Congresswoman Katie Hill Resigns, Vows To Fight Revenge Porn

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images.
Democratic Rep. Katie Hill resigned on Sunday amid an ethics investigation into an alleged relationship with a congressional staffer and after nude photos of her were posted on the internet without her consent.
She said the private photos had been "weaponized" by her "abusive" husband Kenny Heslep, whom she is divorcing, and political operatives, and vowed to fight "this type of exploitation that so many women are victims to and which will keep countless women and girls from running for office or entering public light."
“It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress,” she wrote in a statement.
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“Having private photos of personal moments weaponized against me has been an appalling invasion of my privacy,” she wrote. “However, I know that as long as I am in Congress, we’ll live fearful of what might come next and how much it will hurt.”
Last week, Hill admitted to and apologized for an “inappropriate relationship” with a 20-something campaign worker before entering Congress, but vehemently denied any relationship with a congressional staffer. The House Ethics Committee announced a formal investigation into the first-term Representative, who is also the first openly bisexual member of Congress in California.
In her statement, Hill promised to pursue all of the available legal options against those who made the photos public.
Carrie A. Goldberg, an attorney who specializes in "revenge porn" and internet privacy, said she believes those who published these images should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. “Many state ‘revenge-porn laws’ have exceptions when the distribution is ‘newsworthy.’ There is nothing newsworthy here,” she told Refinery29 in an email.
Goldberg added that this is part of a larger problem. “Female candidates are often slut-shamed and defamed during their runs for office,” she said. “Ms. Hill is entitled to sexual privacy just like any other public or private figure.”
In a statement Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised Hill, saying she had brought “a powerful commitment to her community and a bright vision for the future” to Congress. But she added, “She has acknowledged errors in judgment that made her continued service as a Member untenable. We must ensure a climate of integrity and dignity in the Congress, and in all workplaces.”
Hill was elected by 9 points in 2018 when she conquered one of California's last Republican strongholds, beating opponent Steve Knight. In Congress, she quickly took on coveted positions, including serving as the vice chair of the powerful House Oversight Committee.
In her statement, Hill hinted that this is far from the last we'll hear from her: "Those of you who know me personally know that I'm a fighter."
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