Judge rules Katie Hill’s nude pictures are not “revenge porn”
The nude pictures are protected free speech
Katie Hill was still a relatively new Congress member when she resigned in 2019 after a story broke about an intimate relationship with a campaign staffer, a violation of House rules that led to an ethics investigation. As part of the coverage, the Daily Mail published nude photos of Hill without her consent.
Hill alleged that these actions violated California’s revenge porn laws. She filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court in December 2020.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Yolando Orozco granted a motion to dismiss the complaint on Wednesday, April 7, holding that the Daily Mail’s publication of the photos was protected free speech. The Daily Mail filed an anti-SLAPP motion against Hill, claiming that they were engaged in protected activity.
Judge Orozco held that since the images spoke to Hill’s character and qualifications for office, their publication online was indeed protected by the First Amendment. Hill may be seen in the photos as having an extramarital affair with a paid campaign staffer.
Judge Orozco wrote that “[t]he photos show a sitting Congresswoman engaging in conduct some might consider highly inappropriate and perhaps unlawful . . . The facts of which these photos speak are about Plaintiff’s character, judgment, and qualifications for her congressional position. Of course, these are matters of public concern.”
Attorney Carri Goldberg, who represents Hill in the case, said, “Anybody who dares enter the public eye should now have a legitimate concern that old nude and sexual images can be shared widely and published by any person or media purporting to have journalistic intentions,” Goldberg wrote. “This ruling has the exact opposite effect California’s revenge porn intended – which was to reduce and not amplify or promote nude images without consent.”
“Today, we have victims of revenge porn who are being frozen out – who are losing access to our judicial system and the freedom to dream big if they have anybody in their past with nude images they can share,” Goldberg continued. Source: Findlaw.com.