‘The Community Is Scrambling:’ Patreon Banned a Ton of 'Adult Baby/Diaper Lover' Furries

Patreon told creators that their accounts were banned for sexualizing minors, which members of the AB/DL community say is unfair and untrue — and throws many of them into real financial hardship.
‘The Community Is Scrambling:’ Patreon Banned a Ton of 'Adult Baby/Diaper Lover' Furries
The Patreon logo in a diaper. Collage by 404 Media

Patreon creators say they’re enduring yet another purge of a niche group—and this time, it’s the “adult baby/diaper lover” community that’s bearing the brunt of the bans. 

Adult baby/diaper lover content, or ABDL, is a massive genre that encompasses many things, including wearing diapers in real life, age-play roleplaying online or in person with partners, or making web comics, characters and illustrations; the content and participation can be sexual or non-sexual, but is not about sexualizing actual or fictional minors. 

Patreon allows “adult themes,” but has a long history of banning adult content creators in confusing and obtuse ways. In this wave of bans, the AB/DL community seems to be one of the hardest hit—or at least, the most vocally frustrated.

The bans mostly took place last week, in quick succession: One creator told me that “hundreds” of creators were banned “within the space of an hour.” Most banned creators received the same email from Patreon, he said: “Patreon has zero tolerance for the sexualization of children or teenagers. Because we do not allow this type of activity on Patreon, my team and I removed your creator page.” 

“When I responded to explain that my work contained no minors and was not about minors, I received a second copy-pasted email saying the same thing, as well as this hilarious claim: ‘Please note that our team takes the removal of pages very seriously and we only commit to this action after a thorough review process.’” he said. 

(Several of the creators I talked to for this story asked not to be identified, even with their online personas. They feared either further bans or harassment from people outside of the community.)

"Accounts with non-sexualized baby animal cartoons alone would not be a violation of our policies and would not merit a removal,” a Patreon spokesperson told me when I asked about the bans. “We have a zero-tolerance policy for content that sexualizes minors, including any type of works featuring sexualized minor age play.” Patreon’s policy does allow for adult diaper content related to any medical or disability condition.  

Fang, a furry AB/DL creator who identifies as asexual, told me that one of the biggest misconceptions about AB/DL fandom is that it’s all about sex. “I won't tell you that I speak for everyone, and that nobody experiences any sexual attraction towards diapers and ageplay, but I feel that the core of ABDL is to try and return to a time where you felt safe and happy. Some people use it to cope with childhood trauma, or trying to get a second chance at a childhood they never had.”

“People see the aesthetics of diapers, bottles, pacifiers, etc and assume the worst, making the exact same mistake that Patreon did,” Rusty, the administrator for CubHub, a micro-blogging service for AB/DL furries that runs on a fork of Mastodon, told me. “Being an AB is more about finding comfort in a soft, safer, vulnerably sincere headspace, oftentimes with caretakers who reinforce that safety and security the headspace brings. Meanwhile, diaper lovers are simply people who enjoy wearing diapers.” Not every DL who wears diapers is an AB, and not every AB enjoys wearing diapers. Not all AB/DL’s are furries, either (although many of those caught in this wave of bans were furries). Community members told me that some participate to overcome shame associated with medical incontinence, while others just like how diapers feel. There are as many reasons to be into AB/DL as there are people participating. 

“The obvious misconception is that ABDL and ageplay are frequently (and wrongly) conflated with pedophilia and childhood sexual abuse,” another banned creator, Fox, told me. “The ABDL community certainly has its share of predators and bad actors—we are (unfortunately) no different from any other community in that respect.  But there is a frequent assumption that because we participate in roleplay with infantilist themes, we must have a sexual interest in children. This simply isn't true.” 

The bans add a layer of injury to longstanding insult for AB/DL content creators and consumers, by implying that they’re sexualizing minors when that’s not the case. “There is absolutely no room in our community for sexualizing minors, and yet the most common misunderstanding is the exact one that Patreon had,” Rusty said. He has been part of the AB/DL community for 10 years, he told me, but he started CubHub for the furry AB/DL fandom last year. CubHub was funded by a Patreon account that members set up in February.

