Katie Hill to Resign, Did She Deserve Her Fate?
It is hard to think of a politician in recent times that had a quicker rise to the top levels of power only to quickly crash and burn and end up in disgrace than California Rep. Katie Hill. From freshman congresswoman who was considered a raising star in the Democratic Party to the first woman to ever be investigated by the House Ethics Committee for a sex scandal, Hill’s demise has been as quick as it was unexpected, but did she deserve this?
The story of Hill’s demise began when RedState ran a piece that provided details of Hill’s romantic life that included a “throuple” and allegations that she had a sexual relationship with her female campaign aide as well as her male legislative director. The RedState article included photos and texts including a link to a photo that showed a naked Hill brushing the campaign aide’s hair. The Daily Mail, being the tabloid that it is, then published more photos, including multiple nude photographs, including one of her with a bong and an Iron Cross tattoo.
The debate then became one of whether this is a massive sex scandal, after all a male politician who had nude photos published in a similar situation would surely be run out of town, or whether Hill was being forced out for being an open bisexual who engaged in consenting sexual relationships who is now the target of anti-LGBT conservatives and who is now the victim of a revenge porn operation while she was going through a divorce from what Hill described as an “abusive husband.”
Both sides can be seen to have legitimate points. Some of the RedState and Daily Mail photos could be seen as revenge porn, (because of this, I will not be linking to either article). Then again one of them came from Reddit, so not all of them can be described that way. Either way, RedState and the Daily Mail did not need to publish the nude photographs. They clearly did so for the shock value. The description of Hill’s Iron Cross tattoo as a “Nazi-era tattoo” is also intellectually dishonest, which the Daily Mail admitted, but still put in their article, alleging Hill to be a hypocrite on the issue.
Her personal sexual escapades may be her business (assuming it was, as she insists, consensual, because there are also questions about just how consensual the relationship with the campaign staffer really was), but rules are rules and the politically incorrect truth is that members of Congress are replaceable.
There is one president, but there 535 combined members of Congress and Hill could very well have become an unwanted distraction for Democrats. Are Hill’s sexual escapes any worse than Bill Clinton’s? Her affairs worse than Trump’s? Unfortunately for her, members of Congress have lesser room for error than presidents. It may be an undignified aspect of American political life, but it is an aspect nonetheless.
Speaking of rules, lost in the headline grabbing nude photos, however, was that the reason the Ethics Committee opened up an investigation was because the alleged sexual relationship with her legislative director Graham Kelly would violate House rules. In a #MeToo inspired move last year the House prohibited members from engaging in sexual relations with staff members in a move that was to prevent powerful politicians from preying on their vulnerable staff members. Whether Hill resigned because she knew, despite her denials, that she was guilty and thus wanted to avoid being forced out or whether she got railroaded by sex-crazed tabloids is something we may not ever know the answer to.
What we do know is thatt the fact that Hill was brought down by a #MeToo-inspired rule means her short congressional career will finish with a touch of irony. Hill was one of many women to run in 2018 in the aftermath of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation and called him “a serial predator.” She denies any wrong doing, but so did Kavanaugh, thus ensuring she will go out a hypocrite on due process for alleged sexual misconduct.
Ultimately Hill was brought down, not by anti-LGBT bigots or sexual Puritans, but a combination of the age-old adage that sex sells and an arrogant hypocrisy on sex-related accusations.