Ever wanted to be an influencer? Unruly Agency and its smaller partner firm, Behave, have made a name for themselves in the media world, representing TikTok stars, popular OnlyFans creators, YouTubers, models, and more.
Now, the edgy, youth-based marketing firm is in a world of trouble in the wake of a lawsuit filed by one of its clients, alleging that the company has been engaging in seriously shady tactics – including profiting from pornographic material of the plaintiff that they didn’t have permission to release.
The Price of Fame
Unruly and its influencer-based partner Behave represent the likes of Daisy Keech, YouTuber Tana Mongeau, and Too Hot To Handle’s famous boy toy Harry Jowsey. Unruly advertises themselves well, selling the narrative of “elite influencer marketing and social media marketing” to wide-eyed influencer wannabes. They also gain clients through the promise of partnerships with well-known companies like FashionNova, and supposedly thrive on “female empowerment.”
The firm was created in 2020 by social media influencers Nick Gathrite and Tara Electra, who already had a social media marketing agency under her belt. As of January of this year, Unruly was already managing 40 models.
Starting a business and creating a global brand in the middle of a widespread pandemic seems like a stupid move. But Electra and Gathrite are praised for being avant-garde by staking their claim through their partnership with another well-known brand: OnlyFans.
Unruly is known for launching the careers of OnlyFans creators and models by creating tenacious ad campaigns.
Unruly is known for launching the careers of OnlyFans creators and even models who are just starting out by creating tenacious advertising campaigns and even managing the appearances and posting schedules of its OnlyFans users. This is all for a considerable percentage of their earnings, of course.
In a puff piece about Unruly’s founders breaking through to “uncharted territory,” one author writes, “Electra and Gathrite use their knowledge to make both their agency and the models powerful in the industry. For that reason, Unruly doesn’t have a problem with helping their models with shooting content and detailing their posting schedule. With the help of Unruly, OnlyFans models gain the opportunity to partner with brands, such as, but not limited to, FashionNova. This results in women being confident in their work, and overall, feel a sense of financial stability.”
Cash Grabs, Releasing Nudes, and Other Scammy Tactics
But a former Unruly client, known as Jane Doe, would argue that female empowerment, building confidence, and financial stability are the furthest things from the Unruly message.
She’s intent on proving it too, which is why the 21 year old filed a lawsuit against both Unruly and Behave in Los Angeles through her attorney Robert Tauler. Tauler says “these guys are basically pimps,” and he’s not exactly exaggerating.
Tauler’s client, Jane Doe, alleges in her suit that the company engages in “sketchy business practices and a ruthless cash-grab attitude.”
Doe says that the agency team posted an inappropriate video of her to the public section of her OnlyFans account without her permission. Additionally, they posted a nude photo of her under the NSFW (not safe for work) tag under the heading of another model’s page. As if that wasn’t enough, the company rerouted the payment for those materials to their own bank account instead of hers. After a three-month-period, Doe says that she tried to leave the agency and was threatened with “financial ruin” by them if she did.
Jane Doe says that she tried to leave the agency and was threatened with “financial ruin” by them if she did.
Upon further investigation, the dealings of the agency are anything but empowering to its clients. The Daily Beast explains that the bulk of the agency’s traffic and business is built on OnlyFans, which they manage through “scout[ing] out influencers who are already on the platform or encourage those who are not to start posting content there once signed to the agency.”
The agency’s tactics first began to concern Doe when she was signing on, with the guidance of a so-called talent manager. OnlyFans takes 20% of a user’s earnings, and Unruly was asking for an additional 25% fee. Tauler, Doe’s attorney, asserts that the agency was exploitative from the beginning, especially because Doe is not a native English speaker, and that the company included contradictory, peculiar, and unlawful provisions in their contract.
Doe says the damage was essentially done once she signed the contract. The company took control of all of her content, social media presence, posting schedule, and more, and took away any feeling of exclusivity to her content. It was always about the money for them, and because Doe was already a high earner before signing with the agency, they took her presence and ran with it. She never had access to her profits or even knew the amount she was making, and the last straw was the video of her they posted publicly without her knowledge. Other clients similarly report countless, repeated instances of unprofessionalism and cash-grabbing mindset from the managers at Unruly.
A Sign of the Times
Any young woman could have been Jane Doe. Lured by the promise of fame and fortune, she only found out after the fact that Unruly-Behave had anything but her best interests at heart. She was promised LA parties, brand partnerships, and a future career filled with glamour and recognition. It’s what many young girls dream of, and unfortunately, for the majority of Unruly’s clients, it’s been nothing but a nightmare.
If we look at the agency as part of a pantheon in what it takes to become recognized and “famous” in our culture, there’s really only one thing that stands out. The agency’s reliance on OnlyFans is what undeniably built their business – but they only created that through the objectification and unapologetic exploitation of their clients.
Unruly’s tactics prove that social media and predatory tactics, especially when intertwined with pornography, go hand in hand.
While we should feel sympathy for Jane Doe and for all the other clients victimized by these tactics, it’s also hard to ignore the cautionary tale these women have now unfortunately become. While OnlyFans prides itself on supposedly empowering its users through the do-it-yourself aspect of its business, this case proves that OnlyFans, in reality, is not really so distinct from other porn sites as they’d have us believe. They were utilized by the agency to exploit and prey upon young girls (with the promise of becoming famous) like any other story of a woman being unwillingly trapped into participating in porn.
This should be a turning point for us, especially in how we view social media and its reliance on exploitative content. The agency’s management tactics prove that social media and predatory tactics, especially when intertwined with pornography, go hand in hand, coexisting better than any average Instagram user probably thought previously.
It’s natural for little girls and young women to dream of making it big or becoming famous, but as an inexperienced influencer or model, the odds don’t always work in their favor.
Jane Doe is a 21 year old with her entire future ahead of her. Because of Unruly, because of Instagram and OnlyFans and the false, hollow promises of “brand deals” and fame, she very nearly had that future taken away from her.
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