Former aide to Gavin Newsom speaks out about their affair while he was San Francisco mayor

Newsom was Mayor of San Francisco when he had an affair with Gibney, his appointments secretary at the time.


The woman gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom had an affair with when he was mayor of San Francisco spoke out about their relationship on Wednesday after questions about the liaison emerged in the governor’s race.

Ruby Rippey Gibney said that although their relationship destroyed her home life, it probably shouldn’t be part of the discussion about sexual misconduct surrounding the #MeToo movement.

“I fully support the #metoo movement. In this particular instance, however, I am doubtful that it applies,” Rippey Gibney wrote on her Facebook page. “Yes, I was a subordinate, but I was also a free-thinking, 33-yr old adult married woman & mother. (I also happened to have an unfortunate inclination towards drinking-to-excess & self-destruction.)”


Ruby Rippey Gibney worked as Gavin Newsom's appointment secretary while he was San Francisco mayor.
(Drew Altizer / Associated Press )

Newsom and Rippey Gibney had an affair when she worked as the then-mayor’s appointments secretary. At the time, she was married to the Democrat’s campaign manager and friend, Alex Tourk.

The affair came to light in 2007. The controversy rocked San Francisco politics, but has largely gone unmentioned in the 2018 governor’s race.

But that changed as the Capitol has been rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct. Two lawmakers have resigned, another has been suspended and documents were released Friday that detailed multiple sexual harassment allegations against lawmakers and staff members since 2006.

Among the lawmakers named in the documents were Republican gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen, a state assemblyman from Huntington Beach. He was accused by an unidentified staff member of several instances of physical contact in early 2013 that she said made her uncomfortable; he denied the accusations at the time and again multiple times since they emerged publicly Friday.

During a GOP gubernatorial debate on Tuesday, Allen and two other candidates blasted Newsom’s relationship with Rippey Gibney, and also criticized Democratic gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa for an extramarital affair he had with a television reporter when he was mayor of Los Angeles.

The Republican candidates said that in addition to being immoral, the relationships left the men vulnerable to blackmail at a time when they were elected officials.

On Monday, Newsom was asked about his relationship with Rippey Gibney during an onstage interview sponsored by Politico and the University of San Francisco.

“I acknowledged it. I apologized for it. I learned an enormous amount from it,’’ Newsom said during the event. “We were very open and honest about it.”

When asked whether there were any other sexual indiscretions in his past that might derail his bid for governor, Newsom responded, “Absolutely not.”

At campaign events and debates over the last two months, Newsom also railed against “toxic masculinity,” blaming it for the flurry of sexual harassment allegations disclosed in Sacramento, Washington and Hollywood.

In a message to The Times, Rippey Gibney said that she didn’t care “about ‘absolving’ anyone for anything. But I do want to make sure that the #metoo movement is reserved for cases and situations that deserve it.”

In her Facebook post, she wrote that while the incident was personally devastating, it led her to maintain sobriety for more than 11 years and allowed her to start over.

She thanked her current husband and professed her love for him before ending with a quote from boxer Mike Tyson: “If you’re not humble, life will visit humbleness upon you.”

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