Free Speech

Ex-Rep. Katie Hill Sues Daily Mail (UK), Redstate.com, Ex-Husband Over Publication of Nude Photos

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Courthouse News Service (Nathan Solis) reports:

Former California Democratic Congresswomen Katie Hill, whose promising political career unraveled in 2019 after she was accused of inappropriate relationships with staffers and various media outlets published nude and sexually graphic photos of her, said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that the world is watching her ex-husband's "revenge vendetta."

Hill, who unseated an incumbent Republican as part of the 2018 "blue wave" at the age of 32, claims in the suit filed in Los Angeles that her ex-husband, Kenneth Heslep, orchestrated her political downfall with the right-wing news blog RedState and the British tabloid the Daily Mail after she tried to end their relationship.

You can read the Complaint, but much of it isn't actually the direct basis for the legal claims. Rather, the heart of the argument against the media defendants (I set aside the ex-husband here) is that the Daily Mail and RedState published two nude, insufficiently redacted photos in 2019. These photos—the "Hair Brushing Picture" and the "Water Pipe Picture"—are alleged to violate the California nonconsensual porn statute (Cal. Civ. Code § 1708.85):

(a) A private cause of action lies against a person who intentionally distributes by any means a photograph … [or video recording] … of another, without the other's consent, if
(1) the person knew that the other person had a reasonable expectation that the material would remain private,
(2) the distributed material exposes an intimate body part of the other person, or shows the other person engaging in an act of intercourse, oral copulation, sodomy, or other act of sexual penetration, and
(3) the other person suffers … damages [including emotional distress damages] ….

(b) "[I]ntimate body part" means any portion of the genitals, and … any portion of [a female's] breast below the top of the areola, that is uncovered or visible through less than fully opaque clothing.

(c) There shall be no liability on the part of the person distributing material under subdivision (a) under any of the following circumstances: …
(4) The distributed material constitutes a matter of public concern….
(6) The distributed material was previously distributed by another person.

Here's my quick, tentative analysis of the situation:

[A.] The photos do seem to show, even with the redactions, some "portion of the breast below the top of the areola," and the Complaint plausibly alleges that Hill reasonably expected that the material would remain private.

[B.] But it seems likely that the "distributed material constitutes a matter of public concern": These are photographs of an elected official, illustrating behavior that some voters may see as unethical—intimate involvement with a staffer, and recent use of marijuana (still illegal under federal law) in what appears to be a sexual context, bespeaking a kind of hedonism that at least some voters may view as a character defect.

Many people might not care about such behavior by elected officials, but I think people reasonably might. And because "anything which might touch on an official's fitness for office" is seen as a matter of public concern, the photos should qualify. (One can debate whether courts should decide at all whether something is on a matter of public concern, but First Amendment law does sometimes call for such decisions, and this statute certainly does.)

The Complaint argues that "A written description of the images or the published text messages would have achieved the same goals of disclosing information regarding Plaintiff's personal life. The intimate images merely exposed Hill's nude body to the public for prurient interests and for no other justifiable purpose." But I don't think that's right. Whether or not you think the publication of the images was on balance ethically proper, they conveyed information in a way that was clearer and much less disputable than a "written description" could possibly convey.

Now it may well be that the unredacted depiction of the breast below the top of the areola was not itself necessary for that purpose: A bit more redaction (just blacking out the rest of the breast) would not have changed the public value or effectiveness of the photos.

But the statutory exception applies when "[t]he distributed material constitutes a matter of public concern." "[D]istributed material" appears to refer to "a photograph" that "exposes an intimate body part." The public concern determination would thus be made as to the "photograph" as a whole and not as to any particular portion of the photograph. And this seems consistent with Florida Star v. B.J.F. (1989), where the Court applied the public concern test under the First Amendment by asking whether "the article generally, as opposed to the specific identity [of a rape victim] contained within it, involved a matter of paramount public import."

