Plenty of political scandals have been turned into features films and TV shows, but the complicated rise and fall of former Congresswoman Katie Hill is one of the more unique stories to come out of Washington DC in recent memory, and soon it will become a streaming movie from Blumhouse TV.
Katie Hill, the former representative of California’s 25th Congressional District, resigned from her position a year ago after allegations surfaced of inappropriate sexual relationships with staffers in her office and on her congressional campaign. Hill told her story in the book She Will Rise: Becoming a Warrior in the Battle for True Equality, and now Elisabeth Moss is on board to play the politician in an adaptation of the book. But this project is already rubbing some people the wrong way.
Variety has news on the She Will Rise movie in the works at Blumhouse TV, who has optioned the book which just released this past August, but the streaming project doesn’t appear to have a distribution home yet. Elisabeth Moss is on board to star in the movie, as well as produce with Lindsey McManus through their Love & Squalor Pictures banner alongside Michael Seitzman, who will also write the script, and his Maniac Productions. Jason Blum will also produce, and Jeremy Gold of Blumhouse TV will act as executive producer. Here’s what Moss had to say about the project:
“I am so honored to have the opportunity to portray Katie and to help tell her story. Her strength and work to amplify women’s voices is incredibly inspiring to me and her experiences could not be more important for us to magnify right now. As always, Jason and the Blumhouse team are such incredible partners and Lindsey and I are thrilled to make something powerful with them and Michael.”
As you can tell by Moss’ statement, Katie Hill is being painted as an inspiring female figure. The synopsis of Hill’s book does the same, touting her as a voice who stood up to misogyny in politics and had her career ruined by a system where women “face swifter and more brutal consequences than men.” When Hill’s scandal broke, nude photos of her were allegedly leaked to the press by an abusive husband who she was getting a divorce from at the time, so she certainly had her fair share of struggles. The former congresswoman, who will also executive produce the movie, added in her own statement:
“I wrote ‘She Will Rise’ to try to take back my story from those who have exploited and twisted it. I also wanted to shine a light on the stories of women whose resilience and bravery gave me strength when I needed it most, and hopefully to provide inspiration to others. Having this larger platform to tell this story, working with the talented team at Blumhouse and Michael, and the incredible Elisabeth Moss as the lead, is more than I ever could have imagined — I am so grateful for the opportunity and look forward to collaborating on this project.”
But after news of this movie was recently announced, Katie Hill’s former staffers have spoken out about the framing of this movie and how their former boss is being portrayed. In a series of tweets through the congresswoman’s own account, her staff wrote:
“We appreciate the instinct to defend our former boss, an LGBTQ+ woman who faced abuse from her husband. What happened to Katie Hill shouldn’t happen to anyone. But, this moment requires more nuance, as Katie Hill’s story – our story – is also one of workplace abuse and harassment. Katie Hill can be both a victim and perpetrator. And, staff can experience severe consequences for speaking out against their powerful boss. No one should have to put themselves in harm’s way for the public to understand a simple truth: Katie Hill is not a hero for women. We deserve heroes who embody our values even in the most difficult moments.
Katie Hill was never investigated by the House Ethics Committee, nor has she been held accountable by anyone other than herself. We encourage everyone to reflect deeply before taking her word at face value. Katie took advantage of her subordinates. She caused immense harm to the people who worked for her, many of whom were young women just beginning their careers in politics.
Workplace abuse and harassment can take many different forms, but one thing is certain: it is never okay, even if your boss is a woman and/or a survivor. Believe us when we say: it’s not only about who starts it, it’s also about who ends it. And, while Katie is certainly the survivor of abuse, we are not confident that she sufficiently acted to end her own patterns of inappropriate and abusive behavior.”
Sounds like this movie may have an uphill battle with those who perceive Katie Hill’s story as being a little more problematic than inspiring. While Hill certainly may have done some good in shaking up the famously misogynistic world of politics, she also made some incredibly unethical decisions and used her position of power to engage in inappropriate relationships with her staff. But that kind of complexity does make for an engaging true story. However, one has to wonder how unbiased and honest it will be when Hill herself is one of the executive producers. We’ll just have to wait and see.
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