Back when California Governor Gavin Newsom was facing recall in 2021, actress Rose McGowan presented some pretty damning information about Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, acting as a silencer for Harvey Weinstein. Specifically, in 2017 McGowan recorded an interview with Ronan Farrow for NBC News in which she told the story of being raped by Weinstein. NBC News sat on the tape for five months, during which time Weinstein’s attorneys (one of whom is Newsom’s brother-in-law) tried to get McGowan to recant. When their efforts were rebuffed, Siebel Newsom met with McGowan under the guise of friendship then tried to strong-arm her into keeping quiet. When that didn’t work, and the interview aired, Siebel Newsom then came out with her own weepy tale of being raped by Weinstein.
Siebel Newsom also joined online groups of Weinstein victims, where the women spoke openly. When she was found out, she claimed that she was just trying to help people and that “no good deed goes unpunished.”
Aside: It looks like Siebel Newsom’s gaslighting skills are right up there with her husband’s.
At that time I wrote about it in a piece headlined: “Jennifer Siebel Newsom Is the Worst Kind of ‘Feminist.” And she is, as we’re about to see.
As I was looking into exactly what was said and done around the time in 2007 when Gavin Newsom admitted to having an affair with his appointments secretary, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, who was also his then-best friend’s wife, and allegedly admitted to having an alcohol problem and going to rehab I stumbled upon what Siebel Newsom had to say about the affair and the woman involved – and it’s is not pretty. Her words are gaslighting, manipulation, and victim-blaming on a grand scale, possibly even eclipsing the gaslighting her husband has attempted on the people of California for the last six years.
Siebel Newsom had a movie coming out around the time news of Gavin’s affair broke, so a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle asked her about the affair while interviewing her about her new movie (an interview that no doubt would not have occurred if she was not the Mayor’s girlfriend). Siebel Newsom had some pointed comments:
“I shouldn’t say this, but there are two sides to every story,” she said in an exhausted tone. “If people did research into the scandal … the woman is the culprit. Alex Tourk is a nice man and it saddens me that his wife did that to him.
“This ‘scandal’ is selling papers — sensationalized tabloid papers,” she added. “Gavin’s a wonderful human being, and I wouldn’t be here (continuing the relationship) if he wasn’t.
“All of this stuff that happened and came out was in a darker period of Gavin’s life: going through a divorce, losing his mother, being under all the pressure he is under. The supervisors and The Chronicle have not made things any easier. It’s amazing that he’s as sane and healthy and down-to-earth as he is.”
If people did research into the scandal they’d find that Rippey-Tourk was the culprit? Was she inviting the Chronicle to dig up dirt on Rippey-Tourk and publish it? That’s certainly a valid interpretation.
Oh, so Jennifer Siebel is that kind of girl: the kind that doesn’t like other girls. People are abuzz about the comments that Gavin Newsom’s current companion made in what was otherwise a kind of fluffy throwaway interview in the Sunday Style section of the Chronicle — where she lashed out at people criticizing her man’s behavior with the wife of his campaign aide by saying, “the woman is the culprit..” Oh, nice.
Oh, poor victimized Gavin, helplessly seduced by a woman suffering from a potentially-deadly substance abuse problem and whose paychecks he signed! And sweet, sweet (and exhausted-toned) Jennifer, so exhaustedly willing to forgive her publicity magnet because, you know, boys will be boys and other women: they’re the competition.
Wow, we sure do love it when women stand up for each other. Hope Jennifer’s never going to need the support of a girlfriend if things go south for her and Gavin.
Siebel Newsom couldn’t stay away from reading news about herself, and apparently that little mention really set her off, because she posted a very long comment on it under her own name (and, according to press reports at the time, she acknowledged authoring the comment). She starts off apologizing but then insults Rippey-Tourk again, and repeats that pattern throughout the 820-word screed.