[C.] Now let's turn to the exception for when "[t]he distributed material was previously distributed by another person." The media defendants allegedly got the material from the ex-husband (Kenneth Heslep), so when they published it, the material had indeed been previously distributed—even if just to them.

The Complaint argues that the Mail and RedState were each the first to make one of the two of the photos "accessible to the general public." But the "previously distributed" exception doesn't on its face seem to be limited to public distribution, and the Complaint itself describes Heslep's sending the material to the media defendants as distribution:

The conspiracy was formed when Defendant Heslep distributed an electronic file containing blackmail material regarding Plaintiff. The file … was distributed to various individuals, including Defendant Messina, as well as to Defendants Does ….

So if I'm right, then the media defendants should win under the "previously distributed" exception. Perhaps a court might read the qualifier "publicly" into the "previously distributed" phrase; but the face of the statute lacks such a qualifier.

[D.] If I'm right that the statute doesn't apply here, at least to the media defendants, then they should be able to get the claim dismissed quickly (and even get their attorney fees paid) under the California anti-SLAPP statute. That statute applies to lawsuits based on speech "in connection with a public issue," and the RedState and Daily Mail publications certainly seem to qualify under that standard. And if a court declines to dismiss the claim, the defendants should be able to immediately appeal that decision.

[E.] I think that, as a First Amendment matter, properly crafted nonconsensual porn statutes are constitutional, and this statute might indeed be narrow enough. (I prefer the term "nonconsensual porn" to "revenge porn," because I don't think the law should be limited to speech motivated by a desire for revenge, and indeed the California law has no such limitation.)

Indeed, the California statute might have been narrow enough even if it didn't have the "previously distributed" exception (or if it had a narrower exception for material that had been previously distributed to the public). It likewise might have been narrow enough even if it had a narrower "public concern" exception, which would apply only if the inclusion of the unredacted depiction of an intimate body part was necessary to effectively communicate important information on a matter of public concern. (Note that there are some other exceptions in the statute for photos of public conduct, and there may need to be similar exceptions as to material in court filings.)

But under the statute as written, I tentatively think that Hill can't prevail. (Thanks to Ken White [Popehat Report] for his help.) There could potentially also be a 47 U.S.C. § 230 defense for the media defendants, but I'll save that discussion for a separate post.

NEXT: Cancelling Portraits of White Judges in Fairfax County Courtroom

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  1. I guess calling it a “Water Pipe Picture” is more likely to elicit a judge’s sympathy than writing “Colorful Bong Picture”.

    1. I’ve seen the picture, and bong is accurate, but for people who haven’t, “water pipe” could refer to a hookah. And while hookahs have been used for drugs, they can and have also be/been used for smoking tobacco.

      1. Bongs can be used to smoke legal substances, and sometimes are used to do so. That’s not the way to bet, but it is possible.

  2. “(b) “[I]ntimate body part” means any portion of the genitals, and … any portion of [a female’s] breast below the top of the areola, that is uncovered or visible through less than fully opaque clothing.”

    This section seems to be unconstitutional now that the supremes have declared that men are women, and women are men, so there is no longer a thing such as “any portion of [a female’s] breast below the top of the areola”.

    1. There goes The Sideboob Hour on PeterTV 🙁

    2. “there is no longer a thing such as ‘any portion of [a female’s] breast below the top of the areola’.”

      Your life must be awfully lonely if this claim made sense to you. I defer to Potter Stewart on this one, I’ll know it when I see it.

    3. The more relevant legal question is whether the courts in California or the Ninth Circuit (as they have in the Tenth) have outlawed sex discrimination in rules for breast display.

  3. If this was one of those “family values” politicians, then it is a “matter of public concern”, i.e., hypocrisy. But with Ms. Hill, it’s just another version of “if she didn’t want to get raped why did she wear that sexy dress”?

    1. I didn’t follow Ms. Hill’s brief career very closely, but if you say she endorsed committing crimes and employers coercing sexual favors from subordinates, I’ll take your word for it.

