Patterico's Pontifications

9/13/2023

This Week’s Sordid, Sleazy, and Gross Story [Updated]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:19 pm



[guest post by JVW]

UPDATE [9/14/23, 2:00 pm]

I can’t help it; this is hilarious and sums up the hyprocrisy pretty nicely (hat tip to Powerline):

—— Original Post ——
Because sordid, sleazy, and gross is right up my alley.

Maybe you’ve heard mention of the story of Susanna Gibson: wife, mom, nurse-practitioner, Democrat candidate for Virginia’s House of Burgesses (i.e., the state legislature), and — well, how do we put this delicately? — camgirl on a pornographic website where she makes and distributes sex videos featuring herself and her husband in return for cash “tips.”

I have nothing of particular value to add to this story, so I’m just going to provide a round-up of others’ reactions to it. Over at Powerline, John Hinderaker finds the Democrat media up to their old tricks:

[. . .] In its effort to help the Democrats in Virginia, the [New York] Times slides from spin to outright falsehoods. It headlines: “State House Candidate in Virginia Condemns Leak of Sex Tapes.” But there was no “leak.” Susanna Gibson performed sex acts in public, for money. The videos were posted by her, not someone else. Nor was there a “sex tape,” which carries connotations of nonconsensual posting of a private video by another party. No: Gibson did this herself, publicly, for cash. And the paper’s suggestion that the story here is Gibson’s “condemnation” of Republicans, not what she did, is risible.

Just the fact that the NYT referred to the product as sex “tapes” shows how hopeless stuck in the Clinton 90s that paper truly is. [Confession: in the second paragraph to this post I instinctively wrote “sex tapes” too, before I managed to recall that we are living in 2023 and there is pretty much zero chance that VHS comes into play at all here.] Mr. Hinderaker then suggests that Ms. Gibson and her enablers are out to lunch when they attempt to claim that GOP efforts to spotlight the unusual hobby of the Democrat candidate amount to violations of Virginia’s nebulous “revenge porn” law.

It is true that “[r]eleasing damaging information about candidates of the opposing party…is an age-old political practice.” But the Times’s characterization of “releasing damaging information” presumes that Gibson was entitled to engage in public sex for money without the fact becoming known to voters. In fact, the “release” of damaging information was done by Gibson when she uploaded her videos (there were more than a dozen) to Chaturbate, to be watched by the public. And, yes, this situation is “highly unusual.” It is unusual because most politicians do not use porn sites to engage in sex acts for money.

Writing in The Spectator, Cockburn turns his jaundiced eye to the particulars of the matter and discovers that Ms. Gibson actually violated the terms and conditions of her sex video hosting service:

In her streams, Gibson could be seen prompting her 5,770 followers for “tips” in exchange for various sexual acts with her husband, who looks like a lost, and less talented, Manning brother. Tips are paid in the form of “tokens” purchased through the site. Asking for them apparently violates Chaturbate’s house rules. “Requesting or demanding specific acts for tips may result in a ban from the Platform for all parties involved,” the site’s policy says.

Gibson is a shrewd businesswoman though and won’t often settle for a measly one or two tokens. “I need, like, more tokens before I let him do that,” she responded to a request to perform a certain act with her husband. “One token, no. More. Raising money for a good cause.” In another video, she promised that for 500 tokens she would order room service in a hotel so the delivery person could see her naked. [. . .]

There some more gross stuff about Ms. Gibson in Cockburn’s column, so if like me you appreciate the raunchy details you will find them there.

Jeffrey Blehar at NRO is disgusted by said details, but he puts on a brave face and finds a bit of humor in the whole affair, though he recognizes that there is a quite sorrowful part to the story too:

The story’s details — and I will leave you to the links in this case rather than recounting them myself — are excruciating. (The sexual ones are unworthy of specific mention; the moment at which Mrs. Gibson pauses in the midst of said acts unworthy of mention to chirp that the payments for them are going to a “good cause” are an unfortunate matter for campaign-finance lawyers to scrutinize.) I want to start by clarifying that I understand that one must put on a brave face when caught in an intolerably embarrassing situation. Though I myself have never been caught running a pornographic live-cam side hustle after having asked a party’s voters to entrust me with its nomination, I think we can all agree that it’s the sort of “rookie mistake” anyone could have made.

