Lauren Kwei, the New-York-based paramedic who was publicly identified by the New York Post in an article about her OnlyFans account, has started a GoFundMe account to help support her “during her legal battles against the newspaper.”
The original article, titled “NYC medic helped ‘make ends meet’ with racy OnlyFans side gig,” was published on Dec. 12 to the protest of 23-year-old Kwei, who later wrote on GoFundMe that she had begged Post reporter Dean Balsamini not to reveal her identity.
“Let me be very clear: I did not want the NY Post to run this article, much less use my name,” Kwei wrote. “When Dean Balsamini first ‘interviewed’ me, he did not tell me what this was about until after I disclosed most of my background. He did not include in his article that I started crying on the phone when he finally did tell me what he was inquiring about.”
The Twitter backlash to the Post story was swift, with even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeting to condemn the outlet.
“Leave her alone,” the 31-year-old New York representative wrote. “The actual scandalous headline here is ‘Medics in the United States need two jobs to survive.'”
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to leave people struggling to afford basic needs like food and rent, many like Kwei have turned to OnlyFans — where users can charge their subscribers to unlock private content, often adult material — to supplement their main incomes.
And some employers have not responded kindly upon learning their employees had accounts on the website.
In February, 24-year-old Honda mechanic Kirsten Vaughn was fired from her position after some of her male coworkers discovered her OnlyFans account and began sexually harassing her at work because of it.
Kwei initially believed the Post article would both get her fired and destroy her reputation, she said in an interview with Rolling Stone.
“I felt like I wanted to crawl in a hole,” she told the outlet.
Thankfully, Kwei’s employer, SeniorCare EMS, confirmed to The Daily Beast that she is still employed by the company and that it does not intend to let her go because of her OnlyFans.
In the meantime, Kwei’s GoFundMe page has raised over $102,000 — much more than its initial $5,000 goal — and the number continues to grow.
Kwei says she intends to use the “platform” she has been given to fight for a more fair wage for EMTs fighting on the frontline of the pandemic.
“The NY Post gave me a voice. So here I am, showing myself to the world,” she wrote. “I’m here to tell you all that my First Responder brothers and sisters are suffering. We need your help. We have been exhausted for months, reusing months old PPE, being refused hazard pay, and watching our fellow healthcare workers die in front of our eyes, in our ambulances.”
“My brothers and sisters DESERVE CHANGE!” she added. “Visit emspac.org for a Mission Statement and to see how you can help.”
If you found this story insightful, read about why former Disney star Bella Thorne’s OnlyFans account sparked backlash.
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