Alix Tichelman Sentenced Amid ‘Slut Shaming’ Allegations In Google Executive Death Case

Alix Tichelman, the avowed prostitute who administered the deadly dose of heroin that killed wealthy Google Executive Timothy Hayes in 2013, pleaded guilty in a California court to charges of involuntary manslaughter, administering a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, destroying or concealing evidence, and engaging and agreeing to engage in prostitution. She was sentenced to six years in prison.

The case against Alix Tichelman, however, has been fraught with accusations that her profession as a prostitute was clouding the judgement of law enforcement and legal officials in a form of “slut shaming” gone wild. Tichelman’s defenders have pointed out that Hayes, who was 51-years-old and a married father of five, voluntarily took the drugs, and that Tichelman also used heroin that night.

Kristina Dolgin, founder of Red Light Legal, a legal advocacy organization that aims to protect sex workers, spoke in Good Times Weekly about the way Alix Tichelman has been spoken about in the media.

“[She] is an easy scapegoat just by the type of work she does. There’s this respectability polarisation happening between the Google executive and the person that he hired. There’s a lot of motivation for law enforcement to hold somebody, anybody, accountable. They see someone working in the sex industry—Alix—as low-hanging fruit.”

Alix Tichelman’s defense attorney, Athena Reis, added to the discussion in the Examiner.

“Everything we’ve reviewed confirms that Forrest Hayes wanted to do heroin on that night and that he died as a result. Ms. Tichelman expected nothing but pleasure as a result of consensual and mutual drug use.”

Much of the outcry against Alix Tichelman’s treatment stems from the initial response of the police, which used the term “homicide” almost immediately despite the clear evidence of the case, and an investigation that focused on Tichelman’s affect and manner, which included speculation that she calmly stepped over Hayes’ body to close blinds and exit the cabin.

Police officer Steve Clark was quoted in the Examiner allegedly making a statement that prejudged Alix Tichelman based on her profession.

“She’s stepping over him. I have never seen anything like that where somebody has been that cold. She was just glacially cold.”

However, others have pointed out that the interior of a yacht is small and anyone would be forced to step over anything lying on the floor.

Advocates for Alix Tichelman point to statements like this as evidence that the police had already formed an opinion about the prostitute based solely on her profession, making the assumption that a woman who kept company with men for money must be more liable to commit a cold-blooded killing.

However, involuntary manslaughter turned out to be the more accurate crime to charge Alix Tichelman with, as she also indulged in the same drugs and had no motive for killing Hayes. Hayes was also no stranger to affairs and prostitutes, and was reportedly excited to try heroin for the first time.