- 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)
New COVID-19 Variant Could Become Dominant in the U.S. by March, CDC Warns
- The CDC warned Friday that a new highly transmissible COVID-19 variant could become the predominant variant in the United States by March.
- The strain was first reported in the United Kingdom in December and is now in at least 10 states.
- The CDC used a modeled trajectory to discover how quickly the variant could spread in the U.S. and said that this could threaten the country’s already overwhelmed healthcare system.
CDC Issues Warning
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday that the new COVID-19 variant could become the predominant variant in the United States by March.
While it is not known to be more deadly, it does spread at a higher rate, which is troubling considering the condition the U.S. is already in. Cases and deaths are already on the rise in nearly every state and globally, 2 million lives have been lost to the coronavirus.
The variant was first reported in the United Kingdom in mid-December. It is now in 30 countries, including the U.S., where cases have been located in at least ten states. Right now, only 76 cases of this variant have been confirmed in the U.S., but experts believe that number is likely much higher and said it will increase significantly in the coming weeks. It is already a dominant strain in parts of the U.K.
Modeled trajectory shows that growth in the U.S. could be so fast that it dominates U.S. cases just three months into the new year. This could pose a huge threat to our already strained healthcare system.
Mitigating Spread of Variant
“I want to stress that we are deeply concerned that this strain is more transmissible and can accelerate outbreaks in the U.S. in the coming weeks,” said Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the CDC told the New York Times. “We’re sounding the alarm and urging people to realize the pandemic is not over and in no way is it time to throw in the towel.”
The CDC advises that health officials use this time to limit spread and increase vaccination as much as possible in order to mitigate the impact this variant will have. Experts believe that current vaccines will protect against this strain.
“Effective public health measures, including vaccination, physical distancing, use of masks, hand hygiene, and isolation and quarantine, will be essential,” the CDC said in their report.
“Strategic testing of persons without symptoms but at higher risk of infection, such as those exposed to SARS-CoV-2 or who have frequent unavoidable contact with the public, provides another opportunity to limit ongoing spread.”
See what others are saying: (Wall Street Journal) (New York Times) (NBC News)
Former Michigan Gov. and 8 Others Charged Over Flint Water Crisis
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. (Al Goldis/AP)
- Ex-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty Wednesday for his role in the Flint water crisis
- By Thursday, eight more former state and city officials were charged with crimes ranging from involuntary manslaughter to extortion.
- Flint residents have long awaited this news. In 2019, prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against 15 officials and said they would start the investigation from scratch, citing concerns about how the special counsel had conducted its probe.
Rick Snyder Charges
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office said Thursday that it had filed 41 charges against nine former state and city officials for their role in the Flint water crisis.
The most high-profile figure to be charged was former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. On Wednesday, he was hit with two counts of willful neglect of duty.
He was the state’s top executive when local officials decided to switch the city’s drinking water source to the Flint River in 2014.
The switch was supposed to be a temporary cost-saving measure while a pipeline was being built to Lake Huron. However, the water wasn’t treated properly for corrosion, so lead-contaminated water was released into the homes of people all over the city. Because of that, 12 people died and at least 90 were sickened with Legionnaires’ disease.
Snyder appeared in court this morning via Zoom, pleading not guilty to the two misdemeanor charges. If convicted he could face up to a year in prison and as much as a $1,000 fine.
His charges alone are significant because they make him the first governor or former governor in the state to ever be charged with a crime for alleged conduct while in office.
8 Others Charged
Along with Snyder, eight others were charged, including a former state health director Nick Lyon. Lyon received nine charges of involuntary manslaughter, among others.
Richard Baird, one of Snyder’s closes advisors was changed for extortion, perjury, and obstructions of justice. Others who were charged include:
- Jarrod Agen, Snyder’s former chief of staff and Vice President Mike Pence’s former communications director.
- Dr. Eden Wells, a former chief medical executive for the state Department of Health and Human Services.
- Darnell Earley, former Flint finance director and state-appointed emergency manager.
- Gerald Ambrose, former state-appointed emergency manager.
- Howard Croft, former Flint Public Works Director.
- Nancy Peeler, the state’s director of maternal, infant and early childhood home visiting for the health department.
Flint residents have waited a long time for justice over the water contamination issue. Prosecutors previously dropped all 15 criminal charges tied to the Flint case in 2019 and said the investigation would begin again from scratch.
At the time, they cited concerns about how the special counsel had conducted its probe.
It also wasn’t until last year that the state reached a $600 million settlement with victims, establishing a fund from which residents can file for compensation.
See what others are saying: (NPR) (The Detroit News) (Detroit Free Press)
Three Lawmakers Test Positive for COVID-19 Following Capitol Attack
- At least three Congressmembers have tested positive for COVID-19 following Wednesday’s pro-Trump attack on the Capitol.
- Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) believe they contracted the virus after locking down in close quarters with numerous Republican lawmakers who refused to wear masks.
- Jayapal and Schneider are calling for those who did not wear a mask to face consequences.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman Tests Positive
At least three members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19 after locking down in close quarters with other House members during Wednesday’s pro-Trump attack on the Capitol.
Congress’ attending physician, Brian Monahan, warned that members may have been exposed during the lockdown. He recommended that everyone who was isolated inside should get tested for the virus.
On Monday Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) became the first to announce that she tested positive. Watson Coleman believes she was exposed while in the Capitol lockdown. In her statement, she cited the multiple Republicans who refused to wear masks while inside. Video footage from Punchbowl News shows a Democratic lawmaker handing out masks and a handful of Republicans declining to take one.
Watson Coleman is a 75-year-old lung cancer survivor. While she said she is only experiencing cold-like symptoms, she tweeted that per a doctor’s suggestion, she headed to a local hospital for antibody treatment. She also encouraged those who sheltered in place to get tested.
More Cases Follow
Later on Monday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said she too had tested positive, also blaming a lack of mask-wearing in the Capitol. In a lengthy Twitter thread, she said Republicans created a superspreader event and demanded consequences for their actions.
“Many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic—creating a superspreader event ON TOP of a domestic terrorist attack,” she wrote.
“Any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable,” Jayapal added.
“I’m calling for every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol to be fined and removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms.”
Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) echoed her frustrations on Tuesday after releasing a statement saying he has become the third House member to have tested positive following the lockdown.
“Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff,” he wrote.
Like Jayapal, he is calling for sanctions against those who opted to not wear masks.
Many health officials feared that this lockdown could lead to a surge in cases. They also worry that the mob itself could lead to a superspreader event as most of those who attacked the Capitol were not wearing masks and were crowding together both inside and outside of the building.