- Following a controversial article about an EMT who also runs an OnlyFans account, that EMT — 23-year-old Lauren Kwei — is now speaking out and saying she never wanted “the NY Post to run this article, much less use my name.”
- Notably, the New York Post article about Kwei includes key personal details about her job as a paramedic, including the company she works for and how much she makes per hour. The article also quotes an anonymous paramedic who shames Kwei for her OnlyFans account.
- Since its publication, the article has been slammed as a “hit piece,” with many asking the Post to retract the story and fire its authors.
- Others, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), have said the real focus of the article should have been how “Medics in the United States need two jobs to survive.”
NY Post Profiles EMT with OnlyFans
Over the weekend, the New York Post published a controversial article about a paramedic who “helped ‘make ends meet’ with racy OnlyFans side gig.” Now, that paramedic is speaking out about how she was treated by the article’s reporters.
The EMT, 23-year-old Lauren Kwei, said in a Facebook post on Monday, “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.”
The entirety of the Post’s article, which features a byline by Dean Balsamini and Susan Edelman, focuses on the relationship between Kwei’s job as a paramedic and her OnlyFans account, where she posted sexually explicit content. The article even provided specific details about where she works and how much money she makes as an EMT.
In her response to the controversy, Kwei said, “Over the past 3 days, my life and the intimate details of it have been made public for millions of strangers to read and judge.”
“When Dean Balsamini first “interviewed” me, he did not tell me what this was about until after I disclosed most of my background,” Kwei added. “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.”
From there, Kwei goes on to describe herself as she sees herself before ending her post by saying:
“The NY Post gave me a voice. So here I am, showing myself to the world. 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.”
How the Post Covered Kwei’s Profile Piece
The Post’s article does not describe Kwei outside of her jobs, though it does quote her as saying, “The bottom line: I don’t get paid a lot. I’m just trying to make ends meet.”
“I truly don’t think this has anything to do with being a paramedic,” she added, despite the fact that the article would go on to focus squarely on the intersection between Kwei’s two main sources of income.
“At the end of the day, [my OnlyFans account] doesn’t affect how I treat people,” she said in the article. “What I do in my free time is my business. It has no effect on how I care for my patients. I know when I’m working, I’m a paramedic. I think I’m pretty good at my job.”
The article noted that after Kwei first spoke to the Post, “she deleted at least seven OnlyFans posts.” Following that, on Nov. 27, “she locked her Twitter and Instagram accounts, and omitted the reference to OnlyFans in her Twitter profile. As of Friday, all her OnlyFans posts were deleted.”
When the Post followed up with Kwei by asking her why she deleted the posts and locked her accounts, she reportedly told them that following her interview with the paper, her company had requested to meet with her. All of this happened before the article had been published.
“I know [my company] 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,” she told the Post.
Kwei’s company likely found out about her OnlyFans because as the Post noted, it reached out to the company for comment multiple times. According to the Post, the company never responded.
In the article, the Post goes on to cite part of the code of conduct for Kwei’s company, stating, “the descriptions of all jobs forbid ‘inappropriate conduct, on and off duty.’ The requirements include: ‘Adheres to standards of personal ethics, on and off duty, which reflect credit upon the profession.’”
Near the end of the article, the Post also cites an anonymous “veteran paramedic” who shamed Kwei for her OnlyFans account. That unidentified paramedic then suggested that EMTs should earn more money by pulling extra shifts, not from “pulling off their clothes.”
Despite that, as Kwei would later note in her Facebook post, “[EMTs] are the lowest paid first responders in NYC, which leads to 50+ hour weeks and sometimes three jobs.”
Post Article Slammed as a Hit Piece
Balsamini and Edelman’s article has been widely condemned as a hit piece against Kwei.
One Twitter user accused the paper of “pushing the slut-shaming narrative instead of pushing the factual ‘this heroic EMT is risking her life during a pandemic & still can’t afford to make ends meet.’”
That line of thought was similarly expressed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who said on Twitter, “Leave her alone. The actual scandalous headline here is “Medics in the United States need two jobs to survive.”
