Wells Fargo may have had no problem scamming clients into accounts without consent (until they got caught and were fined $185 million), but when it comes to sex workers, the bank is suddenly pious.
As Rolling Stone reports, sex workers across the country are reporting that their Wells Fargo accounts have been terminated with no explanation - aside from referencing "ongoing reviews of its account relationships in connection with the Bank’s responsibilities to manage risks," effective immediately.
In the letters, which are dated August 25 and copies of which were provided to Rolling Stone, Wells Fargo offers zero explanation for the decision to terminate the relationship with these customers. The letter says that the bank “performs ongoing reviews of its account relationships in connection with the Bank’s responsibilities to manage risks in its banking operations,” and that the recipient’s accounts will be closed “as a result of this review.” Wells Fargo did not immediately respond to a request for comment. -Rolling Stone
30-year customer Alana Evans, president of the Adult Performance Artists' Guild (APAG) says that she's had no prior issues with the bank. In a Sept. 2 video posted to Twitter, she said: "I don’t bounce checks, I’ve never done anything bad with my bank account, I don’t have fraud alerts or do chargebacks," adding "A bank that I’ve done business with for 30 years decided that I’m not worthy of a relationship with them."
"How am I supposed to pay my bills? How am I supposed to get paid?" she continued.
A little long but it’s my 💔😢 I don’t normally post videos like this but I feel the need to express how deeply this has affected myself and others - banking discrimination destroys livelihoods of marginalized workers @WellsFargo pic.twitter.com/gzYCeETh1G— Alana Evans (@alanaevansxxx) September 2, 2022
The owners of Las Vegas-based porn production company, YummyGirl Studios, were also terminated as clients by the bank. Spike Irons and Sofie Marie received a letter dated Aug. 25, which said they had until Oct. 13 to move their money - shortly after cashing a check from Hustler for Marie's modeling. The couple primarily used the account to pay out independent contractors, including actors and production staffers.
They have applied to two other banks and been rejected, and have no idea how they'll pay their staff according to the report.
"We’re a tax-paying business that has been operating consistently since 2016," said Irons. "Tell me how we are high-risk. Wouldn’t they have dumped us years ago?"
Another adult content creator, Leia Way, was also canceled by Wells Fargo - despite telling Rolling Stone that she's been a member in good standing for six years, and had been using the account to process wire transfer payments from an affiliate marketing program linked to a cam site.
"In this line of work, the feeling of being discriminated never really goes away," she said. "With that feeling, I am always expecting the other shoe to drop."
She's been forced to find another bank as well.
"To have a business terminate your relationship when you’ve done nothing wrong or illegal, it sucks," she added.
Even a former adult performer, 'Raylene,' had her Wells Fargo account terminated despite being out of the industry for a decade. The only activity related to the adult industry are residual payments from cam site Streammate.
"It’s kind of messed up," she said. "If I feel unsafe in a financial institution, what’s next? Did they check my background? Why would one or two deposits a year flag my account? I would feel better if someone would give me a straight answer."
The fact that she has been out of the industry for so long, she says, makes her even more disquieted about Wells Fargo’s decision. “You feel powerless over the external forces, over corporate and religious America, trying to exclude certain groups from living their lives in a free way,” she says. -Rolling Stone
According to the report, this isn't the first time banks have punished people in the adult industry for seemingly no reason. In 2014, JPMorgan Chase shuttered a slew of adult performers' accounts without explanation - including Teagan Presley and Keiran Lee.