Ethics in Journalism


It’s getting hard to find, and apparently you won’t find it at the NY Post. They ran a sensationalist, titillating story about a NY paramedic who also opened an OnlyFans account to try and make ends meet, sneering at her “racy” content (curiously, also including a few “racy” photos for those who read the NY Post), and ending with a quote from a veteran paramedic who “blasted” her for her choice of a side job, and a quote from the website of her employer that forbids “inappropriate conduct”. The story is clearly trying to stoke Puritanical outrage and get her fired.

Well, Lauren Caitlyn Kwei has fired back at the “journalist”.

Lauren Caitlyn Kwei
December 14 at 7:35 PM ·
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. 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. When Dean Balsamini first “interviewed” me, he did not tell me what this was about until after I disclosed most of my background. 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. I know my actions have consequences and I know some of you think I was naive. I truly believe whoever “tipped” the post does not know me personally because anyone who knows me knows the kind of person I am. Let me tell you who I am. This is me.
I’m twenty-three years old and from a small town in West Virginia. My mother’s family is from northern West Virginia and my father’s parents were immigrants from China. I am the eldest of 4 children and our family was one of the only mixed race families in my predominately white town. I graduated from Winfield High School in a class of 200, the largest at the time. During high school, I was active in show choir, GSA, NHS, and dance classes. I moved to NYC when I was 18 to pursue my lifelong dream of being on broadway. I completed AMDA, started auditioning, and then decided it wasn’t for me anymore. So I became an EMT. I worked as an EMT for a year then I quit because I couldn’t put myself through paramedic school on minimum wage. I went back to hosting at a restaurant to make ends meet while I worked a year through paramedic school, which was one of the most challenging things I have ever done. I graduated paramedic school in February of 2020 and have been working ever since. I struggled a lot during the height of the pandemic. I was suicidal a lot of this year. I had panic attacks at work and even had a supervisor tell me I should consider another profession if I didn’t grow a thicker skin. I am a damn good paramedic. I LOVE my job and I love taking care of people. I don’t want to quit my day job and get my bag on OnlyFans — I want to serve the city of New York. That’s all I have ever wanted to do. I have always believed in using my voice to speak for those who many not be heard I was raised to ALWAYS show kindness and compassion. 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. At least three NYC EMS workers died by suicide this year and there has been very little action about the lack of mental health care accessibility for first responders. EMS are the lowest paid first responders in NYC which leads to 50+ hour weeks and sometimes three jobs. My brothers and sisters DESERVE CHANGE! Visit emspac.org for a Mission Statement and to see how you can help. How’s that for a story, NY Post?!
Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart for your donations, support, and love. I am so thankful and plan on using this platform to voice the needs of my NYC EMS family. This is just the beginning, folks.
Lauren Caitlyn Kwei

The real story is that young people all across the country are struggling to make a living and are particularly hard hit by this pandemic, even as the rich prosper even more. It is especially tragic that health care workers are made to suffer most even as we need them most. You don’t get to decry individuals making choices about how to earn an income while simultaneously supporting a system that demeans and diminishes their choices, while also setting irrational priorities that harm society. Who hurts us most, a woman taking her clothes off on camera or a billionaire sucking out all the wealth of a nation?

Oh, and fuck the NY Post.

Comments

  1. raven says

    fuck the NY Post

    That was my exact thought in those words before I even got halfway down.
    Fuck the NY Post.

    Health care workers have been hit hard by this pandemic.
    No one is keeping close track but thousands at least have caught the virus and died.

  2. raven says

    Her story is familiar.
    Another young woman who made a living by taking her clothes off occasionally is…Melanie Knauss, the Slovenian model now known as Melanie Trump, First Lady of the USA.

    These days, with ubiquitous cameras and the internet, more and more people are just shrugging and saying “so what” at the startling discovery that human people have human bodies.

  3. says

    @2 I think the real problem here is that it’s a woman who can make something of a living using her intelligence and who is exercising agency and control over her body.

  4. garnetstar says

    AOC’s comment was, as usual, spot-on: “The real headline here is that a paramedic needs a second job to get by.” (paraphrase).

    And, in what way is taking off ones clothes, etc., “inappropriate”? I’ll bet that the patients she and all paramedics help wouldn’t care a bit if all of them showed up nude. They save the patient’s lives, and that’s what those patients need.

    Why aren’t EMS salaries like those of, say, fire fighters?

  5. raven says

    And, in what way is taking off ones clothes, etc., “inappropriate”?

    What is way inappropriate here, is the NY Post bullying a young EMS, just because they can for no real point whatsoever.

