New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defended a New York City paramedic last Tuesday from a New York Post report, saying that “Sex work is work.” The paramedic, Lauren Kwei, admitted in the NYP article that she supplemented her income during the pandemic by posting private photos to her OnlyFans website. OnlyFans is a subscription-based social media platform. Users can sell and/or purchase original content, typically Not Safe For Work (NSFW).
Retweeting a Rolling Stone magazine accusing the New York Post of shaming the paramedic, Ocasio-Cortez wrote, “Sex work is work. The federal gov has done almost nothing to help people in months. We must pass stimulus checks, UI, small biz relief, hospital funding, etc. Keep the focus of shame there, not on marginalizing people surviving a pandemic without help.”
Kwei’s OnlyFans site
Kwei, 23, earns primarily as a New York paramedic for SeniorCare EMS, earning $25 an hour. The New York Post wrote an article detailing her side work, posting her personal NSFW pictures on OnlyFans, where subscribers must pay to view. Also, she works as a hostess at a Korean restaurant. Despite her request to remain anonymous, the New York Post published her name and the accounts she uses.
The article ended with Kwei apprehensive that her mainline work might be in jeopardy, given her side gigs. The authors included a job description from her employer’s website. It includes a rule that forbids “inappropriate conduct, on and off duty.” Also, the article printed a reaction from a fellow paramedic. He wrote: “Other EMTs and paramedics make more money by pulling extra shifts, instead of pulling off their clothes.”
When the article came out, Kwei had to delete posts and close out some accounts. She also deleted some of her posts on her OnlyFans site. Rolling Stone magazine defended the paramedic and accused the Post of imperiling Kwei’s job as a health care worker by outing her. However, a SeniorCare representative early told the media that they are not terminating Kwei.
The NY representative also took to Twitter to call out the Post. She tweeted a reply to the NY Post story, writing, “Leave her alone. The actual scandalous headline here is “Medics in the United States need two jobs to survive.’” She then retweeted a link to the Rolling Stone article that was critical of the Post.
Kwei tweeted Wednesday that she talked to AOC over the phone over the incident. Her Twitter bio now reads ‘hot paramedic the NY Post tried to destroy.” ‘Congresswoman @AOC gave me a phone call to wish me encouragement and thanked me for my service,' her tweet said.
Kwei became a recipient of a GoFundMe page, asking donors to “Help Lauren fight for her livelihood.' As of Friday morning, the fund already raised $87,000 from over 4,000 donors. Some of the supporters include members of the medical community. One donor wrote: ‘NYC has let its Healthcare workers down for too long. As a pharmacy technician, I stand in solidarity with you and all the other underpaid and abused Healthcare workers of this country.' Many were livid at the state of paramedics’ salaries in the State.
Nothing New For AOC
This is not the first time that Ocasio-Cortez expressed her views on sex workers. She is n advocate for decriminalizing sex work. Also, she joined progressives Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma) in supporting the SAFE SEX Workers Study Act. The bill calls for a federal study to examine legislation's impact on sex workers' safety.
Watch the Damage report video covering the where AOC defends a paramedic attacked by the NY Post:
Do you agree with AOC that sex work is work? Also, do you agree that the question is more on why frontline workers like Lauren Kwei need two or more jobs to survive? Let us know what you think. Tell us what you think by writing in the comment section below.
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