[. . .]

I actually find it more difficult to be funny about this story than I otherwise might, and the reason is that I’ll never understand the internal psychology of a person who engages in this sort of public exhibitionism, much less then goes out and seeks nomination for public office (Gibson’s primary was not a blowout by any means) with it not just in their past, but their active present. And, more than anything else, because — although this is obviously newsworthy — I shudder to think of the consequences for her family. There’s no punch line to end on here, just a lament about the tawdriness of our demotic era and the invisible damage done.

It was obvious as the Baby Boom generation came to power that we would inevitably at some point end up with a First Lady who had posed nude during her modeling career (as well as the wife of a British Prime Minister who had done the same thing on a much more informal level), and it’s reasonably likely that at some point we’ll have a member of Congress who posed for Playboy while in college or who was photographed streaking through the campus quad one drunken evening. Heaven knows, Italy was electing a pornographic actress to to their parliament 36 years ago, so maybe Puritan America is just decidedly behind the times. But given the social crusading left’s zeal to provide legitimacy to what they deem as “sex work,” does that really mean that we’re ready to entrust our representation to the likes of Susanna Gibson? I guess we’ll find out, and perhaps quite soon.

But spare a kind thought for the pioneering Katie Hill, would ya’?

– JVW

45 Responses to “This Week’s Sordid, Sleazy, and Gross Story [Updated]”

  1. The gaslighting that Democrats and their media allies are doing in trying to suggest that these were purely private sex videos and not a commercial enterprise from the Gibsons themselves is disgusting. But they are certain in their ability to usually control the narrative. Part of the reason I decided to blog this is to register my objection to their underhanded tactics.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  2. My problem with Katie hill wasn’t the sex or weed. It was that she had a sexual relationship with someone that worked for her.

    Time123 (a89b3e)

  3. There you go again going after capitalism in action. I would vote for her or katie hill over a rethugliKKKan anyday! Strange I have to be a better capitalist then the capitalists here! If you don’t like it move to north korea or Iran!

    asset (eea168)

  4. CNN takes the same tack as the NYT. However, The Washington Post and AP call it what it is.

    She is running on a pro-abortion anti-Dobbs platform. It will be interesting to see how low that constituency will go.

    nk (056707)

  5. Was Stormy Daniels indisposed? She has experience as a campaign surrogate, was once involved with Presidential hopeful Avenatti and as an amateur herpetologist, can field identify over ten types of herpes

    steveg (4e0377)

  6. Sending them to the AP seems creepier and sleazier to me than the online performance stuff (which would not be my choice of occupations, but it’s not my life). IDK how this process works, but from the NRO article it sounds like they were performing under a pseudonym to a patronage so that copying and distributing the performance would seem like it might violate revenge porn laws. It certainly entails doxing which is a pretty significant social violation for my generation, and maybe some kind of copyright law violation as well.

    IDK, but it feels like whoever sent it to the AP took away her control of the situation and that’s worse IMO than her using her control of her image to use it in a way that other people disagree with.

    Nic (896fdf)

  7. IDK how this process works, but from the NRO article it sounds like they were performing under a pseudonym to a patronage so that copying and distributing the performance would seem like it might violate revenge porn laws. It certainly entails doxing which is a pretty significant social violation for my generation, and maybe some kind of copyright law violation as well.

    I’m obviously not a lawyer, so my comments here are just (semi-)educated guesses. I do think there is a copyright claim, though anyone with half a wit realizes that as soon as you put porn on a website — even one that keeps it behind a paywall — it is going to be downloaded and put on free sites. The Gibsons, it would seem, might have a case against some porn site operators, but not necessarily someone who points out where their content is available for free.

