“Naked Philanthropist” Defends Herself After Accusations of Sex Trafficking
- Kaylen Ward, informally known as the “Naked Philanthropist,” tweeted about her idea for aspiring sex workers to live in a house together and be trained on how to succeed in the industry.
- Some responded with criticisms, accusing Ward of trying to organize a pimping or human sex trafficking scheme.
- Ward defended herself in a series of tweets and videos on social media, saying these were not her intentions and that she is only trying to help people in a regulated way.
Naked Philanthropist Slammed
The “Naked Philanthropist,” who first rose to fame when she exchanged her nudes for donations to Australian wildfire relief, has found herself in the midst of a controversy.
Kaylen Ward proposed an idea to the Internet: putting aspiring sex workers together in a house, training them for online success, and filming the process for television and YouTube. However, when some caught wind of the plan, they came back at Ward with accusations of pimping and sex-trafficking.
Ward originally called for interested contenders in a now-deleted tweet.
“I am looking for girls with little to NO only fans or sex work experience who are interested in getting started,” Ward wrote. “You will live in a mansion with approx 15-20 other girls and will be trained on how to be successful on only fans or social media.”
OnlyFans is a social media service where influencers and models can make a commission by potentially selling racy content. Ward also linked to an Instagram page and encouraged people to follow if they want to see which girls get selected for the hypothetical house. The account currently has zero posts.
It didn’t take long for Twitter users to slam Ward for the proposal, calling it dangerous and predatory.
“Unironically hoping the fbi or somebody is keeping tabs on this because this is insanely sketchy/predatory and quite possibly a front for human trafficking,” one person wrote.
Several pointed out that it was suspicious to call for beginners in the industry as these seem like the individuals who would be most vulnerable.
“I also can’t get over the fact that she’s specifically asking for people new to the industry. it just seems weirdly predatory and puts a bad taste in my mouth because a lot of girls will probably see this as an out for whatever situation [they’re] in,” a Twitter user wrote.
i also can’t get over the fact that she’s specifically asking for people new to the industry. it just seems weirdly predatory and puts a bad taste in my mouth because a lot of girls will probably see this as an out for whatever situation there in.— Jippy (@ThatGuyJippy) March 3, 2020
In the wake of the backlash, Ward took down her tweet describing the idea and began posting more messages defending her motives.
The naked philanthropist didn’t stop there. She also released a series of videos on her Twitter page further explaining her idea and defending herself.
“I understand that I didn’t present all the information,” she said. “I’m actually trying to start a legitimate business. I will have [an] HR team, I will have contracts, I will have actual employees, like all the girls will be employees, they will get paid, they will have contracts.”
“Everything is going to be regulated and by the books and I didn’t really know exactly how to express all of that in one tweet,” she added. “I was just trying to start my idea somewhere and get people on board and try to go from there.”
Ward went on to discuss how she was upset about the serious accusations against her and how they are marring her image.
“I’m not saying that I’m perfectly in the right and I will always want to explain myself,” she said. “But it’s really hard to explain yourself when it feels like everybody is attacking you and you’re being canceled for something that is an assumption.”
Throughout the clips, Ward kept returning to the sentiment that she was only trying to help people get a foot in the door of the sex worker industry.
“My idea is not to exploit sex workers,” she said. “I mentioned in the tweet that I was looking for some new girls because constantly on my platform girls are messaging me asking me how they can get started with only fans, where do they begin, how do they get promo.”
Ward even compared her idea to other new influencer developments that have taken off recently, like the L.A. “Hype House” for TikTokers.
“I don’t see why there can’t be the same concept for sex workers, and I don’t see why we can’t all work together to have a common goal and be successful,” she said.
But despite Ward’s lengthy video explanation, people on the Internet continued to accuse her of promoting unsafe practices.
“Trying so hard to make a single tear fall,” one person wrote about Ward’s video. “But has no answers for anyone. This is peak gaslighting behaviour.”
trying so hard to make a single tear fall— adrie (@adrierose_) March 3, 2020
but has no answers for anyone. this is peak gaslighting behaviour. “i’m not upset that you have questions but i can’t believe you would question me. i have never hurt anyone ever.” pic.twitter.com/F1TNW0HOVP
Others argued that regardless of Ward’s expressed intentions, this set up could easily operate as a sex trafficking scheme.
According to Stop The Traffik, a campaign coalition aiming to end human trafficking worldwide, the differences between sex trafficking and sex work can be “almost invisible.” Key factors to consider when trying to distinguish between the two are signs of abuse, if the worker gets to keep the money, and the sanitary conditions of the spaces being used.
See what others are saying: (Daily Dot) (Goat) (Latestly)
Survey and Census Data Shows Record Number of Americans are Struggling Financially
Americans are choosing not to pursue medical treatment more and more frequently as they encounter money troubles.
A recent federal survey shows that a record number of Americans were worse off financially in 2022 than a year prior.
Coupled with recent census data showing pervasive poverty across much of the country, Americans are forced to make difficult decisions, like foregoing expensive healthcare.
According to a recent Federal Reserve Bureau survey, 35% of adults say they were worse off in 2022 than 2021, which is the highest share ever recorded since the question was raised in 2014.
Additionally, half of adults reported their budget was majorly affected by rising prices across the country, and that number is even higher among minority communities and parents living with their children.
