The New York Post reached a new low on Friday when the outlet ran a story exposing a New York City paramedic as a part-time sex worker.
The article treats its subject—a 23-year-old who posts to an OnlyFans account to pay her bills—as someone demanding deep investigation and scrutiny, rather than as an everyday worker in the United States who needs to have more than one job to make ends meet.
The Post details where she’s from, why she came to New York, where she went to school, what she studied. It goes on to luridly discuss her sex work, detailing her height and weight, describing some of the photos and videos she sells, and publishing the handle to her page. The Post also includes a quote from a “veteran FDNY paramedic” who criticizes her for her part-time work, voicing what seems to me to be the explicit opinion of the piece: “Other EMTs and paramedics make more money by pulling extra shifts, instead of pulling off their clothes,” he said.
If there’s anything to take away from the story it’s that paramedics don’t get paid enough, and that she shouldn’t have to have a second job just to scrape by. But it should not have been reported to begin with, most of all because she says the authors of the piece didn’t respect her requests for anonymity, and now she’s at risk of losing her job.
On a GoFundMe page set up by an acquaintance from a Facebook group, she said she “begged” the reporter to whom she spoke to remain anonymous, and made it clear to him that he would be jeopardizing her job if he published her full name. Instead, she said, he went on to contact her employer and mother, publishing the story as it appears online as of this writing. (Jezebel has reached out to the Post for comment and will update this post if we hear back.)
The Post of course has a long history of writing about sex workers offensively, portraying them either as amusing oddities or as the root cause of society’s corruption—never as people. Stories about sex workers are lumped together with stories about trafficking or abuse, and the images accompanying them are often of the generic “street legs” variety, a term reporter Melissa Gira Grant uses to describe such stock imagery.
The paramedic said she won’t tolerate this treatment. “All my life, I have been sexualized and treated as a sex object, no matter what I do or say,” she wrote on her GoFundMe page Sunday night, when more people took notice of the Post’s story. “I sold pictures of myself on the internet for extra money because it’s easy.
“I didn’t pick up extra shifts because I cannot work 40+ hour weeks and maintain my mental health,” she continued. “I never once spoke of my pictures at work or used my job as a paramedic to solicit subscribers. I know I did nothing wrong and I have nothing to be ashamed of.”