Hollyoaks bosses have confirmed Sarah Jayne Dunn will be departing the soap, saying they “respect her choice” to continue to produce content on OnlyFans.
The actress, 40, rose to fame playing Mandy Richardson on the Channel 4 soap from 1996 until 2011 and returned to the role in 2017.
In an Instagram post on October 22, the actress said: “This is a decision I’ve thought long and hard about, not one I’ve taken lightly or on a whim, it’s about taking back control, about empowerment and confidence and having full power over my choices.
“I’ll undoubtedly be judged, some might find it shocking, but I’m simply moving my sexier, racier images to another platform, I’m not sure what’s shocking about it, most likely a few trolls will crawl out from under their rocks, but I get that when I post these images on here anyway, it’s nothing I haven’t heard before, unfortunately they’ll always be haters and people that want a reason to knock you down, I won’t let them, this is about rising above and owning it.”
OnlyFans is an online adult subscription service where those who post content earn money from “fans” who sign up to see their content, with creators receiving 80% commission on their earnings, while the remaining 20% goes to the London-based firm.
Hollyoaks said in a statement that it “is a youth-facing drama with many young viewers who follow our cast very closely, both in the soap and outside of it”.
The statement added: “We take our responsibility to our young audience very seriously and therefore the show does not allow any Hollyoaks cast members to be active on certain 18+ websites.
“We had hoped we could reach a resolution with Sarah that would allow her to remain in her role as Mandy, but we respect her choice to continue to produce content on OnlyFans.
“In the past four years since her return to the show her legacy character has been an integral part of some our most important storylines and we will be very sad to see her go.”
OnlyFans was founded in 2016 by British entrepreneur Tim Stokely and its official website says the platform has “1,500,000+ content creators” and it has paid out at least £3.7 billion “annually to creators”.
Earlier this year it sparked a backlash when it announced plans to ban sexually explicit photographs and videos on its platform, saying the move was down to pressure from financial partners.
Many sex workers, who rely on the service for their income, criticised the move, saying explicit content was instrumental in making the site a success and they expressed concern the change would jeopardise their livelihoods.
However, the platform later U-turned on the decision, and a statement on August 25 said: “Thank-you to everyone for making your voices heard.
“We have secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community and have suspended the planned October 1 policy change.
“OnlyFans stands for inclusion and we will continue to provide a home for all creators.”
Representatives for Dunn have been contacted for comment.