    As for the revenge laws, I read the Virginia one (which I also linked to in the post) and I’m wondering if it would pass muster on First Amendment grounds. Most revenge porn laws cover situations where the parties create a video intended solely for their own private enjoyment, and then one way or another one of the parties leaks it to the world. In this case, the Gibsons from the beginning allowed others to view their private actions (for a fee), so as a juror I would be hard pressed to see any damage done to their reputations. If a candidate running for office had some one-off porn shoot he had done for a few extra bucks during a period when he was in bad financial shape 20 years earlier suddenly resurface then I would have a great deal of sympathy for him. I believe the Gibsons were creating content as recently as the week before the story broke.

    And as for the doxxing charge, she’s now a public figure as a candidate for elective office, so I doubt very much that you could make much of a case that she otherwise should have been allowed to live in anonymity. Again, I keep coming back to the idea that she and her husband chose to create and sell this content. At the end of the day it’s a bit ridiculous to try to blame those who stumbled across it.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  8. Oh, I don’t think the doxxing is a legal problem, but it’s generally considered really “bad form” as the British say.

    Nic (896fdf)

  9. Oh, I don’t think the doxxing is a legal problem, but it’s generally considered really “bad form” as the British say.

    Gotcha. What would American politics be without every actor comporting him/herself in bad form, though?

    JVW (1ad43e)

  10. @8. I’m pretty anti-dox, and certainly what’s private should be left private, but this is far from private. When you run for public office, it seems to me you waive the right to complain about being doxxed for things you did pseudonymously on the internet. I can’t say whether it’s a generally adopted social norm, but that’s how it strikes me.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  11. To be clear, I feel bad for them. It must be embarrassing. Or who knows, for them maybe it’s not. Either way, it seems to me it’s on them. You can keep your paid internet sex pseudonymous, or you can have a political career. Thinking you can do both is really dumb. That’s something they should definitely be embarrassed about.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  12. Eh?

    They’re voluntarily selling a product to willing customers. Hopefully they are enjoying it, too. Who cares? It says nothing about their qualification for office, or their character.

    Sure, they shouldn’t expect to keep it a secret. But I don’t understand why anyone cares.

    aphrael (22c937)

  13. They’re voluntarily selling a product to willing customers. Hopefully they are enjoying it, too. Who cares? It says nothing about their qualification for office, or their character.

    I would have at least some level of respect for the Gibsons if that is how they addressed this kerfuffle. And I understand where you are coming from, but I think we haven’t yet gotten to the point where the majority of us are comfortable watching our politicians make the sign of the triple-horned wildebeest for Lincolns and Hamiltons.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  14. They’re voluntarily selling a product to willing customers. Hopefully they are enjoying it, too. Who cares? It says nothing about their qualification for office, or their character.

    Seriously?

    nk (25b5a5)

  15. Anything can be abstracted to meaninglessness.

    nk (72acae)

  16. Who cares?

    Blackmailers.

    BuDuh (4214e4)

  17. @13.

    Not all non-criminal behavior is equally moral.

    I’m not voting for someone the produces / distributes porn, and OxyContin sales manager or someone that runs a pay day loan store. I think both business models make money by taking advantage of vulnerable people.

    Simone like this who makes porn maybe isn’t as immoral, but I’m going to have some concerns about their moral judgment in general that haven’t remotely been addressed but the responses I’ve seen.

    Society has creaked pockets where vulnerable people have only bad choices.
    I don’t think we can successfully legislate morality.

    But I’m not going to have much respect for someone that looked at the way things worked and decided to to make money in one of those pockets.

    Again, I don’t think this applies directly to the candidate in question but it gives me a lot of concern about her general moral judgment. Others mileage may vary.

    Time123 (fddcce)

  18. JVW, I guess what I’m saying is that while I understand we live in flawed world and there are situations where “willing customer willing seller” is the best we’re going to get it’s not in itself worthy of respect and may in some cases be evidence that the person in question lacks the moral judgment needed for elected office.

