Courtney Casgraux, a 41-year-old Oregon Democratic congressional candidate, is confronting her past and seeking to “reclaim her sexuality” following the online leak of a video showing her working at a Manhattan BDSM dungeon.
Casgraux, who previously worked as a dominatrix in her 20s and 30s, charging around $500 per hour, is now vying for a seat in Oregon’s 1st Congressional District.
“[I was] just panicking. … Then I was like, ‘Who did this?’ and I just started calling every single person that I pretty much knew from my past. … I was like hyperventilating, crying,” Casgraux said in an interview with the New York Post, recalling her reaction to the video’s release. She is a single mother of a teenage son.
Casgraux, originally from California, returned to the BDSM industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, working at Donatella’s Dungeon in Midtown Manhattan. Despite her efforts, she could not identify who leaked the video but believes it was an attempt to shame her.
“To shame me for something that helped create the life that I have today where I have opportunity … made me really mad. Because it felt like an attack on women, not just an attack on me,” Casgraux said.
Expressing frustration with the current state of the Democratic Party, Casgraux criticized its leadership.
“I do not feel Democrats have strong leadership” on a federal level, she stated, accusing party representatives, including President Biden, of compromising the nation.
“Unfortunately, we live in a nation where there can be sex purchasers in Congress, but not still not sex workers,” she said.
Her campaign focuses on abortion rights and reversing the decriminalization of certain drugs in Oregon. Casgraux is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Suzanne Bonamici for her seat. She has also created a Playboy profile, selling risqué pictures for up to $150 each, and uses it to share her views on various topics, including presidential powers and challenges faced by American farms.
“Once [the video] came out and I got the Playboy page, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I feel like I can just be me.’ And I could say the things that I wanna say, and I can be funny and be tongue in cheek with things, and reclaim my sexuality,” Casgraux added.
Despite raising only $757 from 13 donors, Casgraux remains committed to her campaign. “If I can win, that’s incredible — let’s go to Washington. … and we’ll make amazing legislation,” she told the New York Post.
“But there’s no losing if I can make one woman feel like there’s no shame in your past and what you have done. … You too can run for Congress.”
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