NBC

Sonoma City Councilwoman Fights Back Against Smear Campaign Over Burning Man Photos

A California city lawmaker is fighting back against what she says is a campaign to “slut-shame” her over photos taken at Burning Man unless she withdraws from November’s council race.

Rachel Hundley, who is the former mayor of Sonoma, released a video Monday calling out her harassers who she says tried to “blackmail her” with "outright lies" and things she has posted on social media.

“Last week I was threatened by an anonymous coward … It was nothing short of extortion,” Hundley says in the video. “What was especially disturbing in this era of #MeToo was the attempt to slut-shame me for celebrating my body, and for my attendance at Burning Man.”

Hundley, who is now 35, was elected mayor when she was 31. Hundley says she became the victim of a smear campaign when a now defunct website called “Rachel Hundley Exposed” posted photos of her in her underwear.

An email to her, signed by “Citizens for Peace and Cooperation,” read: “We believe your behavior is immoral and unethical and has no place in our Town ... Sonoma needs moral and ethical leadership our children can look up to, and our community can trust. You do not measure up.”

The website also claimed that Hundley engaged in “lascivious, drunk and drug addled behavior.”

“For too long, it has been seen as okay to control women by dictating what is acceptable for us to wear, say, and do,” Hundley says in the video. “I am here today to tell my faceless bullies that I cannot be shamed into quitting, because I am not ashamed.

“Instead of challenging me on my votes, this website relies solely on unfounded accusations and slut-shaming. Its purpose is to make me afraid, to silence another strong female voice by scaring me out of this election and denying you the right to make a choice.”

Contact Us