Ocasio-Cortez defends medic in New York Post story who joined OnlyFans to ‘make ends meet’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezProgressives frustrated with representation as Biden Cabinet takes shape Perdue, Ocasio-Cortez spar on Twitter over Georgia races Ocasio-Cortez hits back at those who call her radical: ‘Shoutout to my fellow radicals’ MORE (D-N.Y.) slammed the New York Post for a controversial article it published about a paramedic […]

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezProgressives frustrated with representation as Biden Cabinet takes shape Perdue, Ocasio-Cortez spar on Twitter over Georgia races Ocasio-Cortez hits back at those who call her radical: ‘Shoutout to my fellow radicals’ MORE (D-N.Y.) slammed the New York Post for a controversial article it published about a paramedic in New York City that said she had joined the OnlyFans website to “make ends meet.”

In a tweet responding to the publication’s post about the article, titled “NYC medic helped ‘make ends meet’ with racy OnlyFans side gig,” over the weekend, Ocasio-Cortez pushed back, defending the woman over some of the criticism she received over the side job.

“Leave her alone. The actual scandalous headline here is ‘Medics in the United States need two jobs to survive,’” Ocasio-Cortez said in the tweet defending the woman.

The controversial story in question had been published by the Post on Saturday and featured comments from a sole paramedic, identified as 23-year-old Lauren Caitlyn Kwei, that had joined OnlyFans to make extra money.

OnlyFans is a content subscription service where content creators are able to earn money from users that subscribe to them. It’s also used by many sex workers who make money from the platform and has grown popular amid the ongoing pandemic.

“The bottom line: I don’t get paid a lot. I’m just trying to make ends meet,” Kwei told the paper. “I truly don’t think this has anything to do with being a paramedic.”

The Post also reported that Kwei, who told the paper she earns $25 per hour as a paramedic, also worked as a restaurant hostess to help bring in more money.

The report included details about how often she posted to the platform recently, the types of clothing and items she featured in the posts, and her actions in some of the content. The story, which has drawn considerable backlash online in the past few days and been accused by critics of shaming the medic, also reported on the borough in which she resides. 

The story noted that Kwei deleted a number of posts on the platform after she first spoke with the paper.

Kwei told the outlet that she knew her employer would “deem this ‘inappropriate’ so I took it down in the hopes that I won’t lose my job in the middle of a pandemic and three weeks before Christmas.” 

The Post also noted in its coverage that her employer prohibits employees from engaging in “inappropriate conduct, on and off duty” and requires workers to adhere to “standards of personal ethics, on and off duty, which reflect credit upon the profession.”

“Kwei was not secretive about her online exploits,” the Post, which noted it reached out to her employer for comment, wrote in its report, noting Kwei “made her last name known in her Instagram timeline, and her Twitter handle …”

A GoFundMe set up on behalf of Kwei has since raised more than $38,000 for the paramedic.

In a statement included in an update to the page, Kwei discussed the recent story, which was authored by Dean Balsamini and Susan Edelman.

“I know I did nothing wrong and I have nothing to be ashamed of. Most of the quotes in that article are me defending myself to this reporter,” she said.

“He did not include that I begged him to remain anonymous (which was never agreed to) and that I told him my safety and job were going to be at risk if he posted this article,” she continued.

“As some of you may know, I’ve been home with my family in WV following my father going into cardiac arrest last week. I have not been able to speak with my employer because of this and I still do not know what they are going to do. As of right now, I do still have a job but I will probably find out tomorrow if I don’t,” she added.

The Hill has reached out to the New York Post for comment.

The fundraising page also featured a growing number of comments taking shots at the Post from donors.

“As an ex-journo I’m appalled the NY Post has done this to you. Sending support from Australia (where first responders are paid a liveable wage!)” one donor wrote, while another commented: “As much as we need to decriminalize sex work; we need to destigmatize it as well. Thank you for your service all the same, Laura!”

A number of donors also thanked the paramedic for her service in her role amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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