Sexual predator or revenge porn victim? Media rush to cover for disgraced congresswoman Katie Hill as she resigns

Sexual predator or revenge porn victim? Media rush to cover for disgraced congresswoman Katie Hill as she resigns Democratic congresswoman Katie Hill has resigned, after explicit evidence emerged that she’d had affairs with multiple staffers, but the spin machine is working overtime to portray her as an innocent victim of “revenge porn.”

Hill announced her resignation on Sunday, just four days after the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into whether she had a sexual relationship with her legislative director, Graham Kelly. The openly bisexual congresswoman has admitted to a relationship with a female campaign staffer – that affair began before she was elected, and is technically legal. And to hear the media tell it, Hill has done nothing wrong.

After a trove of salacious photos, including a nude shot of Hill holding a bong, surfaced on RedState and spread to other conservative outlets, mainstream media rallied to Hill’s defense. Even after her resignation, they have continued running interference, with   “Rep. Katie Hill Will Resign After Details Of Her Sex Life Were Published” and “After resignation, Katie Hill vows to battle revenge porn, which critics blame for her downfall.” In their telling, it is Hill’s ex-husband, who’d shared the female staffer with Hill in a “throuple,” who is the villain of the piece. After Hill left him – for Kelly, he claims – he allegedly leaked the photos.

But Hill isn’t exactly innocent. The first-term congresswoman had the misfortune to be elected in 2018, less than a year after a rule was passed in the House barring representatives from sexual relations with their staff. A bipartisan initiative, championed by Hill’s fellow California Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Jackie Speier, it sailed through the House after four representatives resigned in the space of six months over sexual scandals. 

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Hill holds a special place in history as the first woman to be investigated by the Ethics Committee for an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. The new rule was passed in the wake of #MeToo, and it’s unlikely members of the House had women in mind when they imagined what unethical behavior would look like. But with the rule now in place, it would be regressive and positively anti-feminist to hold women to a lower standard of behavior than men.

Outlets like Politico and Buzzfeed have avoided pointing this out, instead insisting that women should never be shamed for their sex lives, rules be damned. The people who look at the nude photos are the wrongdoers here, blue-check Democrats declared on Twitter, while acknowledging that there are over 700 “revenge porn pics” in the hands of Republican operatives.

Republicans have delighted in pointing out that Hill was a prominent voice opposing the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. But Democrats have tried to turn that around, reminding the GOP that several women have accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment and that at least Hill’s trysts were consensual.

Still, Hill was vice chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, making her indiscretions that much more hypocritical. She is expected to step down next week and has promised to “pursue all of our available legal options” against the source of the photos, calling their publication “an appalling invasion of my privacy.” 

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