Anthony Weiner sexting scandal
The Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, also dubbed Weinergate, began when Democratic U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner used the social media website Twitter to send a link to a sexually suggestive picture to a 21-year-old woman from Seattle, Washington. After several days of denying media reports that he had posted the image, he admitted to having sent a link to the photo, and also other sexually explicit photos and messages to women both before and during his marriage. He denied ever having met, or having had a physical relationship with any of the women. On June 16, 2011, Weiner announced his intention to resign from Congress with his official resignation occurring on June 23, 2011.
Initial media reports and Weiner's denial 
On May 27, 2011, using his public Twitter account, Weiner sent a link to a photo on yfrog of his erect penis concealed by boxer briefs to a 21-year-old female college student from Seattle, Washington, who was "following" his posts on the social media website. Though the link was quickly removed from Weiner's Twitter account, screen shots of Weiner’s original message and of the photo were captured by a user identified as "Dan Wolfe" on Twitter and subsequently sent to conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart who published them on his BigJournalism website the following day.
On June 1, Weiner gave a series of interviews in which he denied sending the photo and suggested that someone, perhaps a political opponent, had hacked into his accounts and published the photo. Weiner also said he could not say "with certitude" that the photo was not of him. He suggested that the image might be doctored, saying, "maybe it did start being a photo of mine and now looks something different or maybe it is from another account". He did not ask the FBI or U.S. Capitol Police to investigate the incident but said he had retained a private security firm to look into this matter because he felt it was a prank, not a crime. Several liberal bloggers accused Wolfe and Breitbart of planting the photo and message as part of a scheme to defame Weiner.
According to The New York Times, evidence later revealed that a group of self-described conservatives had been monitoring Weiner's communications with women for at least three months. Two false identities of underage girls had been created by unknown parties to solicit communication with Weiner and the women he was contacting, one of whom Weiner followed until he was tipped off that it was a false account.
On June 6, Breitbart posted a cropped, shirtless picture of Weiner obtained from a second woman on the Internet identified as 26-year-old Meagan Broussard of Texas, and said Weiner had sent more pictures of himself, including at least one that was sexually graphic. After publication of this information, Weiner held a press conference in New York at which he apologized, saying "I have not been honest with myself, my family, my constituents, my friends and supporters, and the media" and that, "to be clear, the picture was of me, and I sent it." He also said he had "engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, email and occasionally on the phone" and had exchanged "messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years". He added he had never met or had a physical relationship with any of them. He said he was "deeply ashamed" of his "terrible judgment and actions", which he called "very dumb."
Answering questions, he said he had the continuing support of his wife Huma Abedin, a long-time aide to Hillary Clinton whom he had married in July 2010, in a ceremony officiated by Bill Clinton, and did not intend to resign his congressional seat. Prior to his marriage, Weiner was known for his "bachelor exploits with some of New York's most eligible women