      But while that would spare her from a charge of hypocrisy, I’m not sure how it would render her behavior a matter not of public concern.

      1. Why said she endorsed committing crimes and employers coercing sexual favors from subordinates, you bigoted, worthless, dumbass clinger?

        1. You really have become a tedious little weenie.

          1. Yeah, disaffected right-wingers seem to dislike me.

            I am content.

            1. Centrists and liberals also think you’re asinine, truth be told, Kirkland. Lower signal to noise ratio each time you comment, and I suspect the same in your life.

              1. It’s the progressive mentality. Just like it’s OK to adopt a policy that kills more Black people as long as it kills proportionally more White people, it’s ok for Kirkland to be disliked by leftists and centrists as long as he’s disliked by clingers more.

        2. Surely that was captcrisis’s point? If Ms. Hill condemned those things, wouldn’t her engaging in that behavior be just as hypocritical as that of the “‘family values’ politicians”?

    2. Cap,
      Get real; your comment is irrelevant.
      If she did not want to be outed, she should not have been engaged sexually with an employee of hers.

      1. I’m sure she’s fascinated by your input regarding whom her sex life should encompass.

    3. wait, so the Left endorses sleeping with your employees and abusing power differentials for pleasure? Good to know.

      1. Have you forgotten that famous rapist, Bill Clinton? I hear he also visited Epstein’s Caribbean island a few times on Epstein’s jet.

        1. How much did the payoff cost him? (Asking for a Republican friend).

      2. I’m so old I remember the Clinton administration, so its been more than 20 years

        1. No, old is remembering the Regan administration.

          1. MS, if you misspell the name, does that mean you don’t remember the administration. Or is that the joke? Maybe the reason I can’t tell is because I remember the Truman administration.

          2. “No, old is remembering the Regan administration.”

            No, old is arguing about how old someone has to be to claim to be “old”.

    4. She was violating a rule of Congress: sleeping with a staffer.

      1. Which is a problem you correct by informing Congress, not publishing on the Internet.

        1. And Pelosi would have acted?!?

          1. Congress has a hush-money slush fund it uses to pay for incidents like this (and many of us would like to see its books); I see no reason to assume that a female offender would be unable to draw from it.

          2. “And Pelosi would have acted?!?”

            Dunno. Don’t care. Interesting that you equate Congress=Pelosi, though.

        2. In the MeToo era, publication was appropriate.

          In fact, it was a big point about the MeToo Era…superiors were abusing their authority to sleep with their employees, and the employees didn’t have anywhere to turn to. The employers were turning a blind eye to the abuse.

          1. “In the MeToo era, publication was appropriate. ”

            Other than establishing that you don’t understand what #MeToo was about, what are you trying to say here?

  4. “… bespeaking a kind of hedonism that at least some voters may view as a character defect.”

    Depends on the context. This voter would indeed view it as a negative for a representative, but big positive for a girlfriend.

  5. Anthony Wiener was not available for comment.

    1. 32 is kind of old for him, isn’t it?

    2. “Anthony Wiener was not available for comment.”

      By popular demand.

  6. But it seems likely that the “distributed material constitutes a matter of public concern”: These are photographs of an elected official, illustrating behavior that some voters may see as unethical—intimate involvement with a staffer, and recent use of marijuana (still illegal under federal law) in what appears to be a sexual context, bespeaking a kind of hedonism that at least some voters may view as a character defect.

    Many people might not care about such behavior by elected officials, but I think people reasonably might. And because “anything which might touch on an official’s fitness for office” is seen as a matter of public concern, the photos should qualify. (One can debate whether courts should decide at all whether something is on a matter of public concern, but First Amendment law does sometimes call for such decisions, and this statute certainly does.)

    The Complaint argues that “A written description of the images or the published text messages would have achieved the same goals of disclosing information regarding Plaintiff’s personal life. The intimate images merely exposed Hill’s nude body to the public for prurient interests and for no other justifiable purpose.” But I don’t think that’s right. Whether or not you think the publication of the images was on balance ethically proper, they conveyed information in a way that was clearer and much less disputable than a “written description” could possibly convey.

