Former California congresswoman Katie Hill (D.) admitted in a new profile that she initially planned to lie about the “throuple” relationship with a campaign staffer that came to light in October.
“You know, honestly, it was one of those things where it was like, Well, I’ll just deny it, [emphasis in original]” Hill told New York magazine writer Caitlin Moscatello. “Morgan [the staffer] is not accusing me of anything. She doesn’t want it to come out any more than I do.”
“Plenty of politicians lie, but it’s rare for one to tell a reporter it was her game plan,” Moscatello wrote.
It seems that New York attempted to rehabilitate Katie Hill’s reputation (see also, Hill’s recent partying with CNN’s Brian Stelter and Olivier Darcy). Unfortunately, they also interviewed Katie Hill. The result are a series of self-damning moments. Here are just a few:
This was in early December as Hill scrambled to form a new life after photos of her — some of which she said were taken without her consent — were published online in mid-October. One shows Hill nude, brushing the hair of a junior female campaign staffer, Morgan (referred to here only by first name), in a hotel room. In others, there is Hill naked, holding a bong, with a tattoo of an iron cross — a Nazi-associated symbol used by white supremacists — near her groin; Hill and Morgan kissing. The articles accompanying them include private text messages among Hill, Morgan, and Hill’s estranged husband, Kenneth Heslep, detailing a three-way romantic relationship, as well as a claim by Heslep from a since-deleted Facebook post that Hill had had an affair with her male legislative director, Graham Kelly.
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Later that same year, she went to Cancún with a friend, and they decided to get tattoos. Hill chose what she thought was a symbol of independence — a thick black cross that looked like the logo for the skater brand Independent Truck Company — and had the tattoo artist drill the symbol into her groin. “I was just stupid, drunk, and traumatized,” she said. “There was a self-harm element to it that was, you know, marking this as my space.”
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A tenet of the Me Too movement is that a person can’t fully consent, not really, anyway, to someone who wields power over him or her. During her campaign, Hill often tweeted about Me Too issues of harassment and abuse. As the candidate, she was inarguably at the top rung of her campaign team. Yet she said she didn’t feel like she was in charge, not when she was barely 30 and most staffers were in their 20s. “We joked about this a lot. Morgan was way more my boss than I was hers,” said Hill, “because she got me to places on time. So yes, I recognize that I had power, but also it just wasn’t like that at the time … I was a fucking person that was a few years older than her, and we got wrapped up in this movement of trying to do something, and I happened to be the face of it. But to me, she was just as responsible for it, you know?”
Early in their relationship, Hill, Heslep, and Morgan traveled to Alaska together, where Heslep took the photo of Hill nude, brushing Morgan’s hair. In the picture, Hill is staring down and Morgan is looking toward the lens. Hill said she didn’t know he was taking the shot, which appears to be candid. There is another photo of Hill and Morgan, also in the hotel, both clothed and smiling at the camera. She said she knew about that one but not another image that appears to have been taken just moments before or after, in which the two women are kissing. “I don’t think I would have been okay with that,” she said. “Well, I definitely wouldn’t have been okay with that.”
While only a few senior campaign staffers officially knew about the relationship, “it started to become more and more of an open secret,” according to one former team member. “People started to connect two and two together: [Morgan] is not a senior staff member; why is she at Katie’s house?”
Found via Seth Mandel of the Washington Examiner, who tweets, “Fascinated by the Hill beatification. Abusing your power differential to have sex with subordinates was frowned upon in the prudish old days of 2019.”
“Imagine for a minute the outrage a male Republican congressman would receive (rightfully!) if he uttered this Katie Hill statement —> ‘But to me, she [23 year old subordinate] was just as responsible for it, you know?’”, Jesse Hunt, National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director, adds.