“Sex work is work,” Ocasio-Cortez said in another tweet.
Leave her alone. The actual scandalous headline here is “Medics in the United States need two jobs to survive”— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 14, 2020
Others compared the Post’s coverage of Kwei to doxxing, noting how in-depth it went into where she worked and how much she made while also granting anonymity to the veteran paramedic, the article’s only other source.
Others asked for the article to be taken down, while some even called for Balsamini and Edelman to be fired.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Kwei to help her “keep her freedoms of choice and expression to support herself during her legal battles against the newspaper and her fight to keep the job she loves.” As of Wednesday morning, it’s raised nearly $70,000.
See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Yahoo News) (Business Insider)
Lincoln College to Close for Good After COVID and Ransomware Attack Ruin Finances
Last year, 1,043 schools in the U.S. were the victim of ransomware attacks, including 26 colleges or universities, according to an analysis by Emsisoft.
One of the Only Historically Black Colleges in the Midwest Goes Down
After 157 years of educating mostly Black students in Illinois, Lincoln College will close its doors for good on Friday.
The college made the announcement last month, citing financial troubles caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a ransomware attack in December.
Enrollment dropped during the pandemic and the administration had to make costly investments in technology and campus safety measures, according to a statement from the school.
A shrinking endowment put additional pressure on the college’s budget.
The ransomware attack, which the college has said originated from Iran, thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data. Systems for recruitment, retention, and fundraising were completely inoperable at a time when the administration needed them most.
In March, the college paid the ransom, which it has said amounted to less than $100,000. But according to Lincoln’s statement, subsequent projections showed enrollment shortfalls so significant the college would need a transformational donation or partnership to make it beyond the present semester.
The college put out a request for $50 million in a last-ditch effort to save itself, but no one came forward to provide it.
A GoFundMe aiming to raise $20 million for the college only collected $2,452 as of Tuesday.
Students and Employees Give a Bittersweet Goodbye
“The loss of history, careers, and a community of students and alumni is immense,” David Gerlach, the college’s president, said in a statement.
Lincoln counts nearly 1,000 enrolled students, and those who did not graduate this spring will leave the institution without degrees.
Gerlach has said that 22 colleges have worked with Lincoln to accept the remaining students, including their credits, tuition prices, and residency requirements.
“I was shocked and saddened by that news because of me being a freshman, so now I have to find someplace for me to go,” one student told WMBD News after the closure was announced.
When a group of students confronted Gerlach at his office about the closure, he responded with an emotional speech.
“I have been fighting hard to save this place,” he said. “But resources are resources. We’ve done everything we possibly could.”
On April 30, alumni were invited back to the campus to revisit the highlights of their college years before the institution closed.
On Saturday, the college held its final graduation ceremony, where over 200 students accepted their diplomas and Quentin Brackenridge performed the Lincoln Alma Mater.
Last year, 1,043 schools in the U.S. were the victim of ransomware attacks, including 26 colleges or universities, according to an analysis by Emsisoft.
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (Herald Review) (CNN)
U.S. Tops One Million Coronavirus Deaths, WHO Estimates 15 Million Worldwide
India’s real COVID death toll stands at about 4.7 million, ten times higher than official data, the WHO estimated.
One Million Dead
The United States officially surpassed one million coronavirus deaths Wednesday, 26 months after the first death was reported in late February of 2020.
Experts believe that figure is likely an undercount, since there are around 200,000 excess deaths, though some of those may not be COVID-related.
The figure is the equivalent of the population of San Jose, the tenth-largest city in the U.S., vanishing in just over two years. To put the magnitude in visual perspective, NECN published a graphic illustrating what one million deaths looks like.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the White House predicted between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans would die from the coronavirus in a best-case scenario.
By February 2021, over half a million Americans had died of COVID.
The coronavirus has become the third leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer.
The pandemic’s effects go beyond its death toll. Around a quarter of a million children have lost a caregiver to the virus, including about 200,000 who lost one or both parents. Every COVID-related death leaves an estimated nine people grieving.
The virus has hit certain industries harder than others, with food and agriculture, warehouse operations and manufacturing, and transportation and construction seeing especially high death rates.
