I am going to assume that everyone has heard by now that Australia is on fire. Or at the very least, you’ve probably heard everyone talking about saving the Koala bears. But you might not have heard about Instagram model Kaylen Ward offering nude photos in exchange for donations to bushfire relief efforts. (And yes, she went through with it.)
Just in case you have missed the news for the past three and a half months, the most severe Australian bushfires seen in decades have devastated almost 18 million acres of forests since September 2019. At least 25 people have been killed and about half a billion animals affected by the fires. Various authorities and relief organizations have been requesting donations to fund fire fighting and animal rescue efforts.
Enter Kaylen Ward. While this is clearly a very concerning issue, Ward still felt that these fires were not getting the media coverage they deserved in the United States. Driven purely by the desire to draw more attention to the fires (as opposed to her usual motivation of self-profit), Ward posted a tweet offering up a nude photo of herself to anyone who donated at least $10 to the cause and sent her proof.
Since then, this exchange has generated an estimated $1 million and earned Ward the title of the “Naked Philanthropist”. Some people have even donated up to $5,000 on her behalf. That is some motivated fundraising, and I would say she definitely succeeded in drawing attention! Whether more of that attention went to Australia or her body parts, I don’t know. But at the very least she put her social following to work in the name of a good cause. But as always, the internet loves controversy, and there have been some mixed reactions.
Ward says she was surprised by how much positive support she got on Twitter. Lots of followers, old and new, praised her for saving the world and representing sex workers everywhere.
Sex workers will save us https://t.co/ZnCHlvgdbc
— fangtasia 🖤 (@KhaleesiYG) January 4, 2020
Sex worker slander will not be tolerated https://t.co/MrXezl1NI0
— Ivy Kairos (@Ivy_4_Ivy) January 4, 2020
A popular tagline was also attached to the Naked Philanthropist, one I give 10/10 on the clever scale:
Not all heroes wear clothes. https://t.co/ua8fo6mLQM
— Lore Star (@lorestaryt) January 6, 2020
Other people have even started to follow in her footsteps.
I saw first hand how horrid the #AustraliaFires are. People & animals are dying & losing their homes. Please help spread awareness & donate.
Email me proof of donation & I’ll send you personal photos &/or videos.https://t.co/h7E1GCkV0k
Email: email@example.com pic.twitter.com/eiXR5eCZH7
— Riley Reid (@rileyreidx3) January 6, 2020
But of course, not all of the feedback was positive. For one thing, Instagram deactivated Ward’s account for violating the rules with regard to sexually explicit or suggestive content.
My Instagram got deleted 😭🥺 pic.twitter.com/nBRQlByYAR
— THE NAKED PHILANTHROPIST (@lilearthangelk) January 5, 2020
And apparently, some people were just asking for trouble (and ruining the good deed for everyone).
Anyone who leaks photos or videos of me will have legal action taken against them. I have already done it and will continue to do it. It is a federal crime.
— THE NAKED PHILANTHROPIST (@lilearthangelk) January 8, 2020
It can’t be denied that this fundraising method is effective, especially when you consider what the grand total of donations must be from Ward and all of the other people joining her cause. Maybe sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to make people pay attention—or maybe Instagram is right and certain content does not belong everywhere.
What do you think?