“THOT” is an acronym for “that ho over there”, and it has been commonly used in recent Internet language to refer to women who post sexually provocative photos of themselves online to solicit male attention for validation and in many cases, financial gain. From everything from playing video games to outright prostitution and all things between, many women online, be they social media reporters like Lauren Southern, gamers such as Brittany Venti, or general prostitutes willing to engage in the worst forms of behavior that I have written about, these women rack up big bucks for little work.
But the question is, do these women pay taxes on their income? Apparently not, and in response to this a large number of men have now taken to social media to report them to the IRS for investigation for tax fraud so much that some are saying the acronym THOT means “that ho owes taxes”:
People on social media, mostly men, are encouraging one another to report explicit subscription-only social media channels to the IRS to audit undisclosed income.
The harassment campaign, which has gone viral in certain internet circles, has been dubbed #thotaudit, a portmanteau of the slang term for a sexually promiscuous person, “thot,” and “audit,” referring to an IRS investigation.
It’s unclear how many people have actually reported sex workers and women with explicit, subscription-only social media accounts to the IRS. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“No one I know has been reported. I’m not sure anyone’s actually reporting anything,” porn star Casey Calvert told BuzzFeed News. “You know, these are the dudes that get mad over a dick pic. Reporting fraud to the IRS actually takes effort. Even if they are reporting, I’m not sure the IRS would ever do anything.”
Porn stars and sex workers have increasingly turned to personalized content, such as subscription-only social media accounts or customized videos, to earn a living amid a glut of free online porn. Some sites like Patreon issue 1099 IRS forms for the work, but many do not because of the separation of payment and content distribution platforms.
One tweet promoting the campaign by user @womenstilltrash racked up more than 80,000 likes and retweets since Nov. 23. Prominent online right-wing personalities with a history of misogynist behavior also helped spread it.
One man who made a video about the campaign summed up its purported intentions: “These women are marching in the streets yet again saying, ‘Sex work is real work’ and protesting this. It’s funny because when you say it’s real work, then it should be taxed like every other work.”
The man said that women are making “a shit ton of money” from these social media channels, but sex workers say otherwise.
“Had I known there were rules and regulations for premium snaps I would have willingly claimed taxes on it,” one woman who runs a subscription Snapchat told Motherboard. “But for the most part it’s untouched territory.”
The woman added that she is being audited by the IRS, though it’s unclear why.
Trolls say they’re reaching out to sex workers pretending to inquire about subscribing to the private channels, then reporting the women via an IRS “information referral” form, which requires specific documentation the men are unlikely to have. For example, the form asks for the reportee’s taxpayer identification number, physical address, legal name, and the specific amount of unreported income.
Some people responded by sending money to the women named in the campaign in a show of support.
The campaign may have started on Facebook, though by now it can be found on Twitter, 4chan, YouTube, and Reddit. People have also copied the language of the status in the viral Twitter post: “WHO REPORTED MY PREMIUM SNAPCHAT TO THE IRS? IM BEING FUCKING AUDITED” and made memes of it.
One Facebook user named Cole Brown posted a picture of a form claiming to notify the IRS of one woman’s unreported income, though the form did not include all the necessary information. Other people set up a page, “Sex Worker Revenue Service,” that did the same. Brown and the page administrators did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A woman named in one of the forms said she had been the victim of online harassment because of it
The threads on 4Chan also attest to this as well:
This is an interesting trend, not merely because it is addressing a known issue in the “online world,” but also because of the potential for taxation on other and legitimate forms of online income and the degree of oversight which the IRS may seek to gain in the name of tax evasion.
Given the increasing power of government, regulation, and the push to regulate finances, this may be a convenient excuse for something greater.
The issue is not about young women who sell their wares online as a new form of self-exploitation, but rather about the power that can be leveraged using their deviancy and the lever pressured against those who would report them to the government.
I’m not saying what they are doing is right.
I am saying that as always, there can be more than one side to a story, and the one’s good intentions can be used for evil.
However, I must admit that it is good to see such persons get “patrolled”, as it is said online, because the behavior of too many is beyond despicable.