    Now it may well be that the unredacted depiction of the breast below the top of the areola was not itself necessary for that purpose: A bit more redaction (just blacking out the rest of the breast) would not have changed the public value or effectiveness of the photos.

    But the statutory exception applies when “[t]he distributed material constitutes a matter of public concern.” “[D]istributed material” appears to refer to “a photograph” that “exposes an intimate body part.” The public concern determination would thus be made as to the “photograph” as a whole and not as to any particular portion of the photograph. And this seems consistent with Florida Star v. B.J.F. (1989), where the Court applied the public concern test under the First Amendment by asking whether “the article generally, as opposed to the specific identity [of a rape victim] contained within it, involved a matter of paramount public import.”

    This is overly shallow analysis.

    First of all, I will bet you a $110 million Florida jury verdict that we won that the “public concern” test DOES NOT allow you to publish nonconsensual nude or sexually explicit images just because the public is interested or has a concern about the fact that an affair or sexual relationship is occurring.

    That is simply not the law. Had it been, we would have lost the Hulk Hogan-Gawker case. But we won it.

    Nor do you have to take the image as a whole. We didn’t have to take the Gawker video as a whole, just because they included some snippets of Hulk Hogan/Terry Bollea’s conversations in it.

    The point is, you are supposed to block out the parts that invade the person’s privacy. Had Gawker blocked and blurred the Hulk Hogan tape, they would not have lost the case.

    Now having said that, I think the better argument is that the Daily Mail actually did what Gawker did not do. They did block out portions of the photograph, and showing her in the allegedly compromising position is a matter of public concern. And maybe that argument prevails.

    But the claim that you have to take revenge porn as a whole is extremely dangerous. This isn’t like obscenity. This is a very simple manner of protecting people’s most intimate parts and activities while reporting newsworthy events. It’s not hard to do, and it will be an extremely rare case where a woman’s nipples or genitals will be a matter of public concern.

    1. I don’t know the specifics of the Gawker case, but is this the video that was secretly taken of Hulk Hogan by Bubba the Love Sponge?

      Is there any legal difference if the video or photos were illegally taken in the first place?

      Is there also a legal difference between a celebrity and a politician when it comes to matter of public concern?

      And in this case, with the politician, you’re saying that the necessary body parts were covered, right? Doesn’t that leave no room for a case at all, since she was engaging in activity of public concern?

      It seems pretty different than the Hulk Hogan thing, if I understand the case you’re talking about.

    2. The “we” is rather fine, Watson, is it not?

      1. I think I worked over 2000 hours on the case. I know I wrote all of the appellate briefs and wrote the first draft and sometimes multiple drafts of most of the major p’s and a’s in the trial court.

        So I get to use we.

        1. I did not participate in the Bollea v. Gawker litigation, so perhaps I am misinformed, but my impression is that in the Florida state court litigation, no court of appeals ever passed on the first amendment defense since the trial judge was careful never to write an appealable order after her ill-fated early injunction until she denied post-trial motions (AFAIK the various Florida certiorari petition rulings never resolved the first amendment defense), at which time the defendants, unable to post a supersedeas bond, filed for bankruptcy. But as I said, I was never involved in the litigation, so perhaps I missed a ruling from the second DCA.

          I do recall that in the antecedent federal litigation, the court denied injunctive relief for failure to show a probability of success on the merits in part relying on the first amendment, and that upon the second denial, the plaintiff took a voluntary dismissal so that he could refile in state court minus the federal question claims and with a Florida defendant to forestall removal. When I last taught civil procedure, I used the case as an example of why on some occasions a defendant in federal court should answer a complaint rather than file a 12(b)(6) motion to forestall a voluntary dismissal under Rule 41. See also the Texaco and Pennzoil litigation.

