A video published last year shows then-candidate Katie Hill, a Democratic congresswoman currently embroiled in a nude photo scandal involving one of her aides, making a sex joke about one of her younger staffers.
The footage was captured by Vice News for a video feature on Hill’s congressional campaign.
In one segment, Hill is seen getting on the phone to discuss fundraising phone calls.
“We are all doing like booty-call texts,” Hill, who was 30 at the time, is seen saying in the footage, which was published in May 2018.
“Well, Kelsey is. She is texting all of her ex-hookups,” Hill says, referring to Kelsey O’Hara, a then 28-year-old consultant for the campaign.
“You have 28 minutes. That’s probably longer than most of the times you’ve slept with them,” she says into the phone.
In the footage, O’Hara stares into her laptop as Hill makes the joke.
Hill refused to apologize for her comments after being asked about them by the Los Angeles Times.
The Katie Hill controversy
In a statement to Politico published on Tuesday, Hill denied having an improper relationship with a female aide.
“I am disgusted that my opponents would seek to exploit such a private matter for political gain. This coordinated effort to try to destroy me and people close to me is despicable and will not succeed,” she told the outlet.
Hill also said her estranged and “abusive” husband was the source of the scandal.
“The fact is I am going through a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me,” Hill told Politico.
Conservative blog Red State on Friday published a photo that appears to show a completely nude Hill brushing the hair of a young aide.
Hill, who is openly bisexual, and her now-estranged husband, Kenny Heslep, were both allegedly involved in the relationship with the 22-year-old aide. The three-way couple took multiple vacations together, according to the report.
In August, Heslep said in a since-deleted Facebook post that Hill had also been having sex for at least a year with Graham Kelly, who was her finance director at the time and is now her legislative director.
In her statement to Politico, Hill denied being romantically with Kelly.
A #MeToo double standard?
Some conservatives have raised concerns that the media is displaying a double standard in its coverage of Hill, arguing a conservative male lawmaker in her situation would be facing much greater scrutiny in the post-#MeToo era.
Last February, after #MeToo allegations reached the halls of Congress, the House voted to update its rules to bar lawmakers from having sexual relationships with staff members.
Although Republicans were in the majority at the time, Democrats rode the wave of female empowerment to a House majority in 2018. Hill was part of the biggest-ever class of women lawmakers to be elected, winning a “toss-up” district that was previously represented by a Republican.
- Rep. Katie Hill in footage published to YouTube by Vice News on May 14, 2018.: Screen grab