Internet | February 9, 2021 10:31 am

A Porn Actress Was Banned From Dating App Bumble

Like many sex workers, Bunny Colby found herself banned from a dating app for no reason

bumble
Bumble claims to support women, but apparently that support doesn't include sex workers.
Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Like an increasing number of places on the internet, dating apps are frequently hostile, unwelcoming territory for sex workers. While most online dating platforms have community guidelines in place prohibiting “commercial activity,” some sex industry professionals are finding themselves unceremoniously banned from dating apps simply for being sex workers, even if they’re just using the apps for their intended purpose.

In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, adult film actress Bunny Colby opened up about her experience getting banned from Bumble, a supposedly “feminist” dating app that bills itself as a safe space for women in an otherwise toxic online dating pool. As Colby discovered when she was banned from the app despite adhering to its terms of service, however, Bumble’s support for women does not extend to sex workers.

Colby said her Bumble profile was “very tame,” and did not include any references to the sex industry or links to any platforms promoting or monetizing her work. The only social media she included in her profile was her Instagram handle, and since — as we well know — “Instagram is a very PG app,” Colby said she doesn’t “have anything too racy on there either.”

Nevertheless, after finding herself inexplicably booted from the dating app one day, Colby was informed by Bumble support that she had been “permanently banned for commercial activity.” When Colby asked what kind of “commercial activity” she’d been found guilty of, Bumble replied that they “can’t share specifics, but generally speaking commercial activity includes, but is not limited to seeking financial support, transactional activity, recruiting or soliciting for adult entertainment, selling/promoting any goods or services, or sharing links to any subscription-based services such as OnlyFans, ManyVids, Patreon, etc.”

Colby maintains she never used her Bumble profile for any such purposes, and was simply on the app looking for a romantic partner. “I’m not trying to find talent to work with or anything like that on Bumble. I don’t even work with men at this point — I haven’t for a year — or to try to sell them my OnlyFans. And I didn’t have any of that in my bio or profile,” Colby told The Daily Beast, going on to add that while she doesn’t do full-service sex work, the idea that sex workers, full-service or otherwise, can’t separate their work and dating lives is incorrect and discriminatory.

“The assumption that everyone in adult does full-service sex work is wrong, and the assumption that even a full-service sex worker would be on that app just to do sex work is wrong,” said Colby. “Those people can also want authentic relationships, which is what Bumble says it exists for. Even if a full-service sex worker was on Bumble, if they’re not using it for full-service sex work, what’s the issue? Are they not allowed to have meaningful relationships?”

Unfortunately, Colby’s experience is far from unprecedented. Porn performers both male and female have often complained of getting banned from dating apps including Grindr and Tinder, which typically fail to provide any clear explanation for the ban.

In case anyone needs a refresher, sex work is work, and having a job in the sex industry doesn’t preclude anyone from seeking traditional romantic or sexual relationships. Sex workers, just like people in any other industry, separate their personal lives from their work lives.

“I wasn’t planning an insurrection or anything. I was just swiping left and right, hoping that I don’t die alone,” said Colby. Unfortunately, in a deeply whorephobic society, just swiping left and right as a sex worker is enough to get you banned.

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