    3. Correct me if I’m mistaken, but my impression was that the claims in the Hulk Hogan case involved tort claims for invasion of privacy, IIED, and the like.

      Here, Hill is pursuing a statutory claim, one which contains an express exception for material that “constitutes a matter of public concern”. (She’s also pursuing an IIED claim, but only against the husband, not the media defendants.) So the fact that public concern isn’t a defense as a matter of Flordia tort law doesn’t really shed light on the California statutory analysis, it seems to me.

      1. Public concern is both an element of public disclosure (the main tort alleged by HH) and imposed as a requirement by the First Amendment.

        1. It’s also an element of the the tort above, and applies to “The distributed material” which in context means the photograph as a whole.

          1. No, it doesn’t. In all probability, the legislative intent was to impose the public concern requirement of the First Amendment. Indeed, Prof. Volokh assumes this because he cites a First Amendment case.

            The public concern requirement of the First Amendment does not apply to the photograph as a whole, and interpreting the statute that way would make revenge porn basically legal as long as the victim is famous or notable (because then the photograph as a whole would then be a matter of public concern even though the private parts were not).

            That would absolutely be contrary to legislative intent here, and there is no First Amendment justification for it.

            1. To be clear, I mean the public concern requirement doesn’t require the photograph to be taken as a whole.

      2. Was Hulk Hogan’s case against Gawker something different than invasion of privacy, since Gawker wasn’t the one who did the illegal taping, but just published the pictures they obtained from the guilty party?
        Or was Gawker also to blame for how the pictures were obtained in the first place?

        And let’s just say for the sake of discussion that the Hulk Hogan case wasn’t about invasion of privacy but was a statutory claim in California, does public interest only apply to politicians and not celebrities? Could it be argued that parents might not want to let their kids buy products or watch shows featuring a clebrity who has sex with his buddy’s wife?

        1. 1. Gawker didn’t record HH. A friend of HH secretly recorded him, and it was sent to Gawker by someone with a vendetta.

          2. I don’t think celebrity/politican makes a difference, as long as the issue is exposure of private parts. Private parts are almost never a matter of public concern.

          1. “Put that thing away, it’s utterly without redeeming social value.”

          2. ” Private parts are almost never a matter of public concern.”

            So your town doesn’t prosecute indecent exposure cases?

    4. I like the quaint notion that the size of the verdict in a different state under different circumstances makes the argument extra-correct.

      1. I’m making a rhetorical point, of course, but my case was governed by the same First Amendment principles of this case, and the notion of “taken as a whole” simply has no place in evaluating “public concern”. It would basically authorize publishing revenge porn of anyone notable or famous.

    5. “This is a very simple manner of protecting people’s most intimate parts and activities while reporting newsworthy events.”

      I wonder how much of the damages stem from the exposure of the few square inches of exposed breast below the bottom of the areola, and how much stem from the constitutionally protected portion of the photo.

      1. She can’t recover for reporting her alleged misconduct. That part is constitutionally protected (as it was constitutionally protected for Gawker to report that Hulk Hogan had his sexual encounter).

        1. So not taking the photograph as a whole means that they’re going to litigate how much of her emotional distress, etc. was caused by some extra skin being shown?

          But if they include distress caused by the rest of the photo, which exposes her misconduct, they infringe in people’s first amendment rights?

          120-million dollar verdict not withstanding, it sounds like not treating the photograph as a whole is very dangerous.

          1. And isn’t the fact that her intimate body parts were exposed a large part of the public concern?

            A photo of a Congresswoman and a staffer with the Congresswomen’s intimate body parts covered doesn’t necessarily depict any misconduct.

            1. And isn’t the fact that her intimate body parts were exposed a large part of the public concern?

              A photo of a Congresswoman and a staffer with the Congresswomen’s intimate body parts covered doesn’t necessarily depict any misconduct.”

              Nor does one with the Congresswoman disrobed, unless the setting is public and he claimed misconduct is indecent exposure.

