Belle Delphine in pink hair next to a screenshot of paypal
Bell Delphine sold more than $90,000 worth of jars of her bathwater but didn't get the money from PayPal until this week.Belle Delphine
  • Adult content creator Belle Delphine did a viral stunt in 2019 where she sold jars of her bathwater.
  • She made about $90,000, but PayPal froze her account and kept the money as a fine for each sale.
  • Five years later, PayPal returned her money after Business Insider asked the company about it.

In 2019, adult creator Belle Delphine had grown a massive following on Instagram (she would later be banned from the platform) as a cosplayer and model. Posing in a pink wig and cat ears, she had a knack for lightly trolling her extremely online fans. When she announced she was going to sell jars of her "gamergirl bathwater" for $30 apiece, the stunt went viral, and she sold hundreds of jars within three days.

But five years after the stunt, Delphine announced that PayPal, which she used to process the $30 payments, froze her account and kept the $90,000 she had made from the bathwater jars.

"I knew it would be a better news story to say that I made 'sOoOo much money' from selling my bathwater so I just kept this secret," Delphine wrote on X. "Ultimately I'm still glad I did it since it was a really funny time on the internet when it happened."

Don't worry — this story has a happy ending. After Delphine tweeted about her years-old problems with PayPal, and several media outlets (including Business Insider) contacted PayPal to ask about the situation, the $90,000 has been returned to Delphine as of this week.

PayPal's policy on adult and sexual content permits sales of physical goods like DVDs or magazines (or bathwater jars), but only for transactions within the US. Delphine is based in the UK.

But PayPal went beyond just shutting down her account. At the time, PayPal's policy allowed it to issue a fine of $2,500 for each violation of its rules. Each jar of bathwater Delphine sold counted as a violation.

A PayPal spokesperson said they could not comment on individual accounts but told Business Insider that PayPal dropped its policy on the $2,500 fines about a year ago.

It seems that because of that rule change, PayPal decided to release Delphine's funds and return the money to her. But that didn't happen automatically — it was only once Delphine, who has 2 million followers on X, posted about the situation earlier this month and the tweet went viral.

"If I didn't have any [social media] following, they wouldn't have given my money back," Delphine contended to Business Insider. "Which is so shitty because what are all the normal non-social media users meant to do in this situation? I followed all the normal protocols and was roadblocked and gave up."

Adult content creators have struggled for years with payment processors. In 2020, Mastercard and Visa cut ties with Pornhub over concerns about child sexual exploitation material on the site. Other processors similarly have been skittish about the risk of unlawful material; even a crypto-based adult content processor called SpankPay shut down after its banking partner cut ties.

"The Twitter post I made about it had SO many comments of people saying PayPal did the exact same thing to them," Delphine said. (BI couldn't verify the claims of the commenters, and PayPal wouldn't comment on individual accounts.) Still, Delphine said, "It was shocking, to be honest."

Read the original article on Business Insider