- 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)
Biden to Mandate COVID Vaccines for Federal Workers as CDC Changes Masking Guidance
News of the efforts came on the same day that the U.S. reported more than 100,000 new daily COVID cases for the first time since February.
Federal Vaccine Mandate
President Joe Biden will announce Thursday that all federal employees must get vaccinated against COVID-19 or consent to strict testing and other safety precautions, White House officials told reporters Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Biden said he was considering the requirement but did not provide any more information.
While the officials also said the details are still being hashed out, they did note that the policy would be similar to ones recently put in place by California and New York City, which respectively required state and city workers to get the jab or submit to regular testing.
Also on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their guidelines to recommend that Americans who live in areas “of substantial or high transmission,” as well as all students and teachers, wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status.
Delta Causes Spikes, But Vaccines Still Prove Effective
The renewed COVID mitigation efforts come as the delta variant is driving massive surges all over the country.
Coronavirus cases have quadrupled throughout July, jumping from a weekly average of 11,799 on the first day of the month to 63,248 on Tuesday, according to The New York Times tracker. Tuesday also saw new daily infections topping 100,000 for the first time since February, with more than 108,000 reported, per The Times.
While the vast majority of new infections are among people who have not been vaccinated, there have also been increasing reports of breakthrough cases in people who have received the jab.
Those cases, however, do not mean that the vaccines are not effective.
No vaccine prevents 100% of infections. Health officials have said time and time again that the jabs are intended to prevent severe disease and death, and they are doing just that.
According to the most recent data for July 19, the CDC reported that only 5,914 of the more than 161 million Americans who have gotten the vaccine were hospitalized or died from COVID-19 — a figure that represents 0.0036% of vaccinated people.
While safety precautions may be recommended for some people who have received the vaccine, many media narratives have overstated the role breakthrough cases play in the recent spikes. As New York Magazine explains, it is imperative to understand these new mask recommendations are not happening because the vaccine is not effective, but because not enough people are getting the vaccine.
“Because breakthrough infections have so often made the news due to their novelty, that can create a perception of more cases than are actually happening — particularly without more robust tracking of the actual cases to provide context,” the outlet wrote.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (CNBC)
Wisconsin Police Deny Planting Evidence in Viral Video, Release Their Own Body Cam Footage
The footage police released shows that during a search, officers found a corner tear from a plastic bag inside a backseat passenger’s pocket. An officer then discarded it into the car after determining that it was empty.
Viral Video Appears To Show Officer Planting Evidence
The Caledonia Police Department in Wisconsin has responded to a viral cell phone video that appears to show an officer planting a small plastic baggie inside of a car during a traffic stop.
The now-viral footage was posted to Facebook by a man who goes by GlockBoy Savoo.
The user, who also filmed the clip, wrote in his post’s caption that the officer did this “just to get a reason to search the car” and said the cop didn’t know he was being recorded by the passenger.
Police Shut Down Accusations With Their Own Footage
After that video spread across social media, many were outraged, calling the Caledonia police dirty for seemingly planting evidence. All the outrage eventually prompted the department to announce an investigation Saturday.
Within hours, the department provided an update, claiming that officers didn’t actually plant any evidence or do anything illegal.
Police shared a lengthy summary of events, along with two body camera clips from the incident. That statement explained that the driver of the vehicle was pulled over for going 63 in a 45mph zone.
Two passengers in the backseat who were then spotted without seatbelts were asked to identify themselves and step out of the car. During a search of one passenger’s pockets, an officer pulled out “an empty corner tear” from a plastic baggie.
Police claim the corner tear did not contain any illegal substances, though they said this type of packaging is a common method for holding illegal drugs.
In one body cam clip, an officer can be heard briefly questioning the backseat passenger about the baggie. Then, that piece of plastic gets handed off to different officers who also determined it as empty before the officer in the original viral video discarded it into the back of the car.
