By Martha Hughes
Taxes: a word with negative connotations for many. Nobody enjoys paying taxes; the process can be long, confusing and if done incorrectly, can have serious consequences. A recent Twitter campaign has brought the subject to the forefront over the past few days. Men’s rights activists, who have named their viral campaign ‘#thotaudit’, are encouraging each other to report adult entertainers who use Snapchat to send explicit content to paying fans, to the relevant tax authorities. They claim, “girls are getting a free ride” and are avoiding paying tax on income “generated from their breasts and vagina”.
Should those working in adult entertainment be exempt from paying taxes? Of course not. Should people with different jobs, earning the same amount of money be charged the same amount in taxes? Sure, if this is the system, it should at least be equal. However, the aggressive, demeaning wording of this campaign is not an acceptable way to speak about fellow human beings who are trying to make a living to feed themselves and their families. The notion that anyone related to sex work/the adult industry is morally bankrupt and therefore fails to pay their taxes is antiquated, inaccurate and downright offensive.
To add insult to injury, the campaign has been pushed to the forefront by pick-up artist and ‘legal rape’ advocate Dayrush Valizadeh. To think that in 2018 there are a mass of men who are happy to support the degrading words of a man who wants to introduce ‘legal rape’ is truly terrifying…and we wonder why sex workers may be inclined to hide their method of income?
Those working in the adult industry already face an untold amount of daily harassment, social stigma and abuse because of their choices to provide services that are in constant demand from the general public. I fail to see how publicly naming and shaming those who are already so marginalised in society is going to do anything other than push them further into the shadows. Considering that well over two-thirds of adult men regularly consume some form of adult content, it seems counter-productive and generally confusing that those consuming explicit content are probably the same people who are attempting to condemn the creators of such content.
Of course, there should not be tax exceptions for those generate income online whether that be through selling nude eyeshadow or nude photos. However, in a world where large corporations, that make millions in profit every year, successfully manage to tax dodge, why is it the priority target has become individual sex workers who are earning more than a fraction of such companies? The question of auditing ‘Premium Snapchats’, while on the surface appears to be a matter of income and taxes, boils down to just another way for misogynists to criticise and endanger the livelihoods of those in the adult industry.