A young mechanic at a Honda dealership in Indiana was fired from her job after management learned she was making amateur porn outside of work using the OnlyFans platform.
Kirsten Vaughn, 24, said in a BuzzFeed interview she was on track to become the first female master technician at Don Ayres Honda dealership in Fort Wayne, when she was abruptly fired from her job after colleagues discovered her account in OnlyFans, a social media site where people can pay to subscribe to private content and which is commonly used for adult content.
The young mechanics said that after she mentioned her account in her Instagram stories, colleagues began watching her videos together at the workplace, and then sexually harassing her. But instead of punishing her co-workers, she said her bosses blamed her for making the OnlyFans account.
“If the guys just would’ve watched their porn at home, none of this would’ve happened,” she said. “But instead of looking at it like, ‘Hey, the guys are kind of creepy,’ it’s, ‘Oh well, you’re the girl that brought this to their attention, and you’re responsible.”
The 24 year old was fired in mid-February, but her story went viral after she tweeted about the incident on Wednesday.
“Really a shame they had to fire me for having my only fans page, cuz I got down at my dealership,” she tweeted.
Jason Johnston, who handles human resources for the dealership, denied that Vaughn had been fired over her OnlyFans account, and said instead that she had violated company policy, and declined to specify which policy she had violated.
However, in audio recordings that Vaughn provided to BuzzFeed News of meetings she had with Johnston and dealership general manager John Watkins, the two men can be heard questioning her about her OnlyFans presence and discussing the harm it could do to the reputation of their business.
In the recordings, the two men also seem to blame Vaughn for the reaction of her coworkers. “If I walked out into the shop and spread a rumor, how other people react to it, that’s their responsibility, but I’m still the one who yelled fire,” Watkins can be heard saying in one recording.
“If there were coworkers over there who had access to your page, that might encourage them to approach you with unwanted sexual conduct or comments,” Johnston said on the recording.
The pair also questioned her about how she felt about the fact that her coworkers were likely seeing her naked. Johnston also seemed to blame Vaughn for creating a situation where her coworkers might be tempted to sexually harass her.
Vaughn’s viral tweet about her OnlyFans account came as many people who are jobless due to the coronavirus consider doing sex work online to make money. Starting an OnlyFans account has become something of a meme, and cam sites have expanded rapidly in the last two months.
But experienced sex workers have warned that anyone joining the industry now should be aware of the risks. “People will find out,” said porn star Asa Akira during a town hall on Wednesday aimed at educating newcomers and organized by the porn trade association Free Speech Coalition. “Your best friends and your worst enemies will all eventually find out that you’ve done porn.”
Vaughn has an active social media presence, and she has a following for her work as a woman mechanic on Instagram where she posts videos from the shop, how-tos, and time lapse videos of her capable work on cars.
While she was on company time, the 24 year old was by all accounts an ambitious and capable employee. The dealership celebrated her role as a woman in the industry, even featuring a video praising her work on their Facebook page.
“I was a phenomenal employee with a perfect record that never got in trouble,” said Vaughn. “When I went to work and I was on the clock, I did my job and I was good at it. I was appropriate when I was at work. I wore my uniform. I did what I had to do.”
Johnston, the HR coordinator, confirmed that Vaughn was well-regarded at the dealership. “We think very highly of her,” Johnston said in a phone interview.
Vaughn started the OnlyFans account in January to make some extra money so she could pay off her student loans and mortgage, and start to save a little. She said her dream is to save up enough for her own shop and work on race cars.
When she was called in to speak with management, she said she initially thought it might be about a prize she was up for, and for which she was later named a semi-finalist.
Vaughn wasn’t sure exactly how management learned about her account on the site, but she said word got out among some of the employees when she posted about her OnlyFans in her Instagram stories.
“I had a coworker come up to me and he was telling me how the salesmen were all huddled up in a group, and that he had come up to the group and they were on an OnlyFans page,” she recalled. “And he said that he didn’t know it was me until they passed by a picture of my face and he said, ‘I’ve seen a lot of you.’”
“I was like, ‘That’s fucking great, thanks,’ she said. “Showing it to fucking everybody.”
Vaughn said two employees in particular became fixated on the fact that she was on OnlyFans, and began to harass her online and in the shop. She subsequently stopped any mentions of the account on Instagram.
“They literally would not shut up about my page’” said Vaughn. “I begged them to not tell anybody, and they would laugh in my face and say, ‘Ha ha ha, we’re helping you make money, shut up.’”
Vaughn said she knew it was a risk to start doing sex work, but that ultimately she feels like she made the right decision to join OnlyFans. The shop has had to limit the number of hours people work can lately due to the coronavirus, and Vaughn said that in the midst of record unemployment she’s making more money from sex work than she ever did as a mechanic.
She also added she was depressed when sent out the now-viral tweet, but she’s received a lot of support and she wants to get involved in activism to better protect sex workers.
“It highlights how sex workers are not properly protected,” said Vaughn, “and it can also be used as a lesson learned for people who want to keep their day job.”