Former congresswoman Katie Hill sues ex-husband and Daily Mail for ‘sexually degrading’ her with ‘non-consensual porn’ images

Emma Powys Maurice
·2-min read

Former congresswoman Katie Hill is suing her ex-husband and the owners of the Daily Mail for allegedly distributing “non-consensual porn” by publishing nude photos of her.

Hill, who was California’s first openly bisexual person elected to congress, was forced to resign last year following allegations she had an affair with a male congressional staffer.

The affair came to light when nude images and intimate messages were released to the media as part of what Hill called a “smear campaign” directed by her allegedly “abusive” estranged husband.

She’s now launched a lawsuit against her ex and the media outlets who published the images – the Daily Mail and – saying that the First Amendment doesn’t give a “carte blanche right” to “sexually degrade and expose public officials”.

The 41-page lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for emotional distress and violation of state law by releasing private details in “a revenge vendetta”.

The legal action comes two weeks after a judge approved a temporary restraining order against Kenny Heslep, Hill’s ex-husband, directing him to stay 100 yards away from his ex-wife, her relatives and pets.

In seeking the order, Hill said she feared for her life and detailed 15 years of alleged abuse by Heslep, including accusations that he choked her unconscious, threatened her with a gun, abused her pets and released sexually explicit pictures of her.

Yet this restraining order has caused continuing damage to the lawmaker’s career, her lawyers allege, as it triggered some of the media outlets “to humiliate her further, harder, louder and more viciously; even publishing new naked images they know were taken and disseminated without Hill’s consent”.

The Daily Mail published one such image on 11 December, three days after Hill obtained the order: yet another nude photo of her taken by her ex-husband.

“All defendants knew or should have known that Hill had a reasonable expectation that the material would remain private,” Hill’s suit said.

Katie Hill has long sought to combat the abusive media campaign against her, hiring a revenge porn lawyer the moment she resigned from her post.

“I’m leaving because of a misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalised on my sexuality, and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse, this time with the entire country watching,” she said in her final speech as congresswoman.

PinkNews has contacted the Daily Mail and for comment.