Oct 31, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Katie Hill feared for her life after allegations of improper staff relationship

Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.), who resigned from Congress amid an investigation into allegations of an inappropriate sexual relationship with a staffer, said Thursday that she left her post, in part, because she feared for her life and received threatening calls and emails.

The big picture: Hill also held the "right-wing media" responsible for her exit after naked pictures of her were shared online. Hill has received bipartisan support from lawmakers like Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who said Hill was a victim of "revenge porn."

  • Red State and the Daily Mail published nude photos of Hill without her consent. She was referred to the House Ethics Committee because of her relationships with subordinates, which is against House rules.
  • Back in 2017, House Republican Joe Barton also faced "revenge porn" attacks, and ended up announcing he wouldn't run for re-election.
  • The House ethics rule at the center of the investigation into allegations of Hill's misconduct "forbids sexual relationships with subordinates," and was passed after the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017, per the Washington Post.

What she's saying:

"I am leaving now because of a double standard. I am leaving because I no longer want to be used as a bargaining chip. I'm leaving because I didn't want to be peddled by papers and blogs and websites used by shameless operatives for the dirtiest gutter politics that I've ever seen, and the right-wing media to drive clicks and expand their audience by distributing intimate photos of me taken without my knowledge, let alone my consent, for the sexual entertainment of millions.
I'm leaving because of a misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalized on my sexuality and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse, this time with the entire country watching.
I am leaving because of the thousands of vile threatening emails, calls and texts that made me fear for my life and the lives of people that I care about. Today is the first time I have left my apartment since the photos, taken without my consent, were released and I'm scared.
I'm leaving, because for the sake of my community, my staff, my family and myself, I can't allow this to continue. Because I've been told that people were angry when I stood strong after the first article was posted and that they had hundreds more photos and text messages that they would release bit by bit until they broke me down to nothing, while they used my faults and my past to distract from the things that matter most.
I'm leaving because there's only one investigation that deserves the attention of this country, and that's the one we voted on today."

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