Trolls target online sex workers
Online sex workers have slammed a viral campaign by right-wing "incels" and men's rights activists to mass report them to tax authorities for allegedly failing to declare income.
The hashtag #ThotAudit, which appears to have been started by a Facebook user calling themselves "David Wu", began to trend on Sunday after being promoted by controversial pick-up artist and "legal rape" advocate Daryush 'Roosh' Valizadeh.
"Online thots are finding out that all income generated from their breasts and vagina is taxable," Mr Valizadeh tweeted.
"Men are aggressively organising to report all thots. I don't blame them: these girls are getting a free ride via beta bux and a broken sexual marketplace that is rigged in the favour of females."
He added that under Internal Revenue Service policy, a whistleblower could receive up to 30 per cent of the tax collected. "There is actually a financial incentive to defeating thottery," he wrote.
"Thot" is an online slang term meaning "that hoe over there". One poster on the 4chan imageboard wrote that it now stood for "that hoe owes tax". Online "camgirls" reported being targeted for their "premium" Snapchat and Instagram services exchanging nude photos for payment.
"PSA to any of my friends who run premium Snapchats - there's a wave of guys reporting them to the IRS for tax fraud and the like," one Twitter user wrote. "Please be careful, I know sex work is hard enough."
Another wrote, "With all these men harassing us, stalking us, snitching to our families, and reporting us to the cops and the IRS, I'm wondering when sex workers are going to snap and take these f****** out when we finally have nothing more to lose."
Online model Suz Ellis said 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 and leave," she wrote.
Jared Holt from the website Right Wing Watch tweeted that while the hashtag started as a joke, "of course the incels and angry young men of the world are picking it up for their own devices".
"Like most of what these guys normally do, this channels their deep seeded [sic] frustration that they don't get the girlfriends they think they're owed into random outbursts at random women who dare use the internet," he wrote.
Vice contributor Jules Suzdaltsev said the same people "who think Trump is a genius for hiding his tax returns are desperately reporting camgirls to the IRS for allegedly not paying enough in taxes".
"Maybe it's more about hating women and not actually about taxes?" he wrote.
"Should we really be surprised that on Thanksgiving weekend, instead of spending time with family, or significant others, or friends - their only contact is being volunteer cops for the Internal Revenue Service, and being very very mad at nude women on the internet."
One viral tweet was criticised for giving potentially misleading advice.
"You DO NOT have to pay taxes in the US until you make more than $20,000 a year," the online streamer wrote. "Don't worry about incels reporting you to the IRS because they actually can't do anything without digital proof of your income."
She suggested payments through services like PayPal were considered a "donation" and the IRS "can't do anything".
Video game journalist Oliver Campbell said the posts were "100 per cent INCORRECT and WILL get you in trouble with the IRS".
Another camgirl also hit out, urging the woman to "delete this FALSE tweet". "Here is correct information - you have to file taxes when you earn $400 a year," she wrote, noting online sex workers were classified as independent contractors.
Certified public accountant Kenneth Hester chimed in, saying "yes this is statutory taxable income" but that "in order to receive the reward" the whistleblower is required to provide the taxpayer's social security number to the IRS.