Screenshots of Democratic candidate Susanna Gibson engaging in sexual acts with her husband on a pornographic website were shared with The Associated Press. The videos, posted on the website, featured Gibson and her husband asking viewers for monetary contributions in exchange for specific sexual acts. The campaign for Gibson, who is running for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, issued a statement denouncing the sharing of the videos as a violation of the law and her privacy.
Gibson referred to the exposure of the videos as “the worst gutter politics” and stated that it would not intimidate or silence her. She accused her political opponents and their Republican allies of committing a sex crime to attack her and her family. The revelation has added an explosive element to the legislative contest, which holds significant weight in determining the balance of power in the Virginia General Assembly.
The race between Gibson and Republican businessman David Owen has attracted substantial spending and interest, as both parties vie for control of the state government. Currently, Democrats control the Senate by a four-vote margin, while Republicans control the House of Delegates by the same margin, with four seats vacant. Gibson’s attorney, Daniel P. Watkins, argued that disseminating the videos is a violation of Virginia law, specifically the prohibition on maliciously distributing or selling nude or sexual images with the intent to coerce, harass, or intimidate.
Gibson, a nurse practitioner and married mother of two, won the Democratic primary in June and is competing in the 57th District, which includes suburbs of Richmond in Henrico and Goochland counties. The district’s split in the 2022 congressional midterm elections was 50% Democratic to 49.1% Republican. Gibson cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade as a motivating factor for her candidacy.
The videos in question were posted on Chaturbate, a legal website for live webcam performances featuring nudity and sexual activity. The videos showed Gibson and her husband engaging in sexual acts while requesting donations from viewers. Chaturbate videos are typically streamed live on the site and may be archived on other publicly available platforms. More than a dozen videos under Gibson’s Chaturbate username were archived on Recurbate in September 2022, the month after she announced her candidacy.
Republican House Speaker Todd Gilbert’s spokesperson, Garren Shipley, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, a top-ranking Virginia Democrat, Sen. L. Louis Lucas, came to Gibson’s defense, stating that they would make it the biggest fundraising day of her campaign.
The dissemination of the videos has raised legal and privacy concerns, with Gibson’s attorney arguing that a criminal act has occurred. The impact of this revelation on the ongoing legislative contest remains to be seen.