- 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)
SCOTUS Rules in Favor of Police in Two Qualified Immunity Cases
The move further solidifies the contentious legal doctrine that protects officers who commit alleged constitutional violations.
SCOTUS Hears Qualified Immunity Cases
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of police in two separate cases involving qualified immunity, the controversial legal doctrine that shields officers accused of violating constitutional rights from lawsuits.
The topic has become a major flashpoint in debates over police reform and curbing police violence since the protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the summer of 2020.
On one side, supporters of qualified immunity claim it is necessary to ensure that police can do their jobs without worrying about frivolous lawsuits.
However, opponents argue that judicial interpretations of the doctrine over time have given police incredibly broad legal immunity for misconduct and use of excessive force. Under a previous Supreme Court ruling, in order for officers to be held liable, plaintiffs have to show that they violated rights “clearly established” by a previous ruling.
In other words, officers cannot be held liable unless there is another case that involves almost identical circumstances.
As a result, many argue the doctrine creates a Catch-22: Officers are shielded from liability because there is no past precedent, but the reason there is no past precedent is because officers are shielded from liability in the first place.
An Ongoing Debate
Critics argue that the two cases the Supreme Court saw Monday illustrate that double bind, as both involved accusations of excessive force commonly levied against police.
In one case, officers used non-lethal bean bag rounds against a suspect and knelt on his back to subdue him. In the other, police shot and killed a suspect after he threatened them with a hammer.
The justices overturned both lower-court rulings without ordering full briefing and argument because of the lack of precedent. The court issued the decisions in unsigned orders with no dissent, signaling they did not even see the cases as close calls.
Advocates for qualified immunity claim the decisions signal that the current Supreme Court is not open to changing qualified immunity, and the most likely path for opponents of the doctrine is legislation.
While Democrats in Congress have made numerous efforts to limit qualified immunity, including most recently in the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act passed by the House earlier this year, all those attempts have been blocked by Republicans.
At the state level, dozens of bills have been killed after heavy lobbying from police unions. As a result, it remains unclear what path proponents for reform have at this juncture.
See what others are saying: (NPR) (The New York Times) (The Washington Post)
Florida School Says Students Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Must Stay Home for 30 Days
The school falsely claimed that people who have just been vaccinated risk “shedding” the coronavirus and could infect others.
Centner Academy Vaccination Policy
A private school in Florida is now requiring all students who get vaccinated against COVID-19 to quarantine for 30 days before returning to class.
According to the local Miami outlet WSVN, Centner Academy wrote a letter to parents last week describing COVID vaccines as “experimental” and citing anti-vaccine misinformation.
“If you are considering the vaccine for your Centner Academy student(s), we ask that you hold off until the Summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease,” the letter reportedly stated.
“Because of the potential impact on other students and our school community, vaccinated students will need to stay at home for 30 days post-vaccination for each dose and booster they receive and may return to school after 30 days as long as the student is healthy and symptom-free.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has debunked the false claim that those newly vaccinated against COVID-19 can “shed” the virus.
According to the agency’s COVID myths page, vaccine shedding “can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus,” but “none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.”
In fact, early research has suggested that vaccinated people are less likely to spread the virus than unvaccinated people.
Beyond that, unvaccinated people are more likely to spread COVID in general because they are much more likely to get the virus than vaccinated people. According to recently published CDC data, as of August, unvaccinated people were six times more likely to get COVID than vaccinated people and 11 times more likely to die from the virus.
Centner Academy Continues Spread of Misinformation
In a statement to The Washington Post Monday, Centner Academy co-founder David Centner doubled down on the school’s new policy, which he described as a “precautionary measure” based on “numerous anecdotal cases that have been in circulation.”
“The school is not opining as to whether unexplained phenomena have a basis in fact, however we prefer to err on the side of caution when making decisions that impact the health of the school community,” he added.
The new rule echoes similar efforts Centner Academy has made that run counter to public health guidance and scientific knowledge.
In April, the school made headlines when its leadership told vaccinated school employees that they were not allowed to be in contact with any students “until more information is known” and encouraged employees to wait until summer to get the jab.
According to The New York Times, the following week, a math and science teacher allegedly told students not to hug their vaccinated parents for more than five seconds.
The outlet also reported that the school’s other co-founder, Leila Centner, discouraged masking, but when state health officials came for routine inspections, teachers said they were directed in a WhatsApp group to put masks on.
See what others are saying: (WSVN) (The Washington Post) (Business Insider)
Katie Couric Says She Edited Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quote About Athletes Kneeling During National Anthem
Couric said she omitted part of a 2016 interview in order to “protect” the justice.
Kate Couric Edited Quote From Justice Ginsburg
In her upcoming book, journalist Katie Couric admitted to editing a quote from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2016 in order to “protect” Ginsberg from potential criticism.
Couric interviewed the late justice for an article in Yahoo News. During their discussion, she asked Ginsburg about her thoughts on athletes like Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial inequality.
“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Ginsburg is quoted saying in the piece. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”
According to The Daily Mail and The New York Post, which obtained advance copies of Couric’s book “Going There,” there was more to Ginsburg’s response. Couric wrote that she omitted a portion where Ginsburg said the form of protest showed a “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life…Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from.“
Couric Says She Lost Sleep Making Choice
“As they became older they realize that this was youthful folly,” Ginsberg reportedly continued. “And that’s why education is important.“
According to The Daily Mail, Couric wrote that the Supreme Court’s head of public affairs sent an email asking to remove comments about kneeling because Ginsburg had misspoken. Couric reportedly added that she felt a need to “protect” the justice, thinking she may not have understood the question. Couric reached out to her friend, New York Times reporter David Brooks, regarding the matter and he allegedly likewise believed she may have been confused by the subject.
Couric also wrote that she was a “big RBG fan” and felt her comments were “unworthy of a crusader for equality.” Because she knew the remarks could land Ginsburg in hot water, she said she “lost a lot of sleep” and felt “conflicted” about whether or not to edit them out.
Couric was trending on Twitter Wednesday and Thursday as people questioned the ethics behind her choice to ultimately cut part of the quote. Some thought the move showed a lack of journalistic integrity while others thought revealing the story now harmed Ginsburg’s legacy.