“Fortunately, our Patreon was running a surplus and we opted to use that money to pre-pay for the server,” Rusty said. CubHub relies on community donations and Patreon earnings to pay for server and hosting costs. “The impact was much more detrimental to our users, many of whom relied on Patreon for their livelihood. Patreon had been invaluable for members of the community who were able to make a living creating what they loved for a community who loved to see their creations.”

Fox started using Patreon in 2015 and did commissions of “cute pictures where people could insert their own characters into predesigned poses,” known as “your character here” or YCH commissions, they told me. “The work that I put on Patreon was never sexual or even suggestive in nature; there was never anything in it more risqué than what you'd see in an old Bugs Bunny cartoon,” they said.

He told me he also received the email from Patreon—"Patreon has zero tolerance for the sexualization of children or teenagers. Because we do not allow this type of activity on Patreon, my team and I removed your creator page."—and was informed that he could not appeal the decision. Patreon also removed him from the site entirely, not just his creator page, so his subscriptions to other creators were also cut off. “Since I've never drawn anything sexual or suggestive, you can likely imagine my confusion at this,” he said. “I reached out to Patreon's Trust & Safety team and asked them to tell me which content I posted that violated this rule, and I never received a response.” 

“There are other artists for whom I know AB/DL is a coping mechanism—who've survived childhood sexual trauma themselves—and I cannot even begin to imagine how that must have made them feel."

Another AB/DL creator told me his account was banned in this purge even though Patreon told him in 2021, after the platform asked him to remove some adult step-sibling content, that his account was within the guidelines. “Once those elements were removed, I was fully approved and all my other content—which runs the gamut from sweet and romantic to pure erotica with heavy AB/DL themes—was given the green light,” he said. “I've lost over a thousand dollars per month in income, which was a substantial part of my income, and necessary for me to pay my bills. Attempts to migrate to another platform have so far not gotten above double digits in income.” He has no way of contacting his old subscribers to tell them where to find him next, he said, because Patreon deleted his account without warning and he can no longer access that data.  

“The community is scrambling,” he said. “I at least have some other income and a little bit in savings, but many creators were relying on their Patreon income as their sole source of revenue to pay all their bills.” 

Another screenshot I viewed from Patreon to a AB/DL creator seven months ago said “ABDL content is fine as long as our pornography policies aren’t breached.”

As is often the case with mass platform actions against creators, who is and isn’t being removed from Patreon is inconsistent and confusing for creators. “When I woke up to this the other morning I got dragged into full panic attack mode and checked my email and Patreon account religiously,” Fang, a Patreon creator who wasn’t banned despite making content similar to what lots of other banned creators make—cute baby furries, dressed in diapers and baby clothing—told me. “As I'm writing this, the bans aren't over. Several other creators who we thought were safe have gotten hit. We don't know where it will end or how to protect ourselves.” 

Patreon revenue pays his rent, Fang said, and if it were to be cut off suddenly, he wouldn’t know what would happen to his wife and family who depend on his income. “Being a creator is my job, and right now it feels like I could get fired for walking into work wearing the wrong color shirt one day.” 

The mainstream misunderstanding and disgust at furry AB/DL content creators doesn’t help their situation, but Fox told me that the tight-knit nature of the fandom has been “tremendous and encouraging.” They, like many others, set up a new account on Patreon competitor SubscribeStar, and are attempting to rebuild a subscriber base there. 

“The biggest impact to me has been a psychological one; getting an email [from Patreon] in my inbox accusing me of sexualizing minors—something I have never done nor would ever condone from anyone else—was extremely hurtful,”  Fox said. “There are other artists for whom I know ABDL is a coping mechanism—who've survived childhood sexual trauma themselves—and I cannot even begin to imagine how that must have made them feel. I shudder at the thought of that.”