The coronavirus pandemic has gutted a myriad of industries across the United States. Businesses have closed their doors, and employees have been stuck at home, often without compensation for their lost wages. That especially pertains to live entertainment, which likely will not see a return to normalcy for many months at least. Some celebrities, however, are using Instagram to revive certain forms of live entertainment—namely, strip clubs—through a new craze called “Demon Time.”
What is Demon Time? How does Demon Time work? Here’s what you need to know about the lucrative, salacious Instagram craze, which the platform is desperately trying to shut down.
What is Demon Time?
Since quarantine has prohibited people from going out to the strip club, Demon Time brings the strip club to your home (and smartphone). The phrase refers to a network of late-night Instagram Live streams in which various women—who usually wear a mask to remain anonymous—perform for tens of thousands of viewers at a time.
Former pro basketball player and current meme page admin Justin LaBoy pioneered Demon Time, inviting his 60,000-plus followers to tune into his live streams with exotic dancers. Unsurprisingly, the craze instantly exploded in popularity.
How does Demon Time work?
Instagram might be a free app, but Demon Time still comes at a price. Performers have their payment info pinned in the comments section, and viewers are encouraged to tip via CashApp. It’s only fair, seeing as strippers have no conventional means of income right now, and many of them don’t qualify for unemployment benefits since they work as independent contractors.
Typically, viewers who tune in to Demon Time have been happy to oblige. It’s not unusual for some women to rake in thousands of dollars a night.
LaBoy has also implemented something of a tiered payment system for Demon Time. Verified Instagram accounts are expected to cough up big tips, and LaBoy has threatened to end streams if celebrities don’t pay.
“I call them the verified demons, and the lowest you can CashApp as a verified demon is $200,” LaBoy told Complex. In that sense, Demon Time functions like a high-profile club that encourages VIP members to drop more cash and flex on everybody else.
The dancers who participate in Demon Time have been able to monetize their performances in other ways as well, namely by promoting their OnlyFans accounts and private Snapchats.
Is Demon Time legal?
Not really. Instagram has shut down several of LaBoy’s Demon Time pages, citing violations of the community guidelines. (Instagram plainly states that it does not allow nudity on the app.) LaBoy began creating new pages for every party, sharing the handles on Twitter shortly before going live. But as Instagram continued to shut down the pages, the Demon Time founder stopped sharing handles on Twitter entirely.
Can I participate?
As LaBoy’s digital strip club has blown up and spawned a slew of copycats, the host has had to create more barriers to entry. In order to ward off scammers and protect both himself and the women he hosts, LaBoy has made Demon Time invite-only for the time being. Lucky viewers who do get to attend the virtual strip club will have to meet payment minimums as the events become more exclusive.
Instagram users who still want to take part in the digital strip club craze have some options. Rapper Tory Lanez’ “Quarantine Radio” is almost identical to LaBoy’s Demon Time, and after briefly having his account shut down, Lanez is back to hosting his nightly parties. Atlanta strip club Magic City also offers “virtual lap dance” performances via Instagram stories. With physical clubs shuttered for the foreseeable future, these virtual strip clubs ensure that strippers get fairly compensated and viewers still get plenty of entertainment from the comfort of their living room.
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