sex workers slut shaming

Paramedic outed as OnlyFans model by the New York Post fights back, for herself and her fellow underappreciated first responders

Last Saturday, New York paramedic Lauren Kwei was outed as an OnlyFans model by the New York Post. Kwei, barely making ends meet on her paramedic salary, had turned somewhat reluctantly to selling nudes on OnlyFans for money to pay her bills. For some reason the New York Post decided that this was their business, posting an article they presumably knew could get her fired from her job.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the slut-shaming. The internet rallied around Kwei, castigating the Post for its sleazy tactics. None other than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave her a twitter shout out and a supportive telephone call. And supporters set up a GoFundMe for her, which at last count had raised more than $86,000, which should go a long way towards making up from the lost income from her now-shuttered OnlyFans page. She still has her paramedic job.

Instead of tut-tutting over Kwei’s sex work, internetters focused instead on the shitty working conditions and poor wages of paramedics and EMTs that had led Kwei to seek to supplement her income in the first place. And it turned out that she was quite an eloquent, if accidental, labor activist, explaining in an interview with Rolling Stone and in a bylined piece in The Independent just how precarious life as a firsr responder can be. Kwei, who began her medical career as an EMT, noted in her Independent piece that

[m]any … EMTs and paramedics have more than one job and work over 50 hours a week to support their families. I’ve seen people work 16 hours in a row at one job, then go work another eight hours at another out of necessity. Starting EMTs get paid $15 an hour and EMS workers are the worst-paid first responders in New York City.

New York city paramedics don’t do that much better, getting by on $25 per hour in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

She wrote of the horrors of working as a paramedic in the midst of a pandemic.

I held the hands of dying people who could not hold the hands of their spouses, children, siblings, and friends. I listened to the president of the United States say on TV that all the hospitals and healthcare workers had everything they needed, while I was using a weeks-old N95 mask and waiting for a ventilator the hospital didn’t have for my patient. And at the end of every day, I came home to an empty apartment where I cried about the state of our world while sanitising my equipment.  

This is the woman that the New York Post thought was worthy of a public shaming. Shame on them.

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14 replies on “Paramedic outed as OnlyFans model by the New York Post fights back, for herself and her fellow underappreciated first responders”

First off, I heavily condemn the NY Post. This was a shitty thing for them to do, although not unexpected given that it’s owned by the Murdoch empire and known for damaging pseudo-journalism. Second, I’m pleasantly surprised that most of the responses have been positive, knowing the Internet and how it’s full of trolls this easily could have gone very differently.

It’s a very serious thing to threaten a person’s source of income, especially if that person doesn’t make much money. To do so without a compelling reason is indefensible. The New York Post has long been a sensationalist rag, so I’m happy to see people, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, stepping up to defend its latest victim. Thanks, AOC, for always coming down on the right side, eloquently.

Paramedics are highly vulnerable to PTSD due to sustained trauma. I knew a chap who left the job to become a barman due to mental health. My cousin-in-law paramedic had a breakdown and went part time (luckily she’s a really good painter, so started selling her pictures for income). As a job it should be very well paid and no more than 30 hour weeks. Same should be said for nurses too.

Also really depressing that people are reluctantly selling nudes to make ends meet. To me, sex work is like sex in that it should be something that the people involved enthusiastically consent to. I wonder how much that happens in our hell world.

This is the sort of article that deserves a post-mortem. From asking how the original writer decided this was an effective use of their billable hours, to how the editorial staff decided this met the standard for printing, to who decided to call her work multiple times?!

The only newsworthy angle to this story is that medics aren’t getting paid a living wage, IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC, and I think we all know that is not the angle the fucking Post was working here. God, they suck.

I make $15/hour. I also live in rural Louisiana and don’t have rent. And my job has very little chance of causing me PTSD. I can’t even imaging working such a stressful job, in one of the most expensive cities in the world, for such thankless compensation.

i make 22 dollars an hour in one of the most inexpensive states in the country. I can pay rent, and my bills, sometimes needing a little help from my husband. her making 25 dollars in new york is like making 8.50 an hour here. You can’t live on that.

Isn’t she basically doing what some MGTOW moron suggested a few days ago? It’s almost like women just can’t win with these people!

As I’m having a difficult time breaking into the medical field due to hiring freezes and business as usual is no longer happening, I can commiserate with her and her situation as lower positions do not and have not been paid well for years. A smarter person than I could probably tie this to the US’s privatized health-care bullshit system more eloquently, but the precedent for this happening is common and well known.

Which leads to why businesses shame a fire employees who were/are sex workers in the first place. There is no reason to doubt their commitment and skill at their job. It just seems like employers are just uncomfortable with it? That’s a nonsense reason as bad as another excuse for discrimination. Perhaps there’s a legal issue involved I’m certain areas; people’s lives are at stake in certain areas of the world, but c’mon.

This is just a double whammy of things that piss me off. I’m so glad though, that the respond from the internet has been immediate support without question. I wish her luck in her career and hopefully a more agreeable financial situation. Personally, I could not do that job and it amazes me how much fortitude and determination this woman and others have in this pandemic.


It just seems like employers are just uncomfortable with it?

Yes, I believe that’s it. Society a a whole is very opposed to sex workers, and many employers have internalized this. Even those who haven’t may still fire such employees because they worry about how it reflects on their business. As we discussed in another thread, hatred of sex workers is very normalized.

During this pandemic, I had hoped that this increase in people engaging in sex work through sites like OnlyFans and the changes in how people worked it would change the public perception of sex work. Unfortunately it seems that that change did not happen for many people.

@Naglfar Forgive my incredulity about how normalized sex work discrimination is. I realize the situation as it stands, but I feel a unique sense of despondency when I see it in action. Perhaps because I have close friends in that line of work who choose to be in it, but also how much effort it is in everyone’s life, especially women, to perform a certain standard of ‘normal’ in order to feed and shelter oneself no matter their career.


how much effort it is in everyone’s life, especially women, to perform a certain standard of ‘normal’

This, very much. It also especially applies for disabled people, LGBTQ+, or PoC (or people who are 2 or more of those), all groups which are significantly more likely to be in sex work. I think another reason for anti sex worker discrimination may be because it’s more acceptable than bigotries aimed at the groups over represented in sex work.

The part of this that I keep thinking about is that she begged for anonymity, which the reporter refused to grant to her but was kind enough to extend to the person shaming her for her second job.

If anyone doesn’t like what she’s doing, they’re welcome to either advocate for her to get a living wage like she damn well should, or they could pay her to NOT be doing it. But if they’re not going to do anything at all to fix the problem of young women selling racy photos because they gotta pay rent, they need to mind their own damn business.

@Viscaria – That’s not kindness, that’s jounalistic integrity! How else is that journalist gonna be able to find more self-righteous moralistic cowards willing to maliciously rat out/slander their fellows for their sanctimonious hit-pieces if they burn said sources?/S

DICLAIMER: I’m all in favor of freedom of the press and its corollaries such as protecting anonymity of sources, but this is a fucking disgusting abuse of those concepts, and all just to smear someone who’s barely in the public eye and had to work her ass off for months due to the pandemic for a crap salary. That scum-sucker is the journalistic equivalent of an ambulance chaser or battlefield looter. I’d compare him to a parasite or a scavenger, but that’d be insulting to the animals in those categories.

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