              As a general exercise, it isn’t a crime to be naked near someone else, unless the elements of indecent exposure are present.

              1. “Nor does one with the Congresswoman disrobed, unless the setting is public and he claimed misconduct is indecent exposure.”

                Or the setting is with a subordinate, and the claimed misconduct is inappropriate relations with a subordinate.

                1. “Or the setting is with a subordinate, and the claimed misconduct is inappropriate relations with a subordinate.”

                  If the photo showed inappropriate relations with a subordinate. Being naked is not the same thing.

                  1. “Being naked is not the same thing.”

                    By many people’s standards being naked in the presence of a subordinate is inappropriate. YMMV.

                    1. I agree with the YMMV. Of course, some people find it inappropriate to just be in the same room alone with a person of opposing sex.

                    2. The important question is whether the law recognizes behavior as inappropriate. If it doesn’t, the fact that some people are voyeurs doesn’t make a photo “of public interest”.

  7. To the aggrieved ex husband and girlfriend: Anyone who gets involved in a relationship with a person who wears socks and flip-flops has no one but themselves to blame when that relationship goes south.

  8. Strong arguments on both sides…I think I’ll need to study the evidence some more.

  9. Basic question. The Complaint alleges that the nude photos were distributed without her consent. But it said little about how they came about.

    Who took those photos? Did she consent to that? What did she think the person was going to do with them? Did she have an expectation they would be kept private?

    All grist for the mill if the case ever gets passed a motion to dismiss.

    1. None of that matters in a revenge porn case. The only consent that would matter is if she consented to distribution of the photos.

      1. You are confusing the law and the facts. If she consented to having her picture taken (which is a glaring implication of the Complaint), then one may question whether she also consented to distribution even by implication. It is certainly a legitimate topic for discovery.

        1. “You are confusing the law and the facts. If she consented to having her picture taken (which is a glaring implication of the Complaint), then one may question whether she also consented to distribution”

          You can question it, by the simple task of asking her “did you consent to this distribution?”
          It seems clear in this case that the answer is and was “no”. Ask around the womenfolk in your vicinity of the default answer isn’t also “no”, but be careful about generalizing the answer you get from a limited number of responses if you think you’re getting a general “yes”, it may turn out that you are hanging out with exhibitionists without knowing it.

  10. Any experts in the California law meaning of the phrase “any portion of the breast below the top of the areola”?

    The reason I ask is that the other place the phasing shows up in a search of California law is in the definition of “nude” for the purposes of defining “nude performance” in the definition of “sexually oriented business” in the tax code.

    Is a woman displaying a portion of the lower part of her breast (but no portion of the areola or nipple) through not-entirely-opaque clothing actually considered to be engaged in a nude performance in California?

  11. If you don’t want naked pictures of yourself to show up on the internet, just don’t take naked pictures of yourself. It is pretty easy.

    1. If I take naked pictures of myself, they are under my control (unless I get stupid and send them to someone else) and won’t end up on the internet unless I put them there.

      The problem is letting other people take naked pictures of you.

    2. So you agree with the conservative Muslim societies that presecribe burqua wear by women at all times, then. It’s all obviously the womenfolks’ fault, for just HAVING bodies that men want to peep at.

      1. If a woman doesn’t want a creepy picture on the internet, she shouldn’t do creepy things in front of a camera.

        1. “If a woman doesn’t want a creepy picture on the internet, she shouldn’t do creepy things in front of a camera.”

          -or-
          she shouldn’t put the pictures on the Internet.

      2. He did not say that, and you know it.

        1. He did strongly imply that, and you know it.

  12. Yeah, as far as the “The distributed material was previously distributed by another person” defense explicit in the California statute goes, the complaint itself says:

    “144. Defendant Heslep was necessarily the first person to distribute the entire set of intimate images, as he had exclusive possession and control of said images.”

    I can’t find anything left of Claim 1 that applies to anyone other than Heslep once it’s granted that Heslep distributed the images before any of the other defendants possessed them.

