Opinion: What Katie Hill’s resignation means for the future of women and LGBT candidates

by Peter Heck · Nov 2nd, 2019 3:39 pm

Last Updated Nov 19th, 2019 at 4:51 pm

You could almost feel their anxiety as ABC News distressingly asked the question: What does Democrat Representative Katie Hill’s resignation mean for the future of women and LGBT candidates? (Hill is a woman and identifies as bisexual.)

If I might be so bold, I’d like to attempt an answer to this rather clownish question:

  1. It means they shouldn’t expect to be able to have sex with their subordinates.
  2. It means they shouldn’t expect to be able to take one of their staffers to their husband in order to have "throuple" sex.
  3. It means they shouldn’t expect to be able to sit and brush the hair of their employee while completely naked.

And call me crazy, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that such rules apply to more than just LGBT and women candidates. I’d say Jewish ones, poor ones, male ones, Muslim ones, wealthy ones, old ones, atheist ones, educated ones, Christian ones, poor ones, even vegetarian ones, should plan on abiding by these rigid expectations.

Nevertheless, despite her rather eye-popping acts of indiscretion and exploitation, Hill used her House floor resignation speech to play the victim:

"Today I ask you all to stand with me and commit to creating a future where this no longer happens to women and girls. Yes, I’m stepping down, but I refuse to let this experience scare off other women who dare to take risks, who dare to step into this light, who dare to be powerful."

Where what no longer happens? Where people aren’t expected to maintain a standard of personal character and professional integrity while holding a position in the public trust? Good heavens.

Let’s not pretend that Hill is the first person this has happened to, or that Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional leaders held her to a standard that is ignored for others. Because absurdly, that is precisely the impression Hill is attempting to leave in her wake:

"[I’m being forced out] because of a double standard…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."

Alright, let’s establish a few things that can all be true at the same time:

  1. If indeed she was abused by her ex-husband, it’s unacceptable and he should be punished.
  2. The publication of Hill’s naked pictures was gross and highly unnecessary.
  3. Congressmen and congresswomen who leverage their position of power to prey sexually on their employees should lose their jobs.

What is so difficult to understand about this? As I scrolled through my social media feed on the day of her resignation, I was amazed not only by the media headlines which focused almost entirely on the "Katie Hill is a victim of revenge porn" angle, but also how she was lionized by many of her fellow female lawmakers.

AOC and her cohorts are out in full force in defense of Hill, saying that a male member of Congress would never be ousted for having sex with his staffers.

"This doesn’t happen to male members in the same way — revenge porn in this respect. It’s horrific," AOC said Thursday.

Actually, former Texas Congressman Joe Barton would dispute that assertion. That’s former Congressman Barton. But facts are never things that deter a good victimization crusade like this one. Just ask Ilhan Omar:

So-called "revenge porn" is a terrible and embarrassing blackmail that none of us should wish on our worst enemy. To the extent that Hill was extorted over compromising, explicit photos, she deserves sympathy and support.

But Hill was simultaneously an abuser herself – an abuser of ethics and an abuser of subordinates. She is conclusively someone who used her power to exploit and take advantage of employees. The fact anyone in Congress and the media is willing to not only ignore that, but to actually elevate the abuser into the role of martyred hero is appalling.

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