A New York City paramedic who was outed by the New York Post for posting nude photos for profit online is speaking out to defend herself. And 23-year-old Lauren Kwei is getting help from the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Post story last week identified Kwei as the operator of an OnlyFans account at which she posts racy photos and videos of herself to subscribers. The piece included reaction from an unnamed fellow paramedic who said, “Other EMTs and paramedics make more money by pulling extra shifts, instead of pulling off their clothes." In the story, Kwei defended herself. "I don’t get paid a lot," she said. "I’m just trying to make ends meet." She added that “I truly don’t think this has anything to do with being a paramedic.” In a new op-ed at the Independent, Kwei—who has not lost her job over the controversy—doubles down on that.
"How I make my money in order to help those in need is nobody’s business but my own, and certainly no patient has asked if I’m on OnlyFans before allowing me to help them," writes Kwei. She uses most of the piece, however, to describe her work transporting COVID patients to the hospital, along with the "overwhelming loneliness and helplessness" she's felt being separated from her family in her native West Virginia. Meanwhile, a backlash has developed over the Post article. “Leave her alone," tweeted AOC. "The actual scandalous headline here is 'Medics in the United States need two jobs to survive.'" Jezebel blogger Marie Solis complained that the newspaper "reached a new low" with the story. And the Daily Beast notes that supporters are flooding a GoFundMe site set up on Kwei's behalf. It had more than $80,000 as of Thursday afternoon. (Read more paramedics stories.)