Instagram model sells nude photos to save Australia: is she wrong?


Photo by: Ashlan Brooks

Art of Kaylen Ward holding social media post advertising charity for Australia. Photo credit: Ashlan Brooks

Story by Ashlan Brooks, Print Co-Editor, Online Co-Editor

In recent days, fires have ravaged parts of Australia, consuming more than 6,000 homes and claiming miles of land. In these times of destruction and heated turmoil, many people have stepped up with donations to fund the efforts to fight the fires and preserve wildlife.

One of these instances has sparked interest and gained popularity for its controversial nature. A Twitter post by Kaylen Ward, under the name The Naked Philanthropist, stated that she would send a nude photo to anyone who sent proof of a $10 donation to relief efforts to her Instagram. It’s because of this post that many people have spoken out against her, and the reason I have questioned the lengths I would go for something I believe in.

Following this controversial post, she gained 150,000 followers on Twitter and began raising money for charities such as the Australian Red Cross, Koalas in Care and the Australian Lions Foundation. As of today, she has raised at least $500,000, though some say it may be over $1 million, for the preservation efforts.

Despite the money she has raised, Instagram disabled her account and halted her efforts. They claim she violated their platform guidelines. She can be seen in another Twitter post saying her family disowned her and the “guy she likes” won’t talk to her. 

I understand the reasons these people have for condemning her actions, however, I don’t think her account should have been banned nor should she receive any hate. When I look at all of the good the money she raised is going to do for the relief efforts, it’s kind of hard to see what she did as anything but acceptable. What she raised is more than most of us can say we donated, in fact I’d go as far as to say it’s more than almost anyone has given.

While I do agree that sending nude photos is ethically frowned upon (for more than a couple of reasons), I think that raising as much money as she did for charity should ultimately cleanse her of any wrong. 

The wildfires have killed 27 people nationwide and have blanketed parts of the continent in a hazy fog thick enough to rival the Great Smog of London. Experts say over half a billion animals have perished and one-third of the koala population has died. These fires, following the forest fires in the Amazon Rain forest and the fires in California, have proved to be a significant piece of a large and formidable opponent that needs to be stopped in whatever way we can.

It’s tragedies like these and people like Kaylen that makes me wonder what exactly I would do or give of myself to make a change for the better. It’s not an easy question to answer but when I think about it, it all depends on the level of courage you have inside of you to make a difference where it’s needed.

 I think every effort made to help these people and animals find shelter and safety should be nourished and accepted to an extent. I’ll admit that what Kaylen did is hovering on the outskirts of what should be allowed, but I stand by the fact that the reaction she got was untoward. Morality can most often be looked at as a balancing act of right and wrong and in Kaylen’s case, the scale is even.

Everyone is capable of raising some amount of money or helping the efforts in some way and I can’t find it in me to condemn her for trying to save a region and its wildlife, no matter what methods she may have used.