Republicans Mailed '18+' Fliers with Sex Show Screenshots to Thousands of Voters

The fliers were meant to smear Democrat candidate Susanna Gibson in Virginia, which recently passed a law to restrict PornHub access.
susanna gibson
Image Credit: susannagibson on Instagram.

The Virginia Republican Party has mailed several thousand fliers to voters’ houses marked “18+ only” and containing images pulled from online sex shows performed by Susanna Gibson, a Democratic candidate for the state’s House of Delegates. 

The fliers were mailed two weeks before the state’s Election Day, about a month after the Washington Post first reported that Gibson had performed sex acts with her husband for tips on Chaturbate, a live-streaming site for porn performers, last year.


The fliers were sent to voters in District 57, a crucial district for control of the House, which Gibson is running to represent against Republican David Owen. They were sent in envelopes with bold red disclaimers reading, “Do not open if you are under the age of 18,” and “Warning: Explicit Material Included. 18+ Only,” in an apparent attempt to dissuade voters’ children from opening the mail. Virginia recently passed a GOP-led law to restrict access to PornHub with age verification, spurring the website to leave the state

The fliers contained screenshots of Gibson during the porn livestream, as well as censored quotes of what Gibson allegedly said during the livestream. A quote on one such flier, as shared by local news, reads, “I’ll let you fu** me in the a** doggy style in a private room if someone wants to pay. That’s the deal.” Motherboard has not viewed the fliers, but local news reported that the screenshots were censored and fliers shared online do not appear to contain full nude images of Gibson. 


Gibson told the Associated Press in a statement when the videos were first reported that sharing them was “an illegal invasion of my privacy designed to humiliate me and my family.” Gibson’s attorney, Daniel P. Watkins, told the AP at the time that sharing the videos constituted a violation of Virginia’s revenge porn law.

“Any person who, with the intent to coerce, harass, or intimidate, maliciously disseminates or sells any videographic or still image…that depicts another person who is totally nude, or in a state of undress so as to expose the genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breast…is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor,” the law states. Some Virginians have posted on social media that the fliers also constitute revenge porn. 

“Glenn Youngkin [the state’s Governor] wants to ban pornhub but had his party campaign committee mail out nude photos of a candidate,” wrote L. Louise Lucas, the president of the state’s Senate, in a post on X. “He’s a man of privilege that doesn’t understand CONSENT and that should petrify every voter in Virginia. Revenge porn is a crime and that includes in politics.” 


While the revenge porn statute could apply to disseminating fully nude pornographic content from Gibson’s livestream, revenge porn experts say that a revenge porn case against the fliers is less clear-cut. 

“Although this tactic may be in poor taste, it’s unlikely to be prosecuted as a crime under Virginia’s nonconsensual pornography statute,” wrote Lee E. Berlik, an attorney at BerlikLaw in Virginia who specializes in defamation and cyber-harassment, in an email to Motherboard. “The law makes it a crime to maliciously disseminate a videographic or still image of another person who is totally or partially nude with the intent to coerce, harass, or intimidate.” 

“Arguably, the Republican Party distributed these fliers maliciously and with the intent to intimidate Ms. Gibson, but it appears the fliers do not actually contain any explicit images,” Berlik wrote. “By being careful to avoid including any sexually explicit imagery, the Republican Party can likely avoid being charged with violating Virginia’s revenge-porn laws.” 

Rebecca Wade, a partner at Old Town Lawyers in Virginia who has defended clients charged with revenge porn, wrote in an email to Motherboard that though she hadn’t seen the images, the fact that they are censored means that the revenge porn law might not apply. “The revenge porn statute only applies to those images that depict a person who is ‘totally nude,’ or exposes the genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breast,” Wade wrote. “Depending on the images, it may not qualify under the statute.” 

Gibson did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but her campaign previously told local news that, “David Owen [Gibson’s Republican opponent] and the Virginia GOP are trying to distract voters from their extreme agenda to ban abortion, defund schools, and allow violent criminals to access weapons of war. Voters are tired of these desperate attacks, and they will not be fooled by them.” 

The Virginia Republican Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment asking what considerations were made before these fliers were mailed to voters with children.