The officer can also be seen explaining where the plastic came from to the passenger recording him.
“Aye, bro you just threw that in here!” the front seat passenger says, as heard in his version of the events.
“Yeah, cause it was in his pocket and I don’t want to hold onto it. It’s on their body cam that they took it off of him…I’m telling you where it came from, so. It’s an empty baggie at the moment too, so,” the officer replies.
The department went on to explain that while it would discourage officers from discarding items into a citizen’s car, this footage proves that evidence was not planted.
Authorities also noted that no arrests were made in this incident and the driver was the only one issued a citation for speeding. The statement added that since four officers were present at the scene, police have more than six hours of footage to review but they promised to release the footage in full in the near future.
See what others are saying: (Heavy)(CBS 58) (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Medical Groups, Local Leaders Push for Healthcare Workers and Public Employees To Get Vaccinated
The move comes as COVID cases have nearly quadrupled in the last month due to the rapid spread of the highly infectious delta variant.
Increased Calls for Mandatory Vaccinations in Certain Sectors
More than 50 of America’s largest medical groups representing millions of healthcare workers issued a statement Monday calling for employers of all health and long-term care providers to require mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.
The groups, which included the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and 55 others, cited contagious new variants — including delta — and low vaccination rates.
“Vaccination is the primary way to put the pandemic behind us and avoid the return of stringent public health measures,” they wrote.
The call to action comes as new COVID cases have almost quadrupled during the month of July, jumping from just around 13,000 infections a day at the beginning of this month to more than 50,000.
While the vast majority of new infections and hospitalizations are among those who have not received the vaccines, many healthcare workers remain unvaccinated. According to data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, over 38% of nursing home staff were not fully vaccinated as of July 11.
An analysis by WebMD and Medscape Medical News found that around 25% of hospital workers who were in contact with patients had not been vaccinated by the end of May when vaccinations became widely available.
In addition to calls for medical professionals to get vaccinated, some local leaders have also begun to impose mandates for public employees as cases continue spiking.
Last month, San Francisco announced that it was requiring all city workers to get vaccinated. Also on Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that all municipal employees — including police officers and teachers — must either get the jab or agree to weekly testing by the time school starts in September.
Dr. Fauci Says U.S. Officials Are Considering Revising Mask Guidance for Vaccinated People
Numerous top U.S. health officials have applauded efforts by local leaders to mitigate further spread of the coronavirus, including the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who confirmed Sunday that federal officials are actively considering whether to revise federal masking guidelines to recommend that vaccinated Americans wear face coverings in public settings.
In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people who are vaccinated do not need to mask in public. Although that was a non-binding recommendation, many states and cities that had not already lifted restrictions on masking began to do so shortly after.
But now, local leaders in areas seeing big spikes have begun reimposing mask mandates — even for those who are vaccinated — including major counties like Los Angeles and St. Louis.
In his remarks Sunday, Fauci also emphasized that, despite claims from many conservatives, those efforts are in line with the federal recommendations, which leave space for local leaders to issue their own rules.
While Fauci and other top U.S. public health officials have encouraged local governments to take action, Republican lawmakers in several states are taking steps to limit the ability of local leaders and public health officials to take certain mitigation measures.
According to the Network for Public Health Law, at least 15 state legislatures have passed or are considering bills to limit the legal authority of public health agencies — and that does not even include unilateral action taken by governors.
Some of the leaders of states suffering the biggest spikes have banned local officials from imposing their own mask mandates, like Arkansas, which has the highest per capita cases in the country right now, as well as Florida, which currently ranks third.
Notably, some of the laws proposed or passed by Republicans could go beyond just preventing local officials from trying to mitigate surges in COVID cases and may have major implications for other public health crises.
For example, according to The Washington Post, a North Dakota law that bans mask mandates applies to other breakouts — even tuberculosis — while a new Montana law also bars the use of quarantine for people who have been exposed to an infectious disease but have not yet tested positive.