Nude Models Sell NSFW Photos to Raise Money for Australian Fire Relief - Rolling Stone
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Nude Models Are Selling NSFW Photos to Raise Money for Australian Fire Relief

By trading nude photos for donations to relief groups, people are raising thousands of dollars to help Australia — but some social media platforms are shutting them down

emmy elliott

Cranston Reid; Emmy Elliott/Instagram

The fires in Australia have been raging for months, destroying 14.8 million acres, displacing thousands of families from their homes, and killing at least 20 people. Appalled by the lack of media coverage of the fires, one woman decided to raise money by offering nudes in exchange for donations to a disaster relief fund — only to have her accounts disabled by Instagram not once, but twice.

Kaylen Ward, 20, is a California-based model and online sex worker who goes by the Naked Philanthropist on Twitter. On January 3rd, she posted a tweet promising to send nudes to anyone who donated at least $10 to one of the organizations on her list for disaster relief. “Every $10 you donate = one nude picture from me to your DM. You must send me confirmation that you donated,” she wrote along with the hashtag #AustraliaOnFire and a censored (but still probably NSFW) nude photo. The tweet went massively viral, garnering nearly 75,000 retweets as of Monday afternoon. In a follow-up tweet, Ward wrote that her efforts resulted in her campaign raising nearly $500,000 in a little more than two days.

Then Instagram abruptly disabled Ward’s account, even though she primarily ran the fundraising campaign on Twitter. When she tried to make another account, that one was disabled as well. All in all, Ward tweeted, Instagram has disabled three of her accounts, with a number of imposter accounts popping up in the process.

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Facebook (which owns Instagram) told Rolling Stone, “This account was disabled for violating our policies. Offering nude images is not allowed on Instagram.” When asked which specific policy Ward violated by fundraising in exchange for nudes, the spokesperson directed Rolling Stone to Facebook’s policy prohibiting sexual solicitation, including “offering or asking for…nude photos/videos/imagery.” (Ward has denied violating Instagram’s policies.) But the success of Ward’s fundraising efforts prompted many other nude models to band together and kickstart their own campaigns.

“The Australian bushfires are probably one of the greatest tragedies of our time, but no one is fundraising or pledging to rebuild things like at Notre Dame,” said one model, Aphrodite Aeria, who has raised a little more than $2,000 on her Twitter soliciting donations in exchange for nudes “But if each individual person is giving as they can, we can actually make a difference.”

Another model, Emmy Corinne, told Rolling Stone that even though she has not exclusively sent nudes to her followers, she has avoided posting about her campaign on Instagram, “because I saw that people got their accounts deleted for mentioning it. Instagram is super strict, [and] even words I post get flagged,” she says. She’s primarily raised the money on Twitter, which has more lax guidelines regarding posting NSFW content; all told, she says she’s raised more than $10,000 in just a day and a half.

For many sex workers, fundraising on social media can be difficult. Many large crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe have traditionally been hostile to sex workers, even if their campaigns are unrelated to their businesses and do not violate their terms of service; in 2015, for instance, crowdfunding platform WePay rejected a campaign from a sex worker who had developed a rare infection and was trying to crowdfund for medical treatment. Other mainstream charitable organizations, such as Susan G. Komen, have explicitly rejected donations from sex workers or adult companies, on the grounds that large corporate donors may be wary of having their names appear next to companies like Pornhub or Redtube.

Ward, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has faced both personal and professional backlash: in addition to losing her Instagram account, where she had 50,000 followers, she tweeted that the fallout from the campaign has negatively affected her relationship with her family, who do not approve of her selling nudes. But her fundraising campaign has undoubtedly galvanized nude models not just to fundraise for a good cause, but also to help broaden the public’s understanding of what it means to offer sexual services in exchange for money. As one of Ward’s friends, who goes by Hae, said in a video she posted on Twitter in support of Ward, the campaign has provided an opportunity for people “to come out about their sex work or selling nudes because this is the biggest, most positive thing you can tie your sex work to.”

“No matter what, the general public has this negative stigma against people who sell nudes and whatnot, and this is the first time in a while that selling nudes has been directly tied to humanitarian aid,” Hae told Rolling Stone in a Twitter direct message. “Kaylen tied ‘selling nudes’ to ‘philanthropy’ and I really hope it gives the public a gut check as to what they think of those that are in that line of work.”

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In This Article: Australia, Instagram, Sex Work, Twitter

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