- 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.
Amazon Backs GOP Bill to Legalize Marijuana in Effort to Ramp Up Lobbying
The proposal is the first Republican-sponsored marijuana bill Amazon has backed since the company first began lobbying for legalization last summer.
Amazon Endorses States Reform Act
Amazon announced Tuesday that it is endorsing a Republican-backed proposal to legalize marijuana.
The move comes as the e-commerce giant has ramped up its efforts to legalize cannabis on the federal level since it came out in support of the idea last summer. Amazon argues that the move would remove hiring barriers — which disproportionately impact people of color — and, in turn, could increase the company’s application pool and boost employee retention.
The company has previously backed similar proposals by forward by Democrats, but Tuesday’s announcement marks the first time Amazon has put its support behind a Republican-sponsored bill aimed at addressing the issue.
The legislation, called the States Reform Act, was authored by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.). Among other measures, it would remove cannabis as a Schedule I substance, allow states to create their own laws, impose an excise tax, and regulate the drug in a similar fashion to alcohol.
While Mace’s bill is fundamentally very similar to others put forth by Democrats, by proposing it herself, the Republican hopes to rally other members of her party around the idea that legalization is pro-business, pro-state’s rights, and anti-big government.
The measure has already received support from the highly influential conservative group, American’s for Prosperity, which is funded by the Koch brothers.
Mace and Amazon have painted the company’s endorsement as a game-changer for garnering more support — both from other large corporations and politicians on either side of the aisle. Mace specifically told reporters she believes Amazon’s decision will push other companies to do the same. If more major corporations like Amazon back the effort, other Republicans may be more persuaded to jump on board.
That sentiment was echoed by Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy, who said in an interview with The Washington Post that the company was “particularly excited by Congresswoman Mace’s bill” because “it shows that there’s bipartisan support for this issue.”
Huseman also emphasized that, as part of its decision to back her bill, Amazon will use its powerful influence in Washington to try and drum up bipartisan support.
“We are talking with members of both parties, including Republicans, about why we think this is the right thing to do, especially from the standpoint of a major employer and what this means for our business and our employees and broadening the employee base,” he continued.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Forbes) (Marijuana Moment)
CDC Data Shows Booster Shots Provide Effective Protection Against Omicron
Public health experts have encouraged Americans to get boosted to protect themselves against the omicron variant, but less than 40% of fully vaccinated people who are eligible for their third shot have received it.
A First Glimpse of Official Data on Boosters and Omicron
COVID-19 booster shots are effective at preventing Americans from contracting omicron and protecting those who do become infected from severe illness, according to three reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published Friday.
The reports mark the first real-world data regarding the highly infectious variant and how it has impacted the U.S.
One of the CDC reports, which studied data from 25 state and local health departments, found that there were 149 cases per 100,000 people among those had been boosted on average each week.
In comparison, the figure was 255 cases per 100,000 people in Americans who had only received two shots.
Another study that looked at nearly 88,000 hospitalizations in 10 states found that the third doses were 90% effective at preventing hospitalization.
By contrast, those who received just two shots were only 57% protected against hospitalization by the time they were eligible for a booster six months after their second dose.
Additionally, the same report also found that the boosters were 82% effective at preventing visits to emergency rooms and urgent care centers, a marked increase from the 38% efficacy for those who were six months out from their two-shot regime and had not yet received a third.
Low Booster Shot Vaccination Rates
Public health officials hope that the new data will urge more Americans to get their booster shots.
Since the emergence of omicron, experts and leading political figures have renewed their efforts to encourage people to get their third shots, arguing they are the best form of protection.
The CDC currently recommends that everyone 12 and older get a booster shot five months after their second shot of Pfizer and Moderna or two months after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Still, in the U.S., less than 40% of fully vaccinated individuals eligible for a third shot have gotten one.
While COVID cases in the country have begun to drop over the past several days from their peak of over 800,000 average daily infections, the figures are still nearly triple those seen in the largest previous surges.
