Oh dear God. I saw a tweet from Mistress Matisse, wondered what the heck she was talking about, and made the mistake of clicking on the tag, and now I’ve discovered a whole new world of idiocy in something called #ThotAudit.
First of all, I had to learn a new word: “thot.” Apparently, it means something like “slut” or “whore,” but it’s a relatively new word that showed up around 2011. Because, you know, American vernacular English didn’t yet have enough derogatory terms for sexually active women.
(When I was in high school, I literally didn’t understand why guys used the word “slut” to demean girls. “Wait a minute…you’re insulting girls…for wanting to have sex with us…? Why would you do that?”)
Anyway, #ThotAudit is some kind of weird campaign to report sex workers to the IRS for tax evasion, and it’s organized by exactly the kind of people you’d think would organize such a thing:
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.”
Man, that whole “income generated from their breasts and vagina” line is creepy as fuck. Can you imagine having to spend every day of your life being that guy? Who worries about stuff like that? I guess the same kind of guy who whines about a “broken sexual marketplace.” #ThotAudit is so aggressively stupid that I don’t know where to start.
I guess I might as well start by anticipating that someone will accuse me of “white knighting.” That’s a term that pickup artists, MRAs, and other assholes use when some other guy steps in to defend a woman they’re bothering. It’s meant to taunt the other guy for using the appearance of chivalry in a weak attempt to get laid, because they can’t imagine any other reason for talking to — or about — women.
The thing is, I’m not white knighting, because I’m not defending these women. They don’t need my help defending against something this dumb.
First of all, it’s not like any of these #ThotAudit assholes have actual knowledge of tax evasion. They don’t have any information that they could give in a statement in a legal setting that would help establish any of the elements of tax evasion.
All the #ThotAudit assholes have is a suspicion that these women must be evading taxes because they are sex workers. And that’s on the basis of Twitter feeds and escort web sites, which IRS agents can easily find by themselves without help from the #ThotAudit twits. Heck, the #ThotAudit twits don’t even have the real names of the women they claim they are reporting to the IRS.
But let’s suppose, just for the sake of argument, that some #ThotAudit twit is actually able to get IRS investigators to take interest in a sex worker that he brought to their attention. If the investigators are able to bring the legal powers of the federal government to bear on the problem (I have no idea what level of proof is needed for this) they could probably trace a Twitter account or website to an actual person. And if they did that, what would they find?
Probably, a taxpayer.
In the case of purely online sex workers, like cam girls or phone sex performers, they have to be able to accept electronic payments, which will create records in the banking system that will make the income visible to the IRS, pretty much guarantying they will have pay taxes on the income. Things get a little more complicated with sex workers who accept cash payments in person, such as strippers or escorts. If the #ThotAudit jerks get IRS investigators to look into the finances of someone like that, what will they find?
Probably something familiar: A cash-oriented business.
The IRS is of course deeply suspicious of cash-oriented businesses because it’s hard for the IRS to know how much money they really receive when there are no electronic bank records of the payments. Everyone suspects that a lot of cash-based businesses cheat on their taxes, so the IRS would be right to be skeptical about the tax returns of sex workers. But, well…the point of unreported cash income that no one knows it exists. The IRS isn’t going to be able to do much without proof of income.
And it’s not as if most sex workers don’t pay income taxes. Sure, if a customer pays them $300 cash, and they go to Target and use the money to buy groceries or clothing or a television, they won’t leave a paper trail, so they can cheat by not paying those taxes. But if they lead anything like a normal middle-class life, they probably have a ton of expenses that leave a trail. If they have a $2000/month mortgage, a $600/month car payment, and $300/month in utilities, plus $500/month for health insurance and another $1000 per month in miscellaneous credit card payments, they need to be able to show almost $6000/month in income to cover those expenses.
That means reporting somewhere around $18,000 in income every quarter and making estimated tax payments. It will be more if they want to put some money in the bank or pay into an IRA. So if the IRS takes a look at them because of #ThotAudit, they’ll find a woman reporting over $70,000 in annual income. They may suspect that she’s bringing in even more as unreported cash income, but it will be hard to turn those suspicions into evidence.
Given that the #ThotAudit douchebags aren’t reporting people in other cash-oriented business — bartenders, food truck operators, bodega owners, dry cleaners, farmstand owners, landscapers, housekeepers, dance teachers, handymen…or for that matter, male sex workers — it’s pretty clear this is just another excuse to harass women.
But it’s not even effective as harassment. I had to think for a while to convince myself that the threat to tattle to the IRS was toothless. But to actual sex workers, who know far more about the tax implications of their business than I do, this has got to be incredibly obvious. Sex workers on Twitter are certainly not frightened. They’ve been mocking #ThotAudit without mercy.
Look, sex workers deal with more than their fair share of assholes online. They are used to fending off time wasters and religious nuts and every would-be edgelord who thinks it’s epic to ask them if they suck dick for a living. They are used to harassment, and they have strategies for dealing with it. They are not impressed by someone threatening to mail a piece of paper to the government.