According to recent census data, more than 10% of the counties in the U.S. are experiencing persistent poverty, meaning the area has had a poverty rate of 20% or higher between 1989 and 2019.
16 states report at least 10% of their population living in persistent poverty. But most of the suffering counties were found in the South — which accounts for over half the people living in persistent poverty, despite making up less than 40% of the population.
These financial realities have placed many Americans in the unfortunate situation of choosing between medical treatment and survival. The Federal Reserve study found that the share of Americans who skipped medical treatment because of the cost has drastically increased since 2020.
The reflection of this can be found in the overall health of households in different income brackets. 75% of households with an income of $25,000 or less report being in good health – compared to the 91% of households with $100,000 or more income.
See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Hill) (Federal Reserve)
Montana Governor Signs TikTok Ban
The ban will likely face legal challenges before it is officially enacted next year.
First Statewide Ban of TikTok
Montana became the first state to ban TikTok on Wednesday after Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed legislation aimed at protecting “Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party.”
The ban will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, though the law will likely face a handful of legal challenges before that date.
Under the law, citizens of the state will not be held liable for using the app, but companies that offer the app on their platforms, like Apple and Google, will face a $10,000 fine per day of violations. TikTok would also be subject to the hefty daily fine.
Questions remain about how tech companies will practically enforce this law. During a hearing earlier this year, a representative from TechNet said that these platforms don’t have the ability to “geofence” apps by state.
Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, told the Associated Press that app stores could have the capability to enforce the restriction, but it would be difficult to carry out and there would be a variety of loopholes by tools like VPNs.
Montana’s law comes as U.S. politicians have taken aim at TikTok over its alleged ties to the CCP. Earlier this year, the White House directed federal agencies to remove TikTok from government devices. Conservatives, in particular, have been increasingly working to restrict the app.
“The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented,” Gov. Gianforte said in a Wednesday statement.
Criticism of Montana Law
TikTok, however, has repeatedly denied that it gives user data to the government. The company released a statement claiming Montana’s law “infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people” in the state.
“We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana,” the company said.
The American Civil Liberties Union condemned Montana’s law for similar reasons.
“This law tramples on our free speech rights under the guise of national security and lays the groundwork for excessive government control over the internet,” the ACLU tweeted. “Elected officials do not have the right to selectively censor entire social media apps based on their country of origin.”
Per the AP, there are 200,000 TikTok users in Montana, and another 6,000 businesses use the platform as well. Lawsuits are expected to be filed against the law in the near future.
See what others are saying: (Associated Press) (Fast Company) (CBS News)
How a Disney-Loving Former Youth Pastor Landed on The FBI’s “Most Wanted” List
“Do what is best, not for yourself, for once. Think about everyone else,” Chris Burns’ 19-year-old son pleaded to his father via The Daily Beast.
Multi-Million Dollar Scheme
Former youth pastor turned financial advisor Chris Burns remains at large since going on the run in September of 2020 to avoid a Securities Exchange Commission investigation into his businesses.
Despite his fugitive status, the Justice Department recently indicted Burns with several more charges on top of the $12 million default judgment he received from the SEC.
Burns allegedly sold false promissory notes to investors across Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida. The SEC claims he told the investors they were participating in a “peer to peer” lending program where businesses that needed capital would borrow money and then repay it with interest as high as 20%. Burns allegedly also reassured investors that the businesses had collateral so the investment was low-risk.
The SEC says that Burns instead took that money for personal use.
Burns began his adult life as a youth pastor back in 2007 before transitioning into financial planning a few years later. By 2017, he launched his own radio show, The Chris Burns Show, which was funded by one of his companies, Dynamic Money – where every week Burns would “unpack how this week’s headlines practically impact your life, wallet, and future,” according to the description. He also frequently appeared on television and online, talking about finances and politics.
The SEC alleges that he used his public appearances to elevate his status as a financial advisor and maximize his reach to investors.
His family told The Daily Beast that he became obsessed with success and he reportedly bought hand-made clothes, a million-dollar lakehouse, a boat, several cars, and took his family on several trips to Disney World. His eldest son and wife said that Burns was paying thousands of dollars a day for VIP tours and once paid for the neighbors to come along.
Then in September 2020, he reportedly told his wife that he was being investigated by the Securities Exchange Commission but he told her not to worry.
The day that he was supposed to turn over his business documents to the SEC, he disappeared, telling his wife he was just going to take a trip to North Carolina to tell his parents about the investigation. Then, the car was found abandoned in a parking lot with several cashier’s checks totaling $78,000
FBI’s Most Wanted
The default judgment in the SEC complaint orders Burns, if he’s ever found, to pay $12 million to his victims, as well as over $650,000 in a civil penalty. Additionally, a federal criminal complaint charged him with mail fraud. Burns is currently on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
Last week, the Justice Department indicted him on several other charges including 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud.
“Burns is charged for allegedly stealing millions of dollars from clients in an illegal investment fraud scheme,” Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Financial crimes of this nature can cause significant disruptions to the lives of those who are victimized, and the FBI is dedicated to holding these criminals accountable.”
His family maintains that they knew nothing of Burns’ schemes. His wife reportedly returned over $300,000 that he had given to her.
She and their eldest son, who is now 19, told The Daily Beast they just want Burns to turn himself in, take responsibility for his actions, and try to help the people he hurt.
“Do what is best, not for yourself, for once. Think about everyone else,” Burns’ son said in a message to his father via The Daily Beast.