U.S. Rep. George Santos claimed he had never heard of OnlyFans in an interview with Fox Business Network host Kennedy in March 2023, when an investigation found just months prior he had used campaign funds to make purchases on the platform.
In mid-November 2023, the U.S. House Committee on Ethics released a long-awaited report on the alleged misappropriation of campaign funds by Republican Rep. George Santos of New York, who had also been federally indicted for financial fraud and identity theft the previous month. The committee's report found that in October 2022, Santos had deposited campaign funds into his personal account and had spent the money on designer goods, makeup, and “smaller purchases at OnlyFans.” OnlyFans is best known as an online platform used by sex workers to sell explicit photos and videos to subscribers.
Around the same time that the committee's report was released, social media users recirculated an old interview in which Santos allegedly claimed he had never heard of OnlyFans until a few weeks before the interview took place.
Omg. Here’s George Santos in an interview in March laughing that he “just discovered what Only Fans is three weeks ago.”
His bank records show he used campaign funds on OnlyFans four months earlier. pic.twitter.com/TDjAYz922c
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) November 16, 2023
Santos did make that claim, in an interview on Fox Business News in March 2023, months after the expenditures he made on OnlyFans, according to the committee's report.
The program's host, known mononymously as Kennedy, also shared a clip of the interview on March 29, 2023:
— Kennedy (@KennedyNation) March 30, 2023
Kennedy asked Santos at the 3:54 mark: “Is it true that you have an OnlyFans page and you can peel a banana with your feet?”
Santos replied, “I don’t have one. [...] I just discovered what OnlyFans was about three weeks ago when it was brought up in a discussion in my office. [...] I was oblivious to the whole concept.”
“You just can’t tell the truth,” she said in response while laughing.
However, the November 2023 report released by the House Ethics Committee contradicts his claim. It noted that Santos received money through RedStone Strategies LLC, a Florida-based company formed in 2021, hired by Santos’ campaign. The report further noted that in October 2022, RedStone’s bank account “received a $25,000 wire from an account affiliated with Contributor 2.” Soon after, $25,000 was wired to Santos’ personal account from Redstone. A similar transfer was repeated a few days later, until Santos had $50,000 in his personal bank account. From there “the funds were used to, among other things: pay down personal credit card bills and other debt; make a $4,127.80 purchase at Hermes; and for smaller purchases at OnlyFans; Sephora; and for meals and for parking,” according the report.
Again, these purchases took place months before he denied knowing about OnlyFans in the Fox Business Network interview.
After the ethics report was released, Santos announced on X he would not be seeking reelection once his term was up. “It is a disgusting politicized smear that shows the depths of how low our federal government has sunk," Santos wrote, referring to the report. "Everyone who participated in this grave miscarriage of Justice should all be ashamed of themselves.” He added, “I will however NOT be seeking re-election for a second term in 2024 as my family deserves better than to be under the gun from the press all the time.”
On Nov. 17, 2023, the Republican chairperson of the House Ethics Committee introduced a resolution to expel Santos, with a vote potentially taking place after Thanksgiving.
Santos had also admitted to lying about much of his life story to voters before winning his House seat in 2022. We have covered some of those reported fabrications here at Snopes, including details of his education and work history.
Cohn, Peter. “Ethics Chairman to Seek Santos’ Expulsion after Report Finds New Violations; Santos Says He Won’t Seek Reelection.” Roll Call, 16 Nov. 2023, https://rollcall.com/2023/11/16/ethics-chairman-says-he-will-seek-santos-expulsion/. Accessed 17 Nov. 2023.
Fandos, Nicholas. “How Santos Spent Donors’ Money: Ferragamo, OnlyFans and Botox.” The New York Times, 16 Nov. 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/16/nyregion/santos-botox-ferragamo-expenses.html. Accessed 17 Nov. 2023.
Fandos, Nicholas, et al. “House Ethics Chair Moves to Expel George Santos.” The New York Times, 17 Nov. 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/17/nyregion/santos-expel-house-election.html. Accessed 17 Nov. 2023
“Fox Host Asks George Santos If He Has an OnlyFans Account.” Mediaite, 30 Mar. 2023, https://www.mediaite.com/tv/fox-host-asks-george-santos-if-he-has-an-onlyfans-account/. Accessed 17 Nov. 2023.
Ibrahim, Nur. “Was Rep. George Santos a Drag Queen in Brazil?” Snopes, 19 Jan. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/news/2023/01/19/george-santos-drag-queen-brazil/. Accessed 17 Nov. 2023.
In the Matter of Allegations Relating to Representative George Santos. Investigative Subcommittee, Committee on Ethics, 9 Nov. 2023, https://ethics.house.gov/sites/ethics.house.gov/files/documents/ISC%20Report_0.pdf. Accessed 17 Nov. 2023.
Otten, Tori, et al. “Ethics Report: George Santos Used Campaign Funds on OnlyFans and Botox.” The New Republic, 1 Nov. 2022. The New Republic, https://newrepublic.com/post/176974/george-santos-ethics-report-finally-here-damning. Accessed 17 Nov. 2023.
Palma, Bethania. “NY Congressional Rep.-Elect George Santos Under Fire for ‘Embellishments.’” Snopes, 30 Dec. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/news/2022/12/29/claims-by-us-rep-elect-george-santos/. Accessed 17 Nov. 2023.
Trimble, Megan. “House Ethics Committee: ‘Substantial Evidence’ George Santos Used Campaign Funds for Personal Use | CNN Politics.” CNN, 16 Nov. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/11/16/politics/ethics-committee-releases-santos-report/index.html. Accessed 17 Nov. 2023.