Susanna Gibson, a Democratic candidate for Virginia’s House of Delegates, on Monday criticized a Washington Post report about consensual sexual acts she once performed with her husband via livestreamed video and suggested legal action would be taken.
Gibson said a statement to the New York Times that the ad “constituted an illegal invasion of my privacy designed to humiliate me and my family” and was an example of “gutter politics at its worst.”
A nurse and public health advocate, Gibson is running to represent the state’s 57th District, an area northwest of Richmond. Your race is one of them just a handful of errors, the results of which will help determine which party controls the current Republican-led Virginia House of Delegates. Her campaign website outlines policy stances in favor of reproductive rights, gun control, public school education and several other issues.
The Washington Post reported that it received a tip about the consensual videos from a “Republican operative” whose identity the newspaper wanted to protect. The agent said he was not working on behalf of Gibson’s Republican opponent in the race, David Owen.
While the original videos hosted on the website Chaturbate were removed, the Post reported that they had been “archived” on another website, Recurbate.
A lawyer for Gibson, Daniel P. Watkins, suggested that the release was a violation of Virginia law that makes it illegal to record someone naked or unclothed and share the recording with third parties without their knowledge – a practice also known as is known as “revenge porn.” Like several other states, Virginia passed a law against revenge porn about a decade ago.
“It is illegal and abhorrent to distribute this type of material, and we are working closely with the FBI and local prosecutors to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Watkins said in a statement.
It’s not clear whether Gibson would pursue a lawsuit against the Washington Post, the unnamed Republican activist or another party. HuffPost reached out to Watkins and Gibson for comment but did not receive an immediate response.
Gibson has given no indication that she plans to drop out of the race.
“It will not intimidate me and it will not silence me,” Gibson said in a statement to The Post and The Associated Press, which also reported on the videos. “My political opponents and their Republican allies have proven that they are willing to commit a sexual crime to attack me and my family because there is no line they will not cross to silence women when they are speak up.”
It’s not clear when the videos were originally streamed. The Post could only report that two of the videos were republished on a different website on September 30, 2022; Gibson entered the race this month.
The Post detailed the story surrounding Gibson’s candidacy and her request for financial “tips” in the videos, telling readers:
Gibson takes the lead in addressing viewers of videos viewed by The Post, but in one instance her husband, an attorney, joins in with “Come on, guys,” repeating her request for a tip.
The newspaper suggested asking for tips was against Chaturbate’s terms and conditions. Gibson once reportedly told her viewers that she was “raising money for a good cause.”