As It Happens

Dan Savage: Anthony Weiner's sexting problem is none of our business

The sex advice columnist says everyone is entitled to a private life, even former congressman Anthony Weiner. Dan Savage says Weiner could also be considered a victim of revenge porn.
Anthony Weiner has been again caught sending sexual text messages to an unidentified woman. (cp images)

Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner has been caught with his pants down again. Advice columnist and author Dan Savage says Weiner is not just a man with a problem, and a bad husband. He's also a victim.

If your private life, if your sexual interests, were subjected to the same kind of intense scrutiny and entrapment and trickery, how would you look?- Dan Savage

Savage sees a double standard when the public gawks at the release of Weiner's private sex-messages, but not when the same thing happens to celebrities or private citizens.

Savage says Weiner should be seen as a victim of revenge porn, something that is illegal in many states.

Here is part of his interview with As It Happens guest host Laura Lynch.

Laura Lynch: Do you think Anthony Weiner's sexting is any of our business?

Dan Savage:  I don't think it's any of our business. I actually think what's been done to Anthony Weiner may be criminal. It's hard for people - particularly in a sex-negative, sex-phobic society like ours to recognise Weiner as the victim here.

Author Dan Savage is in his home in Seattle. ( AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Imagine if Weiner were a sixteen or seventeen year old high-school girl and someone had sent the images that she shared with them to a newspaper and they'd been splashed across the cover. We would have no problem recognizing that girl as a victim of what's called revenge porn.

RELATED: Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin to separate after sexting revelation

There's no age limit on victimhood when it comes to revenge porn, which is someone sharing private images, videos, sexts on the Internet or making them public in a way to embarrass or humiliate that person. That is certainly what has happened to Anthony Weiner.

LL: Because of this documentary, he invited the cameras in to watch him in some very intimate moments. He didn't seem to have a problem exposing large parts of his private life. Doesn't that make this different?

DS: No, it doesn't. Celebrities invite cameras in to take pictures, and so do other politicians, of very intimate moments, of the birth of their children ... of family celebrations, people release images and video online of their own wedding.

RELATED: Jennifer Lawrence among celebrity victims in leak of nude photos

Just inviting strangers in to view your wedding does not give the public or the New York Post or anyone else the right to release photos and images that you don't choose. 

FILE - In this July 23, 2013 file photo, Huma Abedin, alongside her husband, then-New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, speaks during a news conference in New York. (The Associated Press)

LL: What do you think the treatment would have been like if Anthony Weiner was actually cheating on his wife?

DS: Well, then he'd get the Bill Clinton treatment I guess ... that's one of the ironies of the Anthony Weiner case: he swapped images, and he had conversations he shouldn't have had. But he didn't commit adultery, so far as anyone knows. If he'd only gone out there like so many other elected officials and had a mistress or even a second family, perhaps he would have gotten away with it.

I would appeal to people listening to think: if your private life, if your sexual interests, if your online noodling around were subjected to the same kind of intense scrutiny and entrapment and trickery, how would you look?

To hear more on Dan Savage's take on Anthony Weiner, listen to our full interview. 


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