    Time123 (fddcce)

  19. @2

    My problem with Katie hill wasn’t the sex or weed. It was that she had a sexual relationship with someone that worked for her.

    Time123 (a89b3e) — 9/13/2023 @ 6:36 pm

    This. It was a clear abuse of power thing.

    whembly (5f7596)

  20. NK, at 14 – yeah, seriously. i see no moral questions raised in making and selling amateur porn. as long as everyone involved is doing so of their own free will (without coercion or any form of abuse), why should i care? what does it matter? nobody is being hurt.

    aphrael (71d87c)

  21. BuDuh, at 16 – the same reason gay people were banned from the military for forever.

    Yeah, blackmail is a problem, but if someone is *open* about it there’s no blackmail risk, so why should anyone care?

    aphrael (71d87c)

  22. Whembly, at 19:

    this is an unusual event, but i completely agree with you and Time123 here. Generally speaking, sexual relationships with people who work for you are only ok if the relationship *predates* the employment arrangement.

    aphrael (71d87c)

  23. @13

    I would have at least some level of respect for the Gibsons if that is how they addressed this kerfuffle. And I understand where you are coming from, but I think we haven’t yet gotten to the point where the majority of us are comfortable watching our politicians make the sign of the triple-horned wildebeest for Lincolns and Hamiltons.

    JVW (1ad43e) — 9/13/2023 @ 11:58 pm

    Maybe it’s my inner GenX id… but, why should we care about this?

    It’s obviously consensual in every meaningful way.

    IF I were a voter, I can easily overlook this if she can convince us that she can do the job.

    I go back to the idea that we should NOT venerate or hold politician to some higher moral standards that we don’t hold ourselves. Politicians are “like us” in every way, and are tempted every day.

    If the worst of the Gibson is some consensual sex on the internet, you can do a lot worse in the political realm.

    whembly (5f7596)

  24. It’s not that strange for whembly and i to be pretty close on a lot of stuff.

    Time123 (bf1ba7)

  25. Tiem123, fair! I meant to say it’s unusual for whembly and *me* to agree. 🙂

    aphrael (71d87c)

  26. I don’t really care what adults choose to do as long as it is consensual and isn’t hurting anyone else. But two things come to mind: Anyone who believes that their porn vids and nude photos will stay private because of a secure server or some sort of encryption, is just dumb. The expectation should be that it *will* be made public at some point. Just like one *should* be able to take a walk through the homeless camps in Los Angeles without any harm coming to them, that isn’t reality. It’s why we can and should exercise common sense *before* making decisions that could have a serious unintended consequence for us and our families. And if you’re running for public office, that all your deeds and misdeeds will be exposed is a given. Ms. Gibson seems like an unserious person.

    Moreover, Gibson is a mother of two small children. She is seeking public office, and therefore she and her family will be scrutinized in every way, so of course the porn was bound to be discovered. But worse, when her kids are older, they or their friends will google their parents and guess what they’ll find? Those vids are up there in perpetuity. Thanks, mom and dad.

    This isn’t a savvy individual tethered to seriousness and reality. I wouldn’t vote for her based on that alone.

    Dana (4020dd)

  27. if someone is *open* about it there’s no blackmail risk, so why should anyone care?

    At what point during Gibson’s political venture would you say she was “open” about her pornography?

    Why does an “open” porn star care what anyone says?

    The fact that she is so upset now pretty much derails the idea that there was anything, besides her legs, that was open. She had the kind of secret that would make her vulnerable to being influenced in policy decisions and important votes.

    This is exactly what opposition research is supposed to uncover before an election.

    BuDuh (4214e4)

  28. Why should we care if a candidate for office makes and sells amateur porn videos?

    Why should we care if a candidate for office became fabulously wealthy running a string of paycheck cashing services which charge a huge “convenience fee” for their service?

    Why should we care if a candidate for office worked on the Facebook/Instagram marketing team which sought out methods to get teenagers to spend more time on the apps?

