Everyone from the Washington Post to the Cut agrees: Adult film star and Donald Trump foe Stormy Daniels is great at Twitter. Her most impressive skill is the way she shuts down her trolls and haters without ever apologizing for being a successful porn star. Someone calls her a slut, and her response is, “Yes.” Someone tweets to her, “Pretty sure dumb whores go to hell,” and she writes, “Whew! Glad I’m a smart one.” She always includes the original, offending tweet when she posts these replies, meaning they aren’t just responses but dunks: She’s making sure all her followers can see that she is more than capable of dispensing with these small-time pests. The results show that many of her haters ultimately ended up deleting their original taunts.
There’s another prominent aspect of Daniels’ account that’s received much less attention than her sick burns, though: all those spammy links. “I’ve just got a new #fan! Get access to my unseen and exclusive content at onlyfans.com/stormydaniels,” the probably automatically generated text says, above a GIF that repeats the message on a backdrop of cartoon money. (Sometimes it’s a slight variation on that: “Another #fan just renewed their monthly subscription.”)
The wording in these tweets sounds slightly off—or maybe just slightly British, with the “I’ve just got”? But what’s most off about these tweets is how often the messages repeat, appearing in her feed sometimes several times a day. Is Daniels aware this is happening? Is this another case of a Trump associate demonstrating all-too-human IT issues, like Paul Manafort’s struggle to convert his PDFs? Has Stormy’s account been high-jacked by a third-party app?
No, almost certainly not. As opposed to the guy who coined covfefe, Daniels is a savvy social media user, one who isn’t prone to typos or other bouts of fat-fingered clumsiness; it’s fair to assume that everything on her account is there because she wants it to be. And all signs indicate that she wants those links to her exclusive content right alongside those tweets that have earned her praise, respect, news coverage, and eyeballs.
So what is onlyfans.com? It’s a platform where, for $14.99 a month, fans can access exclusive content from their favorite creators—basically, people who like Stormy can pay extra to see photos and videos she doesn’t post elsewhere on social media. (Given her line of work, and the few images that are visible on her locked Only Fans page, it’s safe to assume these posts consist of adult content.) According to the site’s partners page, in addition to the subscription payments, she also receives a 5 percent commission for converting new users. Stormy’s profile says she has posted on Only Fans 258 times. Elsewhere on Daniels’ Twitter profile, there’s a link to a similar-sounding site, fancentro.com, where fans can pay $18.32 a month to follow her on a private Snapchat account. Her profile, in the header, also touts her work with Brazzers, a porn production company and network of sites, and her directorial contract with Digital Playground, another porn studio. Daniels never tries to hide her work in adult content or portray herself as more “respectable” than she is—she is completely open about what the nature of what she does and who she is.
So what are we to make of the way Daniels’ Twitter account intersperses sassy comebacks and links that will lead you, just as fast as you can type in your credit card info, to explicit depictions of her? Well, let’s consider what the woman behind the account has already said quite publicly. Daniels has spoken in interviews about why she chose to take on Trump: She wants to do what is right. She also wants to raise her public profile and make some money. On 60 Minutes on Sunday, Daniels acknowledged that she hopes to continue to profit from the scandal surrounding her—in fact, she’s already parlayed her fame into a national stripping tour.
For other people or in other times, this might seem like uncomfortable territory to occupy: How can we trust Daniels when we know she has a monetary interest in the proceedings? When she is also a known stripper and porn star? But Daniels is a master at transforming what could have been liabilities first into rhetorical assets and then into literal financial assets. She’s used her background in porn and stripping as evidence that she’s already owned up to “the worst” about herself, or society’s idea of it, anyway. She then extends the idea of being unapologetic about her profession to its logical conclusion: Not only is she not sorry or ashamed about having been a porn star, she’s so unapologetic about it that she’s still doing it. She’s not pausing her porn career to tangle with the president. Why would she? Now is the time to capitalize on all the attention, after all.
Daniels is often a foil to Trump, and in her frankness, too, she presents his opposite: She’s honest about her sex life, her work, and her desire to make money, in a way that feels genuine rather than defensive. Far from her actions being driven by deflection, as is so often the case with Trump, Daniels won’t be shamed for any of it, or even try to change the subject. Nowhere is this pride more apparent than on Twitter, where her much-admired yes-I’ve-done-porn-so-what tweets stand shoulder to shoulder with the tweets explaining just exactly how you can pay her for it.