Published: 10:50, 27 November 2021
| Updated: 10:53, 27 November 2021
A news reader at a local radio station has been suspended after she gave a revealing interview to KentOnline about her life as a dominatrix.
Mum-of-one Melissa Todd, 45, from Thanet, has spent more than 25 years working in the sex industry, first as a stripper and now as a dominatrix offering one-to-one 'punishment sessions' to customers who pay up to £100 an hour.
But it was just one string to her bow. She also edits the Broadstairs Beacon newspaper and runs a local theatre company. She was also a news reader at Thanet-based local radio station Academy FM.
However, that came to an abrupt end after she spoke to KentOnline recently, ahead of the publication of her new book - My Body Is My Business - which came out earlier this month and went to the top of the erotic fiction best-seller list on Amazon.
It sparked a flurry of interviews as she promoted the book and looked to dispel the belief that sex work is both dangerous and exploitative.
In the article on KentOnline - which you can read, in full, here - she said: "There are so many negative stereotypes around sex work and it just seems to be getting worse and worse - 'they're victims, pathetic and corrupting society', and all the rest of it, but they're just people, with lives and stories.
"I've honestly not seen any exploitation in 26 years. I'm sure it's out there, but its certainly not the only story."
However, the married mum-of-one's candid revelations about her lucrative business didn't sit comfortably with bosses of community radio station Academy FM.
Explains Melissa: "The day after the piece on KentOnline was published, I was suspended from the station. The manager rang and was incredibly apologetic, but said it was a 'very saucy' piece and I couldn't continue, at least until there was a trustee meeting about me.
"I completely understood that. Two days later, she told me the trustees agreed the suspension should be lifted. However, I've not been on the radio since, which is unprecedented. I've stopped getting daily emails from them now, and they've unfollowed me on Twitter and Instagram, so I presume I'm permanently persona non grata."
In the article, Melissa also revealed she makes money with photo shoots and adult videos. However, she stressed she offers "no sexual services at all" adding: "It's just a good whacking. All the sex happens in their head."
But she admits she was disappointed in the radio station's perhaps to-be-expected decision.
She adds: "I really don't want to hurt Academy, who are absolutely lovely people, almost entirely volunteers, who do amazing work within the community, and were a vital resource throughout the pandemic.
"However, they are also contributing to the belief that there is something shameful and stigmatising about sex work - that you can't be clever, articulate, interested in current affairs and also a dominatrix, which is patently untrue - I managed it for two years.
"I miss being on the radio. I'd just about finished my DJ training and really hoped to have my own show one day. I understand and regret being a problem for people I greatly admire. I wonder if perhaps another radio station might take a chance on me at some point. I never said anything remotely saucy on air."
Station manager at Academy FM, Debbie Day, said when approached: "Melissa is delightful, and such a busy lady. I know that she is working extremely hard promoting her book right now - it is an exciting time for her and we wish her every success."