A Tennessee mayoral candidate dogged by controversy took to social media on Tuesday to confirm that she was arrested for promoting prostitution 30 years ago.
Gabrielle Hanson, a MAGA Republican who is an alderman in Franklin, insists she had no idea that she was working for an escort service when she was answering phones as a college student.
“One day the police came knocking at my door,” Hanson said in a video posted hours after NewsChannel5 in Nashville inquired about her criminal history.
Hanson said she was working her way through Southern Methodist University after 13 years of community college when she took a job for what she thought was a modeling agency.
Her main concern, she claimed, was getting on with her life so she pleaded no-contest to one count of promoting prostitution—which she likened to a speeding ticket—in a deferred prosecution agreement.
“My punishment for the deferred adjudication was ‘do not live in Dallas for two years’ because they knew I was leaving,” she said. “I said, ‘No problem, because I don’t ever want to live in Dallas again after this experience.’
“I moved to Chicago, where I rekindled my love for Christ,” she told her followers.
NewsChannel5, which said it was working to confirm her account of the arrest, noted that Hanson has been running what it described as a “morality campaign.” And her tenure as alderman and her run for mayor have been marked by one controversy after another.
She voted against issuing a permit for an LGBTQ+ pride event in Franklin this spring and was blasted for downplaying lynching and opposing “racial terror” markers in the community. She was accused of spreading false information about the mass shooting at the Covenant School, and she threatened to retaliate against the local airport for supporting a Juneteenth festival.
More recently, Hanson had to answer allegations that she lifted and posted a social media photo of women of color she falsely claimed were endorsing her mayoral run; she later claimed the women denied it because they wanted to protect her.