On Sunday night, McDonald’s announced that all locations in the UK and Ireland would be closed by 7PM the following day. According to a press statement from the global fast food chain, the measure is intended to protect the “wellbeing and safety of our employees, as well as the best interests of our customers.”
However, as many McDonald’s workers in the UK are employed on contracts with flexible hours – meaning that they aren't guaranteed work every week – it looks unlikely that they will receive sick pay. Similarly, in the US, around 517,000 McDonald’s workers face being laid off without sick pay. That's a worrying number of people stuck without an income stream during the biggest health crisis of recent decades.
But fret not, McDonald's workers, an LA-based adult social media site is here to help. IsMyGirl.com, which lets it’s users upload and monetise their own pornographic content, has announced that it is offering ex-McDonald's staff the chance to earn big money with photos and videos. A press release sent by the company last week reads: “In an effort to help McDonald’s employees, and to make sure they can continue to provide for themselves and their families, we want to help provide them with a legitimate option. IsMyGirl has offered all McDonalds workers an exclusive offer to earn 90 percent of their proceeds (after credit card processing).”
According to IsMyGirl, users have the potential to earn over $100,000 a year by asking subscribers to pay $10 per month to see anything from a hot selfie to more X-rated and personalised content. Positing itself as more than a webcamming site, IsMyGirl also lets fans pay to unlock "exclusive content", such as bonus videos or fully nude photos**.**
Pivoting to sex work is fine, but the promise of big money and plenty of adoring fans is no substitute for robust workers' rights legislation. I caught up with IsMyGirl founder Evan Seinfeld over the phone to ask why adult entertainment is the solution for McDonald's staff who find themselves out of work during a global pandemic and not, y'know, statutory sick pay. Late capitalism, baby!
VICE: Hi Evan! Is getting McDonald’s workers to pivot to camming just a weird PR stunt?
Evan Seinfeld: It seems like a tongue-in-cheek PR stunt and that’s not how we mean it at all. McDonald’s workers were just the first ones to be announced, but we give people a way to make money. Of course, it’s up to them to make good content and to know how to engage with their fans. We have great stories from women who were living out of their cars who are making $10,000 a month.
So, putting a call-out to McDonald's workers isn't just a way to make money out of a bad situation?
I come from the music business, I’ve been an actor on television and I was in an HBO series for many years. But I discovered my business acumen in the adult business. The entertainment business exists in a microcosm, where the company owners can make fast decisions, which is why adult entertainment normally leads the way with the adoption of technology. We’re the first ones to have free videos or pay-per-minute live streaming. Ironically, when I started this company it was like, “This is a great business idea. We can make money and indirectly, give back to the communities and the models who helped us get here.” We didn't realise until it started that these people are really people, and they have a story. Now we have thousands and thousands of success stories of single mums or young women who are supporting their sick parents.
How did the idea to get the word out to McDonald's workers come about?
We heard that over 500,000 employees were at risk of being laid off at McDonald's. We didn’t think, "Hey, people should go ahead and start to enter the adult industry and do porn", but when you look at humans, we’re animals. Our basic animal instincts proves again and again that people are interested in sex and sexuality. IsMyGirl has really taken off during this crisis.
So, the Coronavirus pandemic has caused a spike in earnings for the models?
A big spike! The revenue is way up and the model sign-ups are pouring in. We had something like 350 new models sign up just yesterday, which is a lot. A normal day is 100 to 200, so that’s almost triple from a slow day. On the men’s site, we’re seeing a slight increase in sign-ups but we’re seeing a huge increase in earnings. Models are figuring out how to make $500 to $1,000 in a day. I’m expecting our models to be earning loads. It’s pretty incredible, in the new gig economy, this idea that people can be supported by their fans and their followers.
OK. So, let’s say that I’ve just been laid off at McDonald's with no experience of camming or creating adult content. How am I going to make enough to survive?
Even if you’re a micro-celebrity – a girl who has 600 Instagram followers and works at McDonald’s – guys at work are like, “Have you guys seen Mary’s Instagram? She’s really cute.” She would definitely get subscribers who want to view her exclusive content. And you know, it isn’t all nudity, some of our top performers haven’t even shown a nipple.
Wouldn’t it be even better if everyone was offered statutory sick pay instead?
Well, during a pandemic, this is one of the only viable ways for people to make money from home.
OK. Thanks Evan!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.