On Friday, some dude with a name I won’t repeat here because he doesn’t deserve the attention took to Facebook to urge his followers to report to the Internal Revenue Service sex workers who charge for premium Snapchat access. “Need to get rid of them, or they need to pay taxes if it’s real work,” he wrote. That post, which now has over a thousand comments, is being credited with launching the charmingly titled #ThotAudit, in which a crew of trolls is giddily calling for folks to tip off the IRS to individual sex workers for not reporting their income from social media.
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How these trolls would know anything about the inner workings of any individual sex worker’s tax dealings is a mystery. But the boy geniuses behind this ploy are mighty impressed with themselves. The aforementioned dude who started it all recently posted to his Facebook page an image depicting himself as a warrior holding up the heads of three women’s faces overlaid with Snapchat filters, along with the comment, “GAMERS RISE UP.”
On Saturday, a pickup artist and rape apologist with nearly 50,000 Twitter followers—and who, again, shall not be named—promoted the #ThotAudit hashtag with the following tweet, “Men are aggressively organizing to report all thots. I don’t blame them: these girls are getting a free ride via beta bux and a broken sexual marketplace that is rigged in the favor of females.” In case it wasn’t clear how little this has to do with taxes and how much it has to do with controlling women’s sexuality, he retweeted the following: “Why do so many young men of the
#ThotAudit feel resentful of young women who want to sell nudes without consequence? Because those men understand, at a deep lizard-brain level, that those women are a danger to the integrity of the tribe.”
Not too surprisingly, the Australian news site news.com.au refers to the #ThotAudit-ers as “right-wing ‘incels’ and men’s rights activists.” Some of the apparent participants/giddy onlookers are taking issue with the “incel” designation, but they are doing a good job of looking the part.
The real question is just how seriously to take the claims of an “aggressive” campaign. While many #ThotAudit-ers allege that they are, indeed, making formal reports to the IRS, there is no evidence to back up their claims. The IRS did not respond to Jezebel’s request for comment as of this writing—yes, I actually contacted the IRS over this bullshit—although the press representative who initially answered the media line clearly hadn’t heard about any of this.
Maggie McNeill, a sex worker and writer, told Jezebel, “Several of us were as amused by this as we were disgusted.” Amused, she explained, because of “its impotence,” and disgusted “by its ugliness.” McNeill continued, “It’s just a new retread of the ‘criminal sluts’ male fantasy of sex work: that we’re all ‘loose women’ who are too lazy to do ‘real work’ and make a killing without paying taxes.”
In truth, one of the sex workers highlighted as a potential target in a #ThotAudit Reddit thread recently took to Twitter to shrug that, uh, guys, she pays taxes on all of her Snapchat income, because of course she does.
Similarly, Siouxsie Q, an activist and porn performer, told Jezebel that “most sex workers I know are very aware of their tax responsibilities.” She also pointed out that the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, a non-profit that advocates for porn performers’ rights, has given free tax workshops for years. As porn performer and writer Lorelei Lee put it on Twitter, “Oh my god get over yourselves, sex workers already pay our taxes wtf stop it already.”
That isn’t to say that this ploy is simply laughed off. “Threats to call the IRS on sex workers are actually really frightening, NOT because we don’t pay our taxes, but because what is implied are actual threats of doxxing and stalking,” Lee added. In other words, it’s these trolls, not the IRS that poses the real threat.