Matt Gaetz Fought Revenge Porn Law to Protect His Stash: Report


Illustration for article titled Matt Gaetz Reportedly Fought a Revenge Porn Law to Protect His Stash

Photo: Samuel Corum (Getty Images)

An update on the metastasizing horrors from the ongoing saga of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican reportedly under investigation for sex trafficking: It’s not looking great.

On Monday, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Gaetz fiercely opposed a revenge porn law while in the Florida legislature. Why? Gaetz allegedly personally wished to do whatever he wanted with his stash of revenge porn. Truly sadistic. Very consistent.

Here’s former Florida Rep. Tom Goodson on Gaetz’s qualms with the 2015 legislation, which Gaetz allegedly brought up in a meeting:

Matt was absolutely against it. He thought the picture was his to do with what he wanted. He thought that any picture was his to use as he wanted to, as an expression of his rights.

This foul out-loud alleged admission to colleagues in a professional setting is borderline incriminating. Gaetz reportedly argued that he should be able to share sexually explicit images without the victims’ consent, while the argument before him was that doing so should be criminal. At the time, in some other states, sharing these sorts of images with intent to harm already could have landed him in jail. Gaetz was reportedly one of only two state representatives to vote against the law.

Then again, this is the kind of man-Klingon who refers to sex work as “pay for play,” the greasiest kind of client lingo.

Goodson doesn’t explicitly say that Gaetz wanted to share this type of explicit imagery, but CNN has reported that he has, including “while on the House floor.”

Not only did Gaetz allegedly pass his phone around, but CNN reported that he displayed the images as trophies:

The sources, including two people directly shown the material, said Gaetz displayed the images of women on his phone and talked about having sex with them. One of the videos showed a naked woman with a hula hoop, according to one source.

“It was a point of pride,” one of the sources said of Gaetz.

The Sentinel also reports that Gaetz likely stonewalled anti-revenge porn advocates’ broadly supported, years-long attempts to get a state law on the books. In 2014, the Florida state senate unanimously passed legislation to outlaw non-consensual sharing of sexually explicit images. A committee Gaetz chaired never gave it a hearing, according to the Sentinel.

It’s usually a bad sign when 6-year-old commentary resurfaces, but we’re interested now because the professional equivalent of a 4chan shitposter has spent the past few weeks furiously denying that he had sex with a 17-year-old. Those and allegations that Gaetz paid for her travel have reportedly launched a federal sex trafficking probe by the Justice Department. The New York Times has reported that investigators also have reason to believe that Gaetz paid for sex with women trafficked by erstwhile Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg. Greenberg has been charged with 14 federal offenses, including sex trafficking a minor. Gaetz is so toxic that even Tucker Carlson appears to want a 10-foot pole.

As we’ve reported here, successfully suing people like Gaetz for sharing and exploiting nonconsensual images often demands sorting out jurisdiction and proving intent. Many victims decide to settle rather than go through re-traumatizing litigation. In the absence of federal regulation, pending possible developments, Gaetz’s constituents have to rely on weak state law because this man allegedly defends his personal right to hoard images of women he considered conquests.

One avenue to remedying nonconsensual sharing of explicit images is to pursue a copyright claim. Gaetz is on the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and The Internet.

Gaetz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Monday, the Washington Examiner published Gaetz’s case for himself, in which he lobbed vague accusations of a conspiracy by “the swamp.” He denied that he has ever exchanged money for sex or committed statutory rape and followed that with: “And no, I am absolutely not resigning.”



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