    Why should we care if a candidate for office took hundreds of thousands of government subsidies for “paycheck protection” or for “clean energy initiatives” and eventually bankrupted the business?

    Why should we care if a candidate made a great deal of money by filing questionable class-action lawsuits where his law firm recouped most of the settlement money and the plaintiffs only received a very small percentage?

    All of the above is legal; it doesn’t make it moral. I’m not saying that any of these people should be denied a spot on the ballot in a functioning democracy, but I am saying that they don’t get to make the rest of us forget who they are and how they make a living.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  29. UPDATE [9/14/23, 2:00 pm]

    I can’t help it; this is hilarious and sums up the hyprocrisy pretty nicely (hat tip to Powerline):

    Democrats in 2003: “Stay out of our bedroom!”Democrats in 2023: pic.twitter.com/IkGdnugpxt— Oilfield Rando (@Oilfield_Rando) September 12, 2023

    JVW (1ad43e)

  30. Yeah, porn cheapens sex. We understand why kids shouldn’t be exposed to it. We can probably also appreciate downsides for even adults: addiction, isolation, distorted perceptions, guilt, potential aggression, and re-wiring of your brain and even sexual function. Let’s be frank that porn can and has ruined relationships. So there’s nothing especially noble about producing and marketing it. What other nutty thoughts does that individual have. Lots of people will lose respect for a producer of it…and refuse to vote for that person because of questions of judgment. In the words of George H W Bush: It’s bad! It’s bad!

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  31. Exit question: Is Katie Hill a United States Representative come January 2021?

    No. On October 27, 2019, she announced that she would resign from Congress, resigned on November 3,2019, and the resignation took effect on November 5, 2019.

    Now who was it that kept advancing his resignation?

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  32. @28

    Why should we care if a candidate for office makes and sells amateur porn videos?

    Why should we care if a candidate for office became fabulously wealthy running a string of paycheck cashing services which charge a huge “convenience fee” for their service?

    Why should we care if a candidate for office worked on the Facebook/Instagram marketing team which sought out methods to get teenagers to spend more time on the apps?

    Why should we care if a candidate for office took hundreds of thousands of government subsidies for “paycheck protection” or for “clean energy initiatives” and eventually bankrupted the business?

    Why should we care if a candidate made a great deal of money by filing questionable class-action lawsuits where his law firm recouped most of the settlement money and the plaintiffs only received a very small percentage?

    All of the above is legal; it doesn’t make it moral. I’m not saying that any of these people should be denied a spot on the ballot in a functioning democracy, but I am saying that they don’t get to make the rest of us forget who they are and how they make a living.

    JVW (1ad43e) — 9/14/2023 @ 1:42 pm

    JVW…buddy…there’s a distinction that I think you’re missing.

    This question:
    Why should we care if a candidate for office makes and sells amateur porn videos?

    Isn’t hurting anyone as everystep of the way is consensual and that there’s no instances of someone being taken advantage of over something out of their control.

    You following questions has some elements whereby immoral actors were taking advantage of the situation.

    See what I’m saying?

    If you think a politician having a past of being paid for amateur porn on a website is too “icky”, that’s a fine position to take. But I wouldn’t equate that with the other immoral acts you’ve listed.

    whembly (5f7596)

  33. You following questions has some elements whereby immoral actors were taking advantage of the situation.

    See what I’m saying?

    I do, but I don’t agree with you. Whether or not it is “hurting someone” is entire subjective. Will the children be hurt when they are teased at school because everyone can watch mommy and daddy getting it on? Is the widespread availability of porn a net benefit to this country, or has it brought with it a whole lot of social problems that we are only starting to comprehend?

    My comparison of all of the above boils down to a more objective and salient point: Are all of the actions that I described legal? I submit that the answer is pretty much “yes” (with obvious exceptions), and therefore that is a far more comparable than the subjective criterion that you proposed.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  34. @33 Will the children be hurt when they are teased at school because everyone can watch mommy and daddy getting it on?