    Fuck the NY Post and Rupert Murdoch (the owner).

  6. Anton Mates says

    quote from the website of her employer that forbids “inappropriate conduct”

    What possible negative impact on her employer could this “conduct” have? Are injured people going to say “Hey, I saw you on OnlyFans! That was absolutely scandalous and I refuse to let you keep me from bleeding out!”?

  7. says

    garnetstar (#5) –

    Why aren’t EMS salaries like those of, say, fire fighters?

    Some have also – justifiably – asked why Kwei’s photos are “scandalous” but not the male firefighters doing shirtless beefcake pictures.

  8. lumipuna says

    Just out of curiosity, what kind of private conduct would be most likely/predictably/reasonably found “inappropriate” in this context? Someone engaging in neonazi activism? or antivaxx activism? Or both?*

    *There was just now a not-very-shocking scoop from Swedish journalists who had infiltrated an antivaxx group in a Swedish-speaking area of Finland. As it turns out, the group’s leader, a notorious antivaxx activist who works as a local sports coach, is also one of those “casualties of the Holocaust have been greatly exaggerated” people. She just recently won some local award for her coaching work, but now her employment is being “reconsidered”.

  9. raven says

    Someone engaging in neonazi activism? or antivaxx activism? Or both?*

    I’m many orders of magnitude more offended by fundie xians, the GOP, and Trump voters.

    They are trying very hard to wreck the country while this young woman is holding down an important medical service job in the time of the pandemic with widespread illness and death,.

  10. Anton Mates says

    By the way, a GoFundMe for Ms. Kwei has already raised over $80,000, which might sound like a lot but will probably evaporate like morning dew if she pursues legal action against the Post. It’s worth noting that this is around two years’ salary for the typical EMS worker…even if they have to live and rent in NYC.

    @garnetstar #5,

    Why aren’t EMS salaries like those of, say, fire fighters?

    To be honest, they aren’t that different. A typical EMS salary is around $35k; a typical paramedic’s salary is around $40k; a typical full-time firefighter’s salary is around $50k, but the majority of US firefighters are volunteers or slaves prison inmates, so you gotta factor that in. Very few of these people are paid what they deserve (but then, that’s true of most Americans who aren’t upper management.)

    The average full-time police officer makes around $68k, by comparison.

  11. garnetstar says

    Wow, I can’t imagine trying to live in NYC on $35-$50K. Renting an apartment costs close to that.

    lumipuna @9, that’s a good question! I once read of a firefighter–he must have been a full-time one, because they fired him–who posted on Facebook that he’d save a dog from a burning house rather than any black people. Now, that really was too germane!

    Maybe what you say, though: anti-vax, white supremacist, someone who administers Reiki to the patients instead of resucitation….

  12. wzrd1 says

    Consider those EMS workers, dealing with COVID patients galore, as well as climbing into barely stabilized inverted vehicles, stabilizing the c-spine of a patient while gasoline is still leaking from above.

    I mentioned that in the past, as well as the shit pay to a GOP/Libertarian type, “Oh well, they knew the risks taking the job”, I tore up my EMT-P right in front of the group and told all present to enjoy frying.
    Only did it for the military after that, for slightly better pay and benefits.
    Again, the reason that we can’t have nice things. Self-entitled prices fuck things up for all.

    As for a naked EMT-P showing up, I’d direct the same to a locker near the back door with PPE inside. Trauma naked is for patients. Just slide over some nitrile gloves and the trauma kit while we’re waiting.
    Scene safety, dammit!

  13. wzrd1 says

    Oh, I forgot to mention…
    I hang up on journalists. Always, the reason is readily apparent.
    But, when “protecting sources” defense is used, this juror will take stories under advisement. Magic 8-ball says, “outlook not good”.
    Why we can’t have nice things…

  14. Jado says

    I can hear the Outragasuruses now.

    But…but…but…

    But I worked my own way thru college way back in the before times when minimum wage was proportionally equivalent to $22/hr, and the cost of college was 1/4 proportionally to its cost now.

    When IIIiiiiiii was a young adult, the cost of living was so low proportionally to wages that I could live off my gas station job just fine.

    Why don’t young people just live in the early 70s like I did? It’s not so hard. Young people nowadays just don’t understand how to live within their means

  15. Jazzlet says

    @Jado
    “If they just stopped eating avocado toast they could buy a house of their own”*

    *The British version of “your” reasons. In the UK in the 70s not only was tuition free, but you got a grant to cover your living expenses of £300 a year.

  16. says

    I was planning to register on OnlyFans and donating her the equivalent of yearly NYP subscription but her account is closed or sth.

Leave a Reply