MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Katie Hill Resignation: 'It Really Seems Like the Bad Guys Won'
In response to the lightning-fast fall of former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill of California, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes declared that “the bad guys won.”
The 32-year-old Hill, who is openly bisexual, was a rising star in the Democratic ranks of the House, having flipped a GOP seat to take office.
Then came the deluge, which began in mid-October.
Intimate photos of Hill were splashed across the internet amid allegations she had an affair with her legislative director, which she denies, but which still made her the target of a House Ethics Committee investigation because such relationships violate House rules.
A conservative website, RedState, was the first to publish allegations about Hill’s private life.
Hill also was forced to admit an affair with campaign aide Morgan Desjardins, 24, after Desjardins was identified in photos with a naked Hill.
It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I believe it is the best thing for my constituents, my community, and our country.
See my official statement below. pic.twitter.com/nG97RQIwvO
— Rep. Katie Hill (@RepKatieHill) October 27, 2019
Hill on Monday posted a combative video in which she blamed the “right-wing media” and “political operatives” for using information fed to them by the husband with whom she is going through a divorce and being the catalysts that stoked the outcry that led her to her resignation.
Hayes followed her lead on Monday night.
“We don’t know what we don’t know in terms of relationships with staffers,” Hayes said.
“She’s denied the relationship with the staff in Congress and she acknowledged one with the campaign staffer, so sort of putting aside that as not great and problematic and maybe there’s more of that, but it really seems like the bad guys won here, to oversimplify.”
Guest Christina Greer, an associate professor at Fordham University, blamed “certain journalistic outlets.”
“If you can call it that, yeah,” Hayes said with heavy sarcasm.
“Yeah, exactly,” Greer said.
“This is a form of technological domestic violence in some ways, especially if the soon-to-be ex-husband is behind this,” she added.
Hayes also said Monday the issues that dogged Hill will face other politicians of her generation.
“There’s going to be a generation of members of Congress and politicians where there are thousands of images just around,” Hayes said.
“And, it’s like — we’re going to have to decide as a society if we’re going to let that be some permanent source of blackmail, that every person who has a grudge out for you for the rest of your life, that you dated in college and then you go on to be a Democrat and they’re a Republican, is going to be able to bring you down with,” he added.
Not everyone took that view.
Katie Hill resigned because she violated House ethics rules by engaging in a sexual affair with a staffer.
It wasn’t because of naked pics.
It wasn’t because she posted pics on wife sharing sites.
It wasn’t a GOP-led coup.
It’s not sexist. She broke the rules. Period.
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) October 29, 2019
My book on “How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of ‘Revenge Porn’” will consist of one sentence: Don’t make porn. https://t.co/4dyD7ZdqUl
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) October 29, 2019
Writing in Time, national correspondent Charlotte Alter said Hill’s case foreshadows others to come that will force society, voters and politicians to confront exactly what kind of private conduct is allowable.
“Hill’s case lands smack in the middle of the three-way intersection between tech, sex, and power: Technology has changed sex; sex has changed power; and power is newly vulnerable to strains of disgrace that didn’t exist a decade ago,” she wrote.
“Technology provides new and humiliating ways to document sexual encounters, and all sexual encounters — especially when they involve a public figure — are now subjected to brutal public dissection.”
“Hill may be the first millennial lawmaker to have to grapple with this particularly thorny 21st century code of conduct, but she won’t be the last,” Alter wrote.
Alter wrote in conclusion that “the weaponization of imperfection is the defining threat for millennials in public life.”
“So much more is documented for this generation, and therefore so much can be dug up. All of it — nudes, texts with old flames, old Halloween costumes, angry emails, tasteless college jokes — just waiting to be mined and distributed into the court of public opinion. A uniquely millennial rise, before a uniquely millennial fall.”
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