Anyway, here’s how she started off [all original spelling and punctuation maintained; emphasis mine]:
the events are in the past…i don’t believe i even used the word “culprit”. gals, i am a total woman’s woman, girls girl, and i am just as sadenned that the article came out the way it did. i should have said in the article, “normally i would support the woman”, but in this case, i could not, given the circumstances and ruby’s checkered history…which anyone close to the subject matter knows.
Let’s just say she won’t be pursuing a career in crisis communications anytime soon.
In the third paragraph, after stating that she’s such a girl’s girl that she’s making a documentary about iconoclastic, inspirational women, she says [emphasis mine]:
but i am not going to blindly support a woman who has cheated on her husband multiple times and watch while my boyfriend is the only one who gets punished..and, what, for something a long time ago when the man was going through a crises- divorce, the loss of his mother, the pressures of being mayor, etc. and he was vulnerable and lonely? and, what’s your definition of affair? he’s been so hurt by this all — personally and professionally- and it was a few nothing incidents when she showed up passed out outside of his door. come on guys, have a heart. I have tried to see Ruby’s side of the story but unfortunately everyone near to her has stories and says she is bad news.
There’s a lot to unpack in that paragraph. She accuses Rippey-Tourk of cheating on her husband multiple times, but complains that Gavin is the only one who “gets punished” while conveniently leaving out the fact that Rippey-Tourk was an at-will employee of Mayor Gavin Newsom and the wife of his best friend. Minor details, of course. Then she channels her inner Hillary Clinton by asking, “And, what’s your definition of affair?” before decrying the hurt Gavin was experiencing – hurt he could avoided by simply keeping his pants on.
Judging by what Siebel Newsom said next, it would’ve been Gavin taking off his pants and not Ruby, because she characterized the affair as “a few nothing incidents when she showed up passed out outside of his door.” Though she didn’t include the word “drunk,” since Ruby was in inpatient rehab for severe alcoholism at the time she told her husband about the affair, it stands to reason that Siebel Newsom is accusing Ruby of passing out drunk outside of Gavin’s door. She clearly didn’t think that through, because if it’s true then Gavin would have had sex on multiple occasions with a woman who wasn’t capable of giving consent, and that’s an entirely different problem.
We’re not done yet.
In the next paragraph Siebel Newsom says she really is a girl’s girl, guys… but:
i just wish as women that some of us had more respect for ourselves and didn’t always throw ourselves at the men….not a big deal, the press just decided to make it that. also, something to consider, we have so much power as women and yet it’s taken away by stuff like this- gossip and mistruths. let’s just let the past be in the past.
Wait, did Ruby throw herself at Gavin by allegedly passing out drunk in front of his door? And yes, she really pearl-clutched over “gossip and mistruths” in the same comment in which she shared gossip about Ruby’s sex life and alcohol consumption. The bit about Ruby being passed out at Gavin’s door could have only come from Gavin, and he’s well known for never taking responsibility, so that’s not a very reliable source.
In the last paragraph she starts by saying how none of this is fun for her then tries to minimize her actions.
I honestly don’t think what i said was in anyway mean to ruby- there are two sides to everything. i just wish her the best in her recovery and marriage and i just wish that she would leave gavin and i alone and stop causing all of this drama and gossip. she did a bad thing to her husband and needs to take responsibility.
Ruby did not go to the press about the affair. She told her husband as part of her rehab – which is taking responsibility for her actions – and he immediately quit his job in the Mayor’s office. As reporters were asking around about Tourk’s unexpected and immediate departure, the story came out. Ruby wasn’t granting interviews or in any way causing drama.
Siebel Newsom was blasted in the comments after that, and the story got bigger. The local ABC affiliate reached her by phone to ask her about the comments section controversy and, again, she only made it worse.
“I’ve never blogged before. It’s been totally blown out of proportion. I’m a nice girl and don’t deserve this. I apologize to all parties involved.”
No, she deserved every part of it. Even though this was in 2007, 16 years ago, her behavior cannot be excused away as immature, youthful behavior – she was 32 years old. It’s not a slip-up; it’s vile victim-blaming.