As all of you must know by now, California Congresswoman Katie Hill has resigned amid allegations of a sexual relationship with a subordinate and leaks of nude photos. What got the most attention, of course, were the nude photos, and a three-way relationship Hill admits to having had with a campaign staffer and her husband, with whom she is in divorce proceedings.
Not that it needs to be said here, but there was nothing wrong with the relationship she had with a campaign staffer and her ex-husband. There is something wrong with having a sexual relationship with a subordinate — Congress passed a rule just last year outlawing relationships between Congresspeople and their staffers in the wake of the Me Too movement — but Hill denies that affair with a legislative aide.
Congress had opened an investigation into the affair, but Hill resigned before Congress could come to any conclusions. If Hill had had an affair with an aide, she should’ve been forced to resign (and again, she denies that affair and the only evidence of it apparently comes from a bitter, abusive husband). But that’s not why she resigned. She resigned because a publication called RedState.com, owned by TownHall Media, published a nude photo of her provided to them by Hill’s husband because when men don’t get their f**king way, they resort to abusive tactics in order to harass and control their exes.
Maybe Hill could’ve survived one nude photo, but she chose to resign because she didn’t want to give her abusive husband more opportunities to humiliate and shame her for — it should be noted — activities in which he also engaged. “The good people who supported me will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and the brutality of hateful political operatives who seem to happily provide a platform to a monster who is driving a smear campaign built around cyber exploitation,” she said. And the thing is: If she hadn’t resigned, her husband and outlets like RedState wouldn’t have stopped sharing photos until she did.
CNN correspondent Kyung Lah said today a GOP operative told her they have over 700 revenge porn pics of Katie Hill.— Matthew Chapman (@fawfulfan) October 28, 2019
Imagine Republican men passing around these naked pictures and leering at them. This is sick.
No wonder she resigned. She must feel like her life is over.
Hill knew this, because when RedState published its original nude photo, they added that they had more “intimate photographs” that they had not published, which is a little like saying, “We still have a lot of bullets left in this gun. Don’t make us use them.”
Though revenge porn is illegal under California and D.C. law, Hill’s husband, Kenny Heslep, apparently does not give a sh*t. (“Heslep could not be reached for comment,” is a common line in all of the Katie Hill stories, because of course, that shithead can hide). But you know who should have given a sh*t? RedState.com, the outlet that published the first nude photo. RedState has earned this particular distinction. From Quinta Jurecic at Lawfare:
But as far as I am aware, the Katie Hill photograph is the first instance in which a politically aligned publication—or, indeed, any publication—has released nonconsensual pornography depicting a politician of the opposing party affiliation … This is an ugly line to have crossed. The United States has not historically had a culture in which political media outlets publish nude photographs of opposition politicians for sport.
In other words, RedState and Jennifer Van Laar enabled an abusive man to harass and control his wife. And several other right-wing outlets helped them by sending their readers running to RedState:
Many outlets reported on the story shortly after RedState published it, basing their coverage solely on RedState’s article. Breitbart and the Daily Wire highlighted the existence of the photo, providing links for curious readers. The Washington Examiner’s article on the subject embeds the photo into the article itself, so the reader unavoidably sees the image while scrolling down—something even RedState, which linked the photograph for readers to click through, didn’t do.
Stephen Kruiser at PJ Media, a sister site of RedState, wrote in defense of RedState today:
All of this is happening because an elected Democrat who isn’t a straight, white male is supposed to be a protected species who can never be criticized. Hill was part of the Democratic youth movement that the Left loves so much simply because they’re young. Anybody who assails a member of the protected class must be destroyed.
Assailing a member of the “protected class” is fair game. You want to attack Hill for her policies? Fine. You want to bury her over allegations that she had an affair with a Congressional aide? Go ahead. But this is different, and Kruiser knows that. This is not “assailing.” It is abusing. What RedState has done is tantamount to unlocking and opening a door so that a husband can come inside and attack his wife. Put the salaciousness of the nude photos and the sex scandal aside, and see the photos for what they really are: Weapons that RedState enabled Kenny Heslep to use against a woman who dared to leave him.
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