artists forget NSFW posts can’t be seen by the general public. Moreover, the site doesn’t make an auto-distinction. While it may be annoying to some artists, it’s essential to make sure posts are set to patron-only. The mistake of making naughty posts public will get you into trouble very quickly.
2. Read all the rules and FAQs!
It almost goes without saying, but now’s a good time as any to review the Patreon rules and Terms of Service. Moreover, if you have some issues understanding them, it would be a good idea to read over the FAQs as well. If you have further problems, you can contact support. They’re friendly, you know!
3. Back up your Patreon work off-site.
In the event a culling does occur, odds are likely you won’t be able to recover any work. So it’s ideal to have a cloud storage unit available in case things go south and askew. Whether it’s Dropbox, Sync, or even Google Drive, just having your own backup online for both yourself and fans is in your best interest.
Facing An Uncertain Future
Of course, there’s a good chance that nothing will happen at all. But given the initial reaction over what was essentially a small article, it’s a sign that people feel really insecure about the future of funding 3DX. We’re already in difficult circumstances as it is, with Tumblr slowly tightening the noose around adult content and making it extremely difficult for artists to reach new audiences. Patreon works for now, but the situation has to change.
This may require new ideas in how to approach adult content. While crowdfunding through Patreon is a tenuous route, creating your own crowdfunding platform is even more difficult, given that banks don’t like adult content. Moreover, the number of social platforms from which to broadcast adult content grows slimmer by the day.
One option is to have a hub for artwork, though that is open to question, especially in the 3DX scene. Deviant-Art takes an anti-porn stance. Hentai-Foundry is notorious for taking a hostile stance toward 3D artwork, though artists are partly to blame for this. A new hub specifically for 3DX wouldn’t be a bad idea, though.
Another is to build a network of artists who can work together to build up 3DX as a whole, sharing costs and promotion. An artist cooperative of this nature could stand to benefit from helping each other out and promoting 3DX in different ways. It would take some time, money, and a willingness to work with others, but there’s definitely potential in that.
Still, something must be done soon. 3DX has potential to grow. But it can only do so if it doesn’t rely on companies that can pull the plug on them quickly.