A Linguistic View of a Twitter Apology


  • MacKenzie Croley Xavier University




OnlyFans, Twitter, Twitter apologies, online sex work, connotation, speech acts


This study examines a Twitter apology posted by Bella Thorne after an OnlyFans scandal of August 2020. This study broke down the language used in multiple tweets to examine the types of phrases being used, the connotation of the words used, and its overall success in serving as an apology. While the apology tweeted by Thorne has some qualities of a standard apology, the order of these conventions did not serve her apology well. Thorne also fails to show that she understands the online sex work community and reinforces a stigma of online sex work both in her actions and in the words of her apology. This study briefly highlights the importance of move structures for being successful in its genre, especially online.


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References or Bibliography

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Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “And while you’re here, SUPPORT SEX WORKERS. If you watch porn, make it ethical porn that the creators get paid for. Free porn is usually just stolen content posted without consent. Don’t support that just bc it’s free. Entertainers deserve to be paid for our work.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299477241705803776

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “Bella Thorne is one of these people. Bella Thorne does not care if sex workers can make money, if they can survive, if they can get respect for their work. She thought it would be fun to wade into our life carelessly and in doing hurt our ability to provide for ourselves.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299472697827536897

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “If you don’t understand why every sex worker hates Bella Thorne’s stinky guts and how she endangered the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of creators, let me explain it for you! First, Bella Thorne made an OF & made $1m in her first day. This isn’t the bad part.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299467098100396032

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “Is it worth it to you to sell videos of yourself sucking dick for a maximum of $32? Can you make a living at it? What if you used to sell them for $150 or $200, can you survive a paycut like that? Could YOU at YOUR job survive a sudden 85% paycut & monthly payday?” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299471249173749760

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “Now about the $50 PPV and $100 tip cap. I’ve seen people who are not sex workers saying this seems “reasonable” bc you are ignorant morons talking on something you don’t understand. Sex workers don’t get paid hourly. You make larger amounts inconsistently.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299469927934435328

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “Now a lot of people fundamentally do not care about this predicament bc you don’t care about the lives and livelihoods of sex workers. And yet you still want to see porn, you just don’t believe the people who create it deserve to survive. You’re a bad person and fuck you.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299472289977700352

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “People can make different kinds of content as sex workers. I make a lot less explicit content than some of my friends just bc I have my own comfort level I stick to. I don’t care if people make OnlyFans and post lingerie pics only. But you don’t scam & you don’t feel superior.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299473862577455104

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “People have bills to pay. Kids to feed. Many people, including content creators and sex workers, live paycheck to paycheck. How are they going to pay their bills this month? How are they going to feed themselves and their families? This is REAL HARM.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299469499121377280

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “PPV messages are frequently used by sex workers to sell more explicit content. Let’s say you’re selling a video of you sucking your boyfriend’s dick. If you sell that for $50, OF keeps 20%, so you get $40. BUT you have to pay taxes on that. Maybe you get $30-32.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299470711887544320

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “Previously, the funds you made on OF were only pending for a week, so most creators got paid at least once a week. Imagine suddenly going from a weekly paycheck to a monthly paycheck. That’s what’s happening to 450,000 content creators.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299469023453745153

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “She didn’t think about us as real people or about sex work as a real job. She SCAMMED people, which leads to the spread of a dangerous and unfair stereotype that sex workers are scammers even though every content creator I know works their ass off & cares about providing value.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299473155082186753

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “So suddenly a fuck ton of people ask for a charge back and this causes problems for OnlyFans bc they have processing costs, so people suddenly requesting millions in chargebacks makes them lose a lot of money.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299468141580283904

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “Then, she sent out a $200 PPV message that she claimed was a nude photo but when subscribers paid to open it, they found it was a lingerie photo. Seeing as she SCAMMED them, they wanted their money back and OF has a policy that you get your money back if you get scammed.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299467614909902849

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “There has been a huge backlash and OF might be backtracking on some of these policies. It’s hard to know bc they frequently dismiss sex workers’ concerns and many SWers already have a hard time getting their money from OF. But the outrage might help so join us & get pissed off.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299476697712963584

Heidewalk, Erika (@erikaheidewald). 2020. “To be able to pay all those people back and prevent such a massive chargeback problem in the future, OnlyFans changes their policies so now the maximum price for a PPV message is $50, maximum tip someone can send is $100, and all the money you make on OF is pending for 30 days.” Twitter, Aug 28, 2020. https://twitter.com/erikaheidewald/status/1299468525287821314

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Thorne, Bella (@bellathorne). 2020. “behind anything sex related. I wrote and directed a porn against the high brows of my peers and managers because I WANTED to help with the stigma behind sex.” Twitter, Aug 29, 2020. https://twitter.com/bellathorne/status/1299835831419416577

Thorne, Bella (@bellathorne). 2020. “...I am a mainstream face and when you have a voice, a platform, you try to use you in helping others and advocate for something bigger than yourself. Again in this process I hurt you and for that I’m truly sorry.” Twitter, Aug 29, 2020. https://twitter.com/bellathorne/status/1299836063217721345

Thorne, Bella (@bellathorne). 2020. “I wanted to bring attention to the site, the more people on the site the more likely of a chance to normalize the stigmas, And in trying to do this I hurt you. I have risked my career a few times to remove the stigma behind sex work, porn, and the natural hatred people spew...” Twitter, Aug 29, 2020. https://twitter.com/bellathorne/status/1299835673541656576

Thorne, Bella (@bellathorne). 2020. “Ps. I’m meeting with only fans about the new restrictions to find out why!!! This is fucked up and I’m sorry comment any ideas or concerns you want brought up to OF!! and send me your links and a pic so I can promote you guys” Twitter, Aug 29, 2020. https://twitter.com/bellathorne/status/1299836417154015232

Thorne, Bella (@bellathorne). 2020. “PT1 Remove the stigma behind sex, sex work, and the negativity that surrounds the word SEX itself by bringing a mainstream face to it that’s what I was trying to do, to help bring more faces to the site to create more revenue for content creators on the site.” Twitter, Aug 29, 2020. https://twitter.com/bellathorne/status/1299835299132891136

Twitter. 2020. “About Twitter.” Twitter. https://about.twitter.com



How to Cite

Croley, M. (2021). A Linguistic View of a Twitter Apology. Journal of Student Research, 10(2). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsr.v10i2.1230



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