“Sex work is work,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote, retweeting a Rolling Stone magazine story that accused the New York Post of shaming the paramedic, 23-year-old Lauren Kwei, for posting content to the OnlyFans site in order to earn extra money.
The New York Democrat said any shame should be directed at the federal government, not at sex workers.
“The federal gov has done almost nothing to help people in months,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “We must pass stimulus checks, UI, small biz relief, hospital funding, etc.
“Keep the focus of shame there,” Ocasio-Cortez added, “not on marginalizing people surviving a pandemic without help.”
Earlier this month, Ocasio-Cortez found herself agreeing with Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, who has also called for stimulus checks for ordinary Americans to be part of the next coronavirus relief bill.
“I will gladly work w/ @AOC and anyone else who wants to help working families. Families and working people in need should be the FIRST consideration in COVID relief, not last,” Hawley wrote on Twitter on Dec. 4.
The Rolling Stone article reported that OnlyFans saw sign-ups by creators of racy content spike as much as 75 percent during the pandemic.
The article added that Kwei also worked as a hostess at a Korean restaurant in order to pay her bills – and then called out the Post for not “applauding her for her entrepreneurial spirit.”
The magazine also accuses the Post of imperiling Kwei’s job as a health care worker, although a representative of her employer, SeniorCare, told the Daily Beast there were no plans to terminate Kwei.
Ocasio-Cortez has previously advocated for decriminalizing sex work. Last year she joined fellow progressives Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in backing the SAFE SEX Workers Study Act.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., argued at the time that the bill was needed to help determine whether sex-trafficking laws currently on the books were having the effect of knocking sex workers off online sites – only to force them into money-earning situations that might be more dangerous.
The bill was referred to the House subcommittee on health but there was no indication that it advanced beyond that point, according to the Congress.gov website.