Sarah Juree was fired from her teaching job after setting up an OnlyFans account. (Courtesy of Juree)
A single mom who set up an OnlyFans account to supplement her income was fired from her teaching job earlier this year after her employer found out about the account.Soon after, and possibly relatedly, a blogger posted photos from the OnlyFans account without her consent.For about six years, Sarah Juree worked full-time as a teacher in South Bend, Indiana, as part of the Department of Defense STARBASE educational program, which introduces Grade 5 students to science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM. But the single mother of twins said she was unable to support her family on the modest salary of $55,000 per year, especially as the cost of living continues to rise across the U.S.
Juree said her rent alone cost nearly half of her income and her employer didn’t offer health insurance. “That was another out-of-pocket expense,” Juree told VICE News. “Plus car insurance and groceries and expenses for my kids.”A friend told Juree that she’d earned $10,000 in a single month after launching an OnlyFans account, and Juree was intrigued. It felt to her like a “viable way” to make money and stop living paycheck to paycheck. Soon, she asked her friend to show her how to get a page started. Juree’s OnlyFans account went live in early June. By the end of June, she was fired from her job as a teacher.Juree’s termination letter, viewed by VICE News, states that she was let go for “posting inappropriate photos in violation of several Starbase policies” without the consent of the executive director. The letter added that the photos “pose a real and immediate risk of harm to the reputation or business dealings” of the program. Juree was shocked. Around the time Juree set up her OnlyFans account, she said she had a casual conversation with a colleague and their boss about side gigs that fall under the sex work umbrella, including OnlyFans pages. “My boss got really excited and said, ‘Yeah, you can start a page. You can make a lot of money. You can sell your panties on the page,’” Juree said. “In my mind I was like, ‘Great, I’m not going to have any issues with work because my boss literally told me to sell my panties on OnlyFans.”
STARBASE did not respond to a list of questions about Juree’s termination, including whether the program was aware of the exchange Juree had with her boss. STARBASE Indiana executive director Thomas Foltz declined to comment during a follow-up phone call. Juree’s termination likely took place after a man in the community emailed her employer. Within 24 hours of the blogger allegedly emailing STARBASE, Juree’s job was terminated, she said. He then wrote several blogs about Juree, and included images that she was selling behind her OnlyFans paywall, Juree said, adding he did so without her consent. VICE News reviewed the blogs he posted, and determined that the edited nude images were included, with black smudges covering parts of Juree’s body. The blogger maintains that he didn’t post nude photos. “I included redacted pictures of her photos that she posted on her Onlyfans account in my stories. No nudity was ever shown or published,” he said in an email to VICE News. The man said a “concerned parent” tipped him off about Juree’s OnlyFans account. He also said that a source provided screenshots. “I sought comment from her and wrote the stories. I confirmed the information,” he said. In his blogs, the man also wrote about how he requested comment from STARBASE, which Juree thinks may have alerted them to the situation. Juree said she was “very scared” when the blogs started popping up. “It was humiliating,” Juree said. In the articles, the man writes about Juree’s personal life, including her former husband. He included screenshots of her STARBASE employee page, her Instagram account, as well as her OnlyFans, and said that Juree “moonlights as a pornstar.” In a Facebook post sharing the article, the man also said, “All parents should celebrate that this woman was fired. I hope she has plenty of success, outside the reach of children.”
(Shortly after VICE News sent the blogger a detailed list of questions about allegations he had harassed Juree online, he proceeded to publish this reporter’s email, photograph, and portions of her resume on his blog.) Juree called the man’s portrayal of her “heartbreaking,” and maintains she has sold images but hasn’t done porn. She also said she put her teaching job first and wasn’t going to pursue OnlyFans in earnest until summer break. OnlyFans wasn’t the first side hustle that Juree tried. Over the years, she pursued all sorts of gigs, from working at a teeth-whitening salon to private tutoring, in order to supplement her income. Yet nothing paid enough to get her out of debt, and ultimately, she had to take a second loan on her car to cover some credit card debt. So the flexibility of the OnlyFans work, along with the earning potential, felt, she said, like a “way out.” Juree’s story is hardly the first example of a person losing their day job because they do sex work on the side. Last week, a 22-year-old OnlyFans content creator said she was fired from her nursing job after a colleague watched her content. A 24-year-old mechanic, also in Indiana, was let go from a Honda dealership in 2020 after her managers found out her co-workers were watching her OnlyFans page. In Canada, a railway conductor lost her job because her Instagram was “too sexy.”“The truth is what I do on OnlyFans is literally no different than what I was doing as a single woman on dating sites: I was sexting, I was exchanging photos and DMs, I was Facetiming,” Juree said. “There is nothing I was doing on OnlyFans that I wasn’t doing as a single woman except that I found a way to monetize it.”“It’s just interesting what people pick and choose to approve in their mind as far as sex and sexuality goes,” she added.