Katie Hill (D-CA) resigned Sunday October 27 without finishing her first term as a congresswoman due to an ethics investigation over her alleged affair with a male campaign staffer and her “throuple” relationship with a young female staffer.
Those are both serious allegations and demonstrate extremely questionable behavior for an elected representative. But the mainstream media seems content to ignore Hill’s actions and instead blame misogynistic and rightwing media. The deeply questionable actions of an ethically compromised congresswoman don’t seem to elicit much concern.
Red State, a conservative blog, was the first to report on Hill’s dalliances with staffers. The allegations of two extra marital relationships broke at about the same time. Text messages and explicit pictures of Hill’s throuple relationship were leaked to Red State and published. Her estranged husband also revealed in a Facebook post that Hill was allegedly having an affair with her campaign finance advisor and now legislative director Graham Kelly. There are also reports that Hill has been drinking in excess to the point where the female staffer and her husband expressed concerns.
Hill has denied that she had a relationship with Kelly but confirmed the relationship with the female staffer. Of course, Hill claims that none of this is her fault. It’s all a right-wing conspiracy.
In a statement she said, “The fact is I am going through a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me. I am disgusted that my opponents would seek to exploit such a private matter for political gain. This coordinated effort to try to destroy me and people close to me is despicable and will not succeed. I, like many women who have faced attacks like this before, am stronger than those who want me to be afraid.”
To say that Hill was ethically compromised is an understatement. As RedState pointed out, any of the compromising information could’ve been used by a foreign government to blackmail Hill. She is on two powerful committees and had access to sensitive and classified information. Any congressman or woman who behaves in such a manner should resign, but some in the mainstream media believe that misogyny is fueling attacks against Hill and not her questionable character.
A headline in The Guardian reads, “Revenge porn is being used to smear and discredit a sitting congresswoman.” It is an out that doesn’t require Hill to take any responsibility for her questionable actions.
The article reads in part, “Still, Hill’s own conduct – tacky, unprofessional, and ill-advised as it was – pales in comparison to what is being done to her, which amounts to a misogynist rightwing smear campaign. The publication of the nude photograph belies any claim RedState and other Republicans may make to being concerned about the ethics of Hill’s conduct. Instead, what Hill’s attackers seem interested in is a wholesale discrediting of the congresswoman, complete with psychological abuse, public humiliation and misogynist cruelty of the kind that is all too common an experience for women, from the most vulnerable to the most powerful among them. The fact that Hill is not a perfect victim should not distract us from the true issue at hand: that RedState and its rightwing compatriots have brought the tactics of domestic abuse into our politics.”
If a man had done what former congresswoman Katie Hill did, he would’ve been raked over the coals by the media. But Hill is a woman and a Democrat, therefore the media seems content to accept her allegations of spousal abuse at face value and ignore her own abusive behavior towards her female staffer. The so called “rightwing compatriots” didn’t discredit Hill, she damaged herself with her reckless and dangerous behavior that could’ve compromised this country’s national security.
While revenge porn is a serious problem after the breakup of relationships and is illegal in several states, in Hill’s situation it is no excuse. It would be one thing if the photos were before she considered running for office, but she met the staffer during her campaign. Did she not think that knowingly taking explicit pictures while running for public office was likely an incredibly bad idea? Again, that question alone brings her competency for office into question.
Katie Hill has no one to blame but herself for losing her congressional seat. The reporting of extremely poor decision making is not a rightwing conspiracy. It’s the responsibility of the media. Hill potentially compromised national security with her actions and should be held accountable. The media, instead of defending Hill, should’ve reported fully on her actions and called for her resignation.
She shouldn’t be allowed to hide behind allegations of misogyny and abuse. The media would’ve never allowed that to happen if it was a male Republican congressman. In that situation, the media would’ve gleefully published the pictures for all the world to see.
Photo by Gage Skidmore