When adult entertainers initially filed a lawsuit alleging that OnlyFans bribed Meta to block competitors on Instagram by flagging their content as terrorism, it was not clear who at Meta was being accused of accepting bribes.
That changed this week when lawyers for OnlyFans’ owner Fenix International Limited accidentally filed a court document that mistakenly failed to redact the names of Meta employees allegedly connected to the global conspiracy. Because of the misstep, it has been revealed that adult entertainers have specifically accused two Meta executives of taking bribes. The employees are Nick Clegg (Meta’s vice president of global policy), Nicola Mendelsohn (vice president of the global business team), and Cristian Perrella (whom Yahoo Finance reported is Meta’s European safety director).
According to the errant court filing—which was OnlyFans’ second attempt to push the court to dismiss the lawsuit—lawyers for plaintiffs suing Meta and OnlyFans received an email with a document titled “Follow the Money” through a confidential tip line. The document allegedly shows that Fenix wired money to Clegg, Mendelsohn, and Perrella, suggesting that these wire transfers provided evidence that the Meta employees accepted bribes.
Fenix and OnlyFans did not immediately respond to Ars’ requests for comment, but their lawyers argued in their motion to dismiss that the plaintiffs hid the identity of the tipster. Because of that, Fenix suggested that the court cannot verify the authenticity of the “Follow the Money” document. “Without the identity of the person who sent the email, it is impossible to assess the believability of the contents of the email,” their motion to dismiss reads.
Meta has scrutinized the email, too, noting supposed inconsistencies in the plaintiffs’ claims, including that Clegg started at Meta after the OnlyFans bribery conspiracy allegedly started. In the court filing, Fenix also pointed out that plaintiffs have accused Perrella, but in their complaint, plaintiffs say that wire transfers allegedly sent to Perrella were sent to someone with a similar name at “Cristian Peralta Trust.” Meta told Ars that because plaintiffs haven’t produced plausible evidence that the bribery occurred, the tech company is still joining OnlyFans in asking the court to dismiss the claims.
“Plaintiffs haven’t identified a shred of evidence, and these allegations have been previously dismissed in federal court,” a Meta spokesperson told Ars, suggesting that news reports should not take the lawsuit seriously. “Reporting out these claims that lack any evidence is irresponsible.”
Gizmodo broke the story yesterday on Meta execs being named in the lawsuit. After reviewing court documents and transcripts, Gizmodo’s Dell Cameron concluded that Meta’s “lawyers are less focused on proving the allegations false than arguing, even if true, that Meta would still be immune.” Cameron cited a prior Meta motion that seemed to downplay the company’s involvement, suggesting that even if Clegg, Mendelsohn, and Perrella were bribed, all that plaintiffs are alleging happened is that “high-ranking” Meta employees “went rogue” and then covered their tracks so that “Meta could not learn of their aberrant behavior.”
OnlyFans similarly argued that the allegations are “meritless,” which, Cameron noted, “is not to say untrue.” From a September 8 court transcript, Cameron also highlighted an exchange in court between federal judge William Alsup and an OnlyFans attorney. Alsup asked the attorney if OnlyFans denied the bribery ever happened. The attorney demurred and said, “We will,” assuring Alsup that “we’ve certainly asked our clients.”
In the Fenix motion to dismiss filed this week, OnlyFans’ lawyers claimed that adult entertainers suing still had not shown any real evidence. Instead, OnlyFans claimed that plaintiffs are improperly requesting the court to grant discovery without having a factual basis to proceed with the lawsuit.
Fenix also seemed to suggest that these non-OnlyFans adult entertainers—who claim damages because the alleged bribery led to alleged loss of income that “destroyed” the livelihoods of some—perhaps simply lost income because of “their failure to use a more successful platform,” as they watched OnlyFans’ popularity grow.
Plaintiffs are due to respond to Fenix’s motion to dismiss by November 1.
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