People’s mental health has also been affected, with a study in January of five Western countries including the U.S. finding that 13% of people reported symptoms of PTSD attributable to actual or potential contact with the virus.
Fifteen Million Dead
On Thursday, the World Health Organization estimated that nearly 15 million people have died from the pandemic worldwide, a dramatic revision from the 5.4 million previously reported in official statistics.
Between January 2020 and the end of last year, the WHO estimated that between 13.3 million and 16.6 million people died either due to the coronavirus directly or because of factors somehow attributed to the pandemic’s impact on health systems, such as cancer patients who were unable to seek treatment when hospitals were full of COVID patients.
Based on that range, scientists arrived at an approximate total of 14.9 million.
The new estimate shows a 13% increase in deaths than is usually expected for a two-year period.
“This may seem like just a bean-counting exercise, but having these WHO numbers is so critical to understanding how we should combat future pandemics and continue to respond to this one,” Dr. Albert Ko, an infectious diseases specialist at the Yale School of Public Health who was not linked to the WHO research, told the Associated Press.
Most of the deaths occurred in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
According to the WHO, India counts the most deaths by far with 4.7 million, ten times its official number.
See what others are saying: (NBC) (U.S. News and World Report) (Scientific American)
Official Says Missing Alabama Convict and Corrections Officer Had a “Special Relationship”
Authorities have also said they now believe the officer willfully helped the inmate escape.
New Information on Missing Inmate & Officer
Authorities in Alabama revealed Tuesday that Assistant Director of Corrections for Lauderdale County Vicky White, who is accused of helping a murder suspect Casey Cole White escape from jail, had a “special relationship” with the inmate.
“Investigators received information from inmates at the Lauderdale County Detention Center over the weekend that there was a special relationship between Director White and inmate Casey White,” Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said in a statement. “That relationship has now been confirmed through our investigation by independent sources and means.”
Officials have previously said that the two are not related, despite their shared surname.
Singleton elaborated on the nature of the relationship while speaking to CNN later on Tuesday. He said it took place “outside of her normal work hours” and added that although it did not include “physical contact,” he still characterized it as “a relationship of a different nature.”
“We were told Casey White got special privileges and was treated differently while in the facility than the other inmates,” Singleton said.
Also on Tuesday, the Marshals Service issued a statement confirming that authorities believe Officer White had helped Mr. White escape. The authorities described her as a “wanted fugitive” and offered a $5,000 reward for any information on her whereabouts. Earlier this week, the Marshals Service also offered a $10,000 reward for any information that could lead to Mr. White’s capture.
Singleton echoed the belief that Officer White’s actions were intentional while speaking to Good Morning America Wednesday.
“I think all of our employees and myself included were really hoping that she did not participate in this willingly. But all indications are that she absolutely did,” he said. “We’re very disappointed in that because we had the utmost trust in her as an employee and as an assistant director of corrections.”
Vicky White and Casey White were last seen leaving the Lauderdale County jail just after 9:30 a.m. Friday. The officer told other employees that she was taking the inmate to a mental health evaluation at a courthouse just down the road, and that she would be going to a medical appointment after because she was not feeling well.
Officials later said her actions violated an official policy that required two sworn deputies to transport people with murder charges. In 2020, Mr. White was charged with two counts of capital murder in connection to a fatal stabbing he confessed to and was awaiting his trial in Lauderdale County.
Mr. White was also serving time for what officials said was a “crime spree” in 2015 which included home invasion, carjacking, and a police chase. He had also previously tried to escape from jail, police said.
It wasn’t until 3:30 p.m. on Friday that a jail employee reported to higher-ups that he was not able to reach Officer White on her phone and that Mr. White had never been returned to his cell.
During a press conference that same night, Singleton told reporters that there had never even been a scheduled mental health evaluation. At another briefing Monday, he announced that an arrest warrant had been issued for Vicky on a charge of “permitting or facilitating an escape in the first degree.”
At the time, Singleton said it was unclear “whether she did that willingly or was coerced or threatened” but added, “we know for sure she did participate.”