    Okay, but you’re stipulating a hypothetical w/o knowing whether or not it would happen or whether the children will handle it better than that.

    The other examples are true 100% immoral acts whereby someone is taken advantaged of…

    So, we’ll agree to disagree on your premise. 😉

    whembly (5f7596)

  35. Romney’s ambition is about Mitt Romney, God’s gift to America. We’re all just too stupid and wicked to see it.

    What an asshat thing to say. NRO has many fine writers, but Michael Brendan Dougherty isn’t one of them.

    norcal (c53917)

  36. Oops. Wrong thread.

    norcal (c53917)

  37. 30. AJ_Liberty (5f05c3) — 9/14/2023 @ 2:10 pm

    re-wiring of your brain and even sexual function.

    Other things do that too, but almost nobody would say that now.

    Alex Comfort’s 1967 book Nature and Human Nature is quoted in Chapter Six of The Descent of Woman (Corgi Press, 1972, 1974Originally published in Great Britain)

    From the bottom of page 111by Elaine Morgan.

    …Fixity of sexual object, at least to the extent of mating with a potentially fertile female, would seem to be the behavioural minimum to be expected in a system where “fitness” is a correlate, simply, of total fertile progeny. But the human sexual object is not fixed–under preset conditions, at least, it is rather easily displaced.

    [page 112]

    ‘Not only is there a large variation, both personal and social, in what female attributes attract the male–there are also gross diversions if the sex drive away from its biological object, to inappropriate objects–members of the same sex, articles of clothing, particular rituals or conditions, inanimate objects which, for the unfortunate individual so afflicted, are as compulsively attractive as the normal female is to most men. The majority of such deviations occur in males.

    ‘These deviations, paraphilias, or fetishes [were explained b Freudians one way] ,,,For the biologist, however, such uncertainty of aim is most odd–it runs wholly counter to what we find in animals, where although maternal response can be imprinted in birds so they treat a cardboard box as their mother, sexual behavior is of the lock and key variety;..’

    he goes to argue that the difference is the absence of oestrus in humans.

    On the bottom of page 115 she writes:

    It is hardly surprising that somemen betray a ‘vagueness of aim’ and become homosexual, or get fixated on ladies'[page 116] underclothes or the smell of rubber or some such irrelevancy. When the biological emergency [no estrus] grew acute….the really strange thing is that they retained enough fixity of purpose to keep the race going at all. For many less advanced creatures end of oestrus would automatically entail the extinction of the species.

    But she says, copulation had become, [or is] a learned activity.

    The cause is her own unique speculation, but the observations about the mistargeting of aim in males are not. I think in females the attraction is almost always to a person not a physical feature- that’s why lesbians frequently become hasbeins (maybe 50%)

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  38. Whembly, I agree with JVW.

    Let me put it like this. Being a Oxycotin sales rep was legal. But it’s also not admirable and shows a lack of morality. Choosing to make your living pushing Oxy is a bad decisions. It’s legal. But you’re making the world a worse place for money.

    Legislators make a lot of decisions and have a lot of power. They need to be able to make good, moral, decisions. A past that shows a lack or morality predicts a future of the same and are a good reason not to support such a candidate.

    YMMV

    Time123 (419e37)

  39. The real trouble was caused by cracking down on prescriptions for Oxycotin. That killed many people.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  40. Worse than stupid.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  41. Oxycotin. That killed many people.

    FIFY. The drug was highly addictive, and marketed with that knowledge.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  42. Kevin M (ed969f) — 9/15/2023 @ 8:22 am

    Michelle Fields hardest hit.

    BuDuh (4214e4)

  43. Abandoned Apollo 17 lunar lander module is causing tremors on the moon

    Hopefully we get bamboo based Electric Eco spacecraft soon! We are destroying the solar system!!

    BuDuh (4214e4)

  44. Ack!

    That was for the open thread.

    BuDuh (4214e4)


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