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Sex worker experiences questionable discrimination

Receiving funds for adult-related activities may be against WePay’s TOS, but if you’re a sex worker facing mounting medical bills, you can’t use their service, either. How is this fair?

Porn actress Eden Alexander became seriously ill and experienced an unusual reaction to a medication, yet doctors initially dismissed her concerns, allegedly because of her porn work and their belief that she was a drug abuser. As a result, she remained untreated and developed a severe staph infection — which, in turn, triggered an undiagnosed thyroid condition. She wound up near death and faces an uphill climb to recovery.

As is becoming more common, friends and family set up a fundraiser on the GiveForward crowdfunding website to help her pay her medical bills and get her much-needed help around her home and with her pets. Unfortunately, the campaign was canceled due to conflicts between GiveForward’s payment processor, WePay, and Alexander’s line of work. WePay prohibits funding adult materials or activities.

The crowdfunding page was taken down because people tweeted the page offering adult content in exchange for donations. The moral code from which decisions like these are made is in murky waters indeed, but how can a company discriminate against something that is deemed inappropriate by some, while other seemingly inappropriate things slide by?

GiveForward and WePay have given platforms for campaigns that others might find inappropriate, such as spreading anti-homosexual agendas or stopping abortion.

WePay seems to be a little conflicted when it comes to what the company deems appropriate and what cannot be funded using its payment services. Summed up on their TOS page, “Basically, you can’t use WePay for anything illegal, inappropriate, or risky.”

Who, then, has decided that adult entertainers are not allowed to receive funds collected for them through WePay, even when the funds are strictly meant for medical bills and help around the house?

Their statement regarding this specific incident reads, “Upon reviewing payments starting May 15, 2014 WePay discovered tweets from others retweeted by Eden Alexander offering adult material in exchange for donations.”

However, we have to ask: Has Alexander herself offered sexual favors or DVDs (or anything sexually related) for funds?

The discrimination Alexander has experienced both by the physicians she trusted and the faceless entity that pulled the plug on her crowdfunding campaign is disturbing. Unfortunately, sexuality, particularly female sexuality, continues to carry a massive stigma, from companies such as WePay to even the Apple Store pulling the plug on a sex-positive app aimed at teaching women to become comfortable with their own bodies.

Even when pornography isn’t directly involved, that’s not good enough for some. Judging a person by their line of work and doling out discrimination based on it doesn’t seem to be the moral compass by which we should make decisions. Unfairly singling out women for sex-related work is behavior we need to change.

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