A Democratic candidate running for the Virginia General Assembly has condemned reports that she performed on a pornographic website with her husband while asking viewers for “tips” in return for carrying out specific sex acts.
Susanna Gibson, 40, a first-time candidate in a high-stakes race for a seat in the House of Delegates, issued a statement on Monday, calling the exposure of the videos “the worst gutter politics” and “an illegal invasion of my privacy designed to humiliate me and my family.”
“It won’t intimidate me and it won’t silence me,” the nurse practitioner wrote in the statement to The Washington Post. “My political opponents and their Republican allies have proven they’re willing to commit a sex crime to attack me and my family because there’s no line they won’t cross to silence women when they speak up.”
It comes after the Post and the Associated Press reported the videos of the livestreamed online sexual activity from one pornographic site was archived on another site.
According to screenshots reviewed by the Associated Press, Ms Gibson had an account on Chaturbate, a legal website where viewers can watch live webcam performances that feature nudity and sexual activity. The Independent has reviewed screenshots purported to be from the videos posted to the Chaturbate account, but was unable independently to confirm their authenticity.
The videos reportedly show Ms Gibson and her husband, John David Gibson, having sex and then pausing to ask viewers for donations called “tips” or “tokens” to watch a private show or to see specific sex acts carried out.
In at least two videos, she tells viewers that she is “raising money for a good cause,” the Post reported.
According to the Post, more than a dozen videos posted under Ms Gibson’s Chaturbate username were archived on a publicly available site — Recurbate — in September 2022, the month after she announced her candidacy.
The most recent were two videos archived on 30 September 2022, but it’s unclear when the livestream occurred, the Post reported.
Ms Gibson’s attorney, Daniel P Watkins, told the Post that disseminating the videos is a violation of Virginia’s revenge porn law, which makes it a crime to “maliciously” disseminate or sell nude or sexual images of another person with the intent to “coerce, harass, or intimidate”.
“It’s illegal and it’s disgusting to disseminate this kind of material, and we’re working closely with the F.B.I. and local prosecutors to bring the wrongdoers to justice,” Mr Watkins said.
The Independent has reached out to Ms Gibson’s campaign for comment.
This marks an explosive turn in a race that will carry significant weight in determining the balance of power in the Virginia General Assembly.
Ms Gibson, who won a Democratic primary in June, is running against Republican businessman David Owen.
She has said it was the US Supreme Court’s 2022 decision overturning Roe v Wade that propelled her into the race.
“I’m sure this is a difficult time for Susanna and her family, and I’m remaining focused on my campaign,” Mr Owen said in a statement in response to the news, according to the Associated Press.
Democrats control the Senate by a four-vote margin, and Republicans control the House of Delegates by the same margin, with four seats currently vacant.
The parties are waging intense legislative battles as GOP rising national political star Governor Glenn Youngkin looks to bolster his conservative agenda with full control of state government.