#BootyforBiden: A Social Media Influencer May Have Violated Election Laws

Stacy Okoro

The stakes of the upcoming 2020 election are undoubtedly high, and have many on edge for a variety of reasons. A foreseeable result has been that politicians, celebrities, influencers, and other public figures have amplified their voices on a variety of platforms to encourage people, and especially young people, to vote. The precarious combination of COVID lockdowns, social media, and the rise of the promoting of OnlyFans led one YouTube influencer, Tana Mongeau, to offer nudes to those OnlyFans subscribers who were able to prove that they voted for Joe Biden[1]. In her now deleted tweet, Mongeau tweeted “if u send me proof u voted for Biden I’ll send you a nude for free #bootyforbiden,”[2] and linked her OnlyFans account to her 2.4 million Twitter followers.


OnlyFans is a platform where subscribers pay models and social media influencers a fee, generally $5 to $20 a month, to view a feed of content. Most, but not all, of the content on the platform tends to be of sexually suggestive or explicit imagery. Upon subscribing, individuals can also direct message and “tip” to get pictures or videos created on demand, according to their sexual tastes.[3] Due to COVID lockdowns, there has been a rise in both content creators and subscribers joining the platform, and content creators often promote and advertise their OnlyFans account on other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.[4]

While this is certainly not the first time a prominent public figure has used nudity as a way to advocate for a cause[5] or bring attention to voting[6], it might be the first time that this kind of exchange possibly implicated election laws. What Mongeau did may have been considered vote buying—the exchange of money or goods for a voter’s support—which is a felony punishable by a fine and up to two years behind bars.[7] With the goal of preventing corruption in public elections, 18 U.S.C. §567, makes it a felony offense for an individual to make or offer to make an expenditure to any person, “either to vote or withhold his vote, or to vote for or against any candidate.”[8] It is also possible that Mongeau may have encouraged some really enthusiastic individuals to falsely register to vote and/or vote illegally, which would be subject to punishment under 52 USC §10307(c), which prohibits a person from knowingly or willfully “encouraging [another person’s] registration to vote or illegal voting.” Although, as the FBI Director, Christopher Wray, notes, there has not been evidence of widespread voter fraud in any major election[9] and there has been extensive research to reveal that voter fraud is extremely rare.[10] And on the state level, it is possible that because Mongeau asked fans for proof of their vote for Biden, she encouraged ballot selfies, which are illegal in several states.[11] 

Mongeau claims that she got tens of thousands of messages from people claiming to have willingly voted for Joe Biden.[12] She later clarified in tweets and in an Instagram post that it was not her intention to influence people’s votes or possibly violate some election laws.

To me, the motive behind her action seemed more in line with trying to get young people to vote, but perhaps she should have known (or at least consulted with her media manager or attorney) that this was a precarious way to boost her content and affect civic engagement, especially since this is a highly anticipated and supervised election.



[1] https://www.papermag.com/tana-mongeau-joe-biden-2648106172.html?rebelltitem=10#rebelltitem10

[2] https://www.tmz.com/2020/10/04/tana-mongeau-loses-youtube-verification-vote-joe-biden-nudes/

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/09/style/onlyfans-porn-stars.html

[4] https://www.huffpost.com/entry/coronavirus-onlyfans-unemployment-coronavirus_n_5e8f88a3c5b6d641a6bbfe65?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAABRNsro3jmW_ZDKm1IzEGkLeS5rHJ-VSiBUuCE0rG5y0A3rrSeAPDnUYvD-nHS8uDT0qlaK5vvac5oE5QM-XhrNV-LjVEDVlCFQUy15yWM96Ju3YO7nQ8jIi5THi6DG2f_Vt7vAD6i0FONjOi4Hw9sizL1SGV9brKYvQWBAelhXr

[5] https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2020/1/8/21056863/australia-fires-nudes-charity-porn

[6] Several celebrities recently got naked to encourage people in Pennsylvania to vote in the 2020 election. https://www.pennlive.com/elections/2020/10/celebrities-appear-in-the-nude-in-ads-explaining-the-naked-ballot-issue-in-pa-and-other-states.html

[7] 18 U.S.C. §567

[8] U.S. v. Foote, 42 F.Supp. 717, (D.C.Del. Jan. 16, 1942).

[9] https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/24/fbi-has-not-seen-evidence-of-widespread-voter-fraud-director-wray-tells-senators.html

[10] https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/debunking-voter-fraud-myth. See also https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/resources-voter-fraud-claims.

[11] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/16/style/ballot-selfie.html

[12] https://www.papermag.com/tana-mongeau-joe-biden-2648106172.html?rebelltitem=10#rebelltitem10