Friday, June 17, 2011

It's simple. What he did was harassment.

Okay. This is the first and last time I am going to weigh in on this. Now that Anthony Weiner has resigned...after one of the weirdest three weeks in American politics (and that's sayin' something)...I am amazed that all these writers, pundits and politicos have missed the core of what the former congressman did wrong.

Everyone, including Mr. Wiener, agrees that what he did was sleazy, wrong and stupid. Most think it was sleazy. Most put the wrongness in with the stupid because he both left a trail and got caught. But I have only heard one commentator and only one blogger (granted, I can't read them all) say clearly why Wiener needed to resign--if not go to jail.

It was not just the "sexting." Nor was it the pictures. It wasn't even lying after being caught. None of these things were "the problem" for which he needed to step down.

One can debate if he broke his marriage vows (I think he did) but even that is not the issue.

The problem was sexual harassment.

How did the congressman get the e-mails or twitter addresses of the women to whom he sent his pictures? They contacted him with a note saying "I really liked your speech" or "I really admire your stand on health care" or "Thank you for taking this or that stand on the House floor." And his response? A lewd text, tweet or picture.

He had access and opportunity to do what he did because of his position of power, and he abused that power for his own gratification.

A week ago, Wormwood's Doxy said it much better than me.
Anthony Weiner is a sexual harasser. He sent 21-year-old college student, Gennette Cordova, an unsolicited sexual photo of himself.


That’s really important—because it goes to the heart of what so many people do not seem to “get” about sexual harassment.

I’ve had this argument with more than one person over the last couple of days. I’ve argued with intelligent people—intelligent women, no less!—who have basically said to me, “I like his politics, so what he did doesn’t matter.” Or…even worse to me, in some ways: “It’s not sexual harassment unless you tell him to stop and he refuses.”




Unless that young woman sent him a message saying “I want to see pictures of you naked,” he had no business sending her suggestive photos. She says she didn’t. Even he admits she didn’t. He says he sent the photo as “part of a joke.”

That makes him a sexual harasser.

That's why Weiner needed to resign.


LKT said...

Add Ta-Nehisi Coates to the list of bloggers who get this.

Andrew Gerns said...

Thank you, LKT.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Thanks, Andrew. I really appreciate this.