In Resignation Speech, Katie Hill Blasts “Misogynistic Culture” That Enabled Abuse

She took aim at the double standard that has allowed Trump to continue his presidency.

(Tom Williams/Getty)

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During her resignation speech on the House floor Thursday afternoon, Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) took responsibility for mistakes she had made that helped end her brief career in Congress. But she also denounced the “misogynistic culture” that pushed her out of office while preserving Donald Trump’s presidency.

In recent days, conservative publications have posted nude photos of Hill, which she said were taken without her knowledge. Hill has suggested that the photos were released by her estranged husband, Kenny Heslep, who she says was abusive. (Heslep’s father has said that Heslep denies leaking the photos.) Hill announced her resignation Sunday amid a House Ethics Committee investigation into whether she had an affair with a congressional staffer, an allegation she has denied. She has also acknowledged a consensual but “inappropriate” relationship with a campaign staffer. After apologizing to her supporters Thursday, Hill took aim the media outlets that published the photos.

“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,” Hill said. “Today is the first time I’ve left my apartment since the photos—taken without my consent—were released. And I’m scared.”

Hill noted that, earlier in the day, she cast her final vote—to formalize the ongoing impeachment investigation—”on behalf of the women of the United States.”

“The forces of revenge by a bitter, jealous man; cyber-exploitation and sexual shaming that target our gender; and a large segment of society that fears and hates powerful women, have combined to push a young woman out of power,” she said. “Yet a man who brags about his sexual predation, who’s had dozens of women come forward to accuse him of sexual assault, who pushes policies that are uniquely harmful to women, and who has filled the courts with judges who proudly rule to deprive women have the most fundamental rights to control their own bodies, sits in the highest office of the land.”

* This story has been revised.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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