    Claim 2, the conspiracy claim, in theory, could survive, if the conspiracy predated the distribution. But the complaint claims “156. The conspiracy was formed when Defendant Heslep distributed an electronic file containing blackmail material regarding Plaintiff. The file contained an unknown number of intimate images of Plaintiff.”

    As soon as the material was distributed by Heslep, it was impossible for anyone else to conspire to violate §1708.85, because any distribution by them would be legal due to §1708.85(c)(6). Thus, the act which is claimed formed the conspiracy is the act that made a conspiracy impossible.

    I guess they could claim the right to discover if the “Hair Brushing Picture” and the “Water Pipe Picture” were in the blackmail file whose contents they don’t know, and then follow up as a conspiracy if it were proved they weren’t in it, but acquired after the conspiracy formed.

    The survival of Claim 4, as I read it, necessarily depends on a violation of §1708.85.

  13. It begs common sense that someone allows sexually explicit photos and then claims reasonable expectation of privacy.

    It would be reasonable only if taking the photo was nonconsensual.

    1. Because if a photo exists, you must have expected to show it to everyone? Why not argue that just having genitalia implies no expectation of privacy regarding photos of your personal regions? I mean, the fact that you can be naked obviously suggests that someone might see you naked…

      1. A nice bit of sophistry.

        1. Let me adjust it for your intellectual level:

          That was bullshit.

          Now do you get it?

  14. “Many people might not care about such behavior by elected officials, but I think people reasonably might.”

    Those people who are Republicans have shown that they don’t have objections to politicians who have sex outside of marriage evidenced by the fact that Republicans twice nominated Donald Trump for the office of the Presidency, while those people who are Democrats have similarly waived this issue by twice nominating Bill Clinton. This leaves the non-partisans as the only voters who haven’t previously expressed a lack of interest in this subject.
    I think a better argument is that around 50% of the population is inherently interested in “photos of the breasts below the aureolae” in an involuntary fashion.

    1. James,
      You have to be tone deaf. The issue is not one of extra-marital sex, but sex with an employee over whom you have a significant power relationship. It is thoroughly unethical and in violation of conflict of interest rules.
      I’d fire an employee of mine for such a stunt.

      1. You have to be kidding. Nobody is this fucking stupid, not even Republicans.

  15. I followed this story at the time, and I find two things factually wrong with the allegations Hill makes in the lawsuit.

    First, the news sites which received the photos (whether it was from Heslep or some other leaker) did not run all of them, and in particular did not run the photos that showed the most nudity. (One such site was Gateway Pundit, which discussed that fact when it posted some of the photos.) I should think that if the sites were part of an “orchestrated vendetta” they would have published the most embarrassing photos too.

    Second, of course, Hill represented a very liberal district in CA, and many of her constituents probably attended similar parties of their own from time to time. So I doubt that anything bad would have happened to Hill if she had simply had the guts to stay silent and sit tight rather than apologize and resign. Apologizing and resigning are the most frequent mistakes made by victims of “cancel culture” — never do either!

    1. ” I should think that if the sites were part of an “orchestrated vendetta” they would have published the most embarrassing photos too.”

      Maybe they were holding back, for a second slap.

  16. Hill has decried the release of “nonconsensual porn” images of herself. However, the only images released (to my understanding) are nude images. These are not equivalent.

    To my knowledge, Playboy magazine, which has routinely published nude images over many decades, has never been found to be pornographic by any court of law.

    Whistling Willie

    1. “Hill has decried the release of ‘nonconsensual porn’ images of herself. However, the only images released (to my understanding) are nude images.”

      If there’s somebody out there who derives sexual gratification from the thought of ending her career, those are pornographic images.

    2. “To my knowledge, Playboy magazine, which has routinely published nude images over many decades,”

      Gee, I wonder if they made Miss May sign a statement that expressly consented to the publication of photos of herself in an unclothed state?

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