Hospitalizations have also slowly begun to level out over the last week in places that were hit first, such as New York City and Boston, but medical resources still remain strained in many parts of the country that experienced later surges and have not yet seen cases slow.
Some experts predict that the U.S. will see a sharp decline in omicron cases, as experienced in South Africa and Britain. Still, they urge American’s to get boosted to ensure their continued protection from the variant, as well as other strains that will emerge.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (CNN) (The New York Times)
California Bill Would Allow Kids 12 and Up to Get Vaccinated Without Parental Consent
Nearly one million California teens and preteens between the ages of 12 and 17 are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
State Senator Proposes Legislation
Legislation proposed in California on Thursday would allow children age 12 and up to get vaccinated without parental consent.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced Bill 866 in the hope it could boost vaccination rates among teenagers. According to Wiener, nearly one million kids aged 12- to 17-years old remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 in the state of California.
“Unvaccinated teens are at risk, put others at risk & make schools less safe,” Wiener tweeted. “They often can’t work, participate in sports, or go to friends’ homes.”
“Many want to get vaccinated but parents won’t let them or aren’t making the time to take them. Teens shouldn’t have to rely on parents’ views & availability to protect themselves from a deadly virus.”
Currently, teens in California can receive vaccines for human papillomavirus and hepatitis B without parental consent. They can also make other reproductive or mental healthcare choices without a guardian signing off. Wiener argues that their medical autonomy should expand to all vaccines, especially during a pandemic that has already killed roughly 78,000 Californians.
Vaccine Consent Across the U.S.
“Teens shouldn’t have to plot, scheme or fight with their parents to get a vaccine,” he said. “They should simply be able to walk in & get vaccinated like anyone else.”
Bill 866 would allow any kids ages 12 and up to receive any vaccine approved or granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, Pfizer’s COVID vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA for those 16 and older. It has received emergency authorization for ages five through 15.
Across the United States, vaccine consent ages vary. While the vast majority of states require parental approval for minors to be vaccinated against COVID-19, kids as young as 11 can get the jab on their own in Washington, D.C. In Alabama, kids can receive it without parental consent at 14, in Oregon at 15, and in Rhode Island and South Carolina at 16. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, providers can waive consent in certain cases in Arkansas, Idaho, Washington, and Tennesee.
In October, California became the first state to announce plans to require that students receive the COVID-19 vaccine to attend class. The mandate has yet to take effect, but under the guidelines, students will be “required to be vaccinated for in person learning starting the term following FDA full approval of the vaccine for their grade span.”
In other words, once the FDA gives a vaccine full approval for those aged 12 and up, it will be required the following session for kids in grades 7-12. Once it does so for kids as young as five, the same process will happen for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. There will also be room for exemptions from the mandate.
The Fight to Vaccinate California
This week, a group of California state legislators formed a Vaccine Work Group in order to boost public health policies in the state. Wiener is among the several members who are “examining data, hearing from experts, and engaging stakeholders to determine the best approaches to promote vaccines that have been proven to reduce serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.”
“Vaccines protect not only individuals but also whole communities when almost everyone is vaccinated at schools, workplaces and businesses, and safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines have already prevented the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” Sen. Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) said in a press release. “Public safety is a paramount duty of government, and I am proud to join a talented group of legislators in the pro-science Vaccine Work Group who want to end this disastrous pandemic and protect Californians from death and disability by preventable diseases.”
While vaccine policies have been a divisive subject nationwide, including in California, state politicians and leaders are hopeful public health initiatives will prevail.
“If we allow disinformation to drive our state policy making we will not only see more Americans needlessly suffer and die, but we will sacrifice the long term stability of our society having effectively abandoned the idea that we all must work together to protect each other in times of crisis.” Catherine Flores Martin, the Executive Director of the California Immunization Coalition, added.