Over the course of the pandemic, OnlyFans, a relatively new social media and content-subscription platform has increasingly gained popularity. The platform — which lets content creators monetise their posts — has become primarily known for its use by sex workers. It's easy to speculate that, given the dire financial circumstances that many people have been facing this year, many have turned to it as a main source of income, as well as a way to make ends meet if they're under- or unemployed. One of the people doing that is a 23-year-old New York City-based paramedic who also uses OnlyFans to supplement her existing income — or, she did, until this past weekend, when the New York Post doxxed her, publishing a piece that revealed her name, photos of her, social media handles, and personal information about her jobs.
After the Post article was published, the exposed EMT explained via comments on a GoFundMe set up for her by a friend that she asked the reporter to give her anonymity, because the article could put her safety and her job at risk. The reporter betrayed her trust, and now, she's dealing with exactly that: threats of violence, and the potential loss of her job.
“There are many people telling me what they think I should do and giving me advice I did not ask for. Let me be very clear: I did not want the NY Post to run this article, much less use my name. When [the reporter] first ‘interviewed’ me, he did not tell me what this was about until after I disclosed most of my background,” she wrote on the GoFundMe, adding: “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. He did not include that he played this ‘friendly guy’ reporter who just wanted to get MY side of the story, since ya know, they were gonna run it anyway, with or without my input.”
Her comment continues to offer context to her situation: who she is, where she comes from, and her journey to get through paramedic school while supporting herself via minimum wage jobs. She also made clear how difficult life has been while working as an EMT in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic. It's important to note that while these details about her life were generous of her to share, they shouldn't be necessary: Outing sex workers is an act of violence, and no victim should need to defend themselves or their humanity — nor should any sex worker, period.
But the fact that this paramedic did so is a gift to her community; she's using the harmful spotlight placed on her to ask for greater support of medical professionals during this trying time. In her GoFundMe comment, she also called attention to the mental health concerns frontline health care workers have faced, noted that they’re reusing months-old PPE, have consistently been refused hazard pay (and already have inadequate baseline), and have seen their fellow healthcare workers die in front of their eyes, both from COVID and suicide. At the end of her post, she directed people to visit The Emergency Medical Services Public Advocacy Council to learn how to help.
By highlighting the needs of the medical community during a time when our society depends on them more than ever, she has made clear that the real scandal here is not the one the Post created. In fact, that's not a scandal at all: There’s nothing shameful about being a sex worker or having an OnlyFans to post sexual photos and videos. Rather, the real scandal is that an emergency health care worker can't sustain themselves from their income, even as they serve a vitally important role during these trying times.
Depending on where they work, EMT salaries vary, but according to Glassdoor, the average salary for an emergency medical technician is $36,444 in New York City (approximately £26,857), or hovering somewhere between $15 and $19 an hour (approximately £11 and £14) — scarcely above minimum wage. In many places in the five boroughs, that’s insufficient or barely enough to cover rent, food, and baseline living expenses. Moreover, when you consider the terrifying, dangerous work health care workers have done over the course of 2020, that pay is nowhere near enough to compensate them.
It is a well-established problem in our society that many people have to work more than one job merely to survive, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth addressing — especially during a pandemic. Right now, this late-capitalist reality is made even more nightmarish by the US government’s failure to provide more stimulus money, more unemployment allowances, or further monetary and material resources to keep people safe during this time. Of course, pandemic or not, the government should always offer a safety net to its people, and provide money and resources for all who need them.
Considering that the government does not do that though, it's also important to remember that anyone working multiple jobs both has the right to their privacy, and also should not be shamed for doing what they must to get by. There are no shameful jobs! Unless, of course, you work for the Trump Administration, or as the writer or editor of a piece for the New York Post that is cavalier about ruining a woman’s life.