Over Thanksgiving weekend, social media blew up over an internet subculture of women who trade pictures and videos of themselves performing lewd acts for money. Online activists took to social media to slow this shameful trade. It resulted in a viral hashtag, #ThotAudit, in which thousands of people reported these profiles to the Internal Revenue Service of suspected tax fraud.
Thot is internet slang for “that ho over there.” The word is meant to denigrate a female. In the context of the #ThotAudit, it’s being used to describe a subculture of online prostitutes of various types. Such women set up “premium” accounts, in which they deliver varying levels of pornography, often accompanied with promises of social interaction ranging from private messengers to monthly video calls via Skype, some charging up to $3,000 a month for their interactions.
As one woman stated on her Patreon account: “I will do some other miscellaneous worthless craft that takes no skill to make you feel like I care about you [sic].” While this may raise some red flags in a reader’s mind about its legality, the technical definition of what these women do is creating pornography, so it’s legal.
This internet sex subculture bothered a young bodybuilder by the name of David Wu. His first online mention of the problem came early Thanksgiving morning, when he reposted a question on his Facebook profile: “Why do sex workers demand respect when they don’t even respect themselves?”
He escalated the question later in the day by posting a poll asking “Is ‘sex work’ real work?” The poll was swarmed in comments, apparently by sex sellers and their followers. The overwhelming response inspired Wu to push further against the pervasive online porn culture.
These people who sell sex for money have online “tip jars,” but many don’t report their earnings. Wu made a post that has, as of this writing, been shared nearly 19,000 times. It took a screenshot of an Internet pornography seller who posed the question: “Who reported my premium Snapchat to the IRS? I’m being f***ing audited,” followed by a call to report more of the sex traffickers.
He posted a handy link to the IRS. This site not only gives the information on how to report but offers a form where an informant can collect a percentage of the unpaid taxes from the IRS as a bounty if their information turns out to be correct.
Once Wu’s post went viral, it spurred a storm of panic among pornographers. Hundreds of these profiles were reported over the weekend. One posted in response, turning it into a feminist talking point: “A bunch of men on Twitter are mad because they believe they’re entitled to free nudes, so they’re reporting sex workers’ Snapchat incomes to the IRS for audits… …Just say you hate women & leave.”
Australian reporter Frank Chung spun the concern for tax fraud into politics, stating, “Right-wing trolls report online sex workers to tax authorities in #ThotAudit,” also calling the people reporting on the potentially illegal behavior of sex workers “incels.” The incel charge has been repeated frequently in conjunction with the hashtag. The term refers to people who are not sexually active and will likely never be, despite wishing to be. It’s most used derogatorily toward men who are perceived as unable to obtain sex.
PJ Media’s Megan Fox responded by saying “Imagine having so low of an opinion of your writing that you have to increase sales by auctioning off nudes of yourself at 40.” Fox published an article titled “Fed-Up Gamers Report Intrusive Sex Workers to the IRS for Tax Evasion,” concluding, “As a mother of daughters, this campaign strikes me as morally good. If this can dissuade young girls from using their genitals to make money off men who are betraying their wives, I’m all for it.”
People who sell sex and sexual images, as well as some feminists, try to normalize porn and prostitution. However, it is important to note this weekend’s outrage was directed not at the morality of their actions, but whether they’re paying taxes.
The argument feminists have made on repeat is “Sex work is real work.” If this is the case, shouldn’t such workers be subject to the same tax laws as the rest of us? Provocateur and pick-up artist Roosh made several snide comments about the pushback, stating, “I’m finding it hard to believe that women are not reporting income that is direct deposited into a bank account linked to their social security number, but their anger at the #ThotAudit shows that’s exactly the case. It’s like they think laws don’t apply to them or something.”
There’s one positive aspect about those angered by the call to ensure these “jobs” are properly taxed: these young women are coming to understand the conservative and libertarian stances on taxation and how it affects normal people. Taxation does feel like the theft of money into the endless pit of government, and when you’re not used to having it taken from you, it can be a real eye-opener.
As such, it’s best to have sympathy on these poor women who are at risk of losing their incomes and let them know that if they really want to stop this online persecution by tax, they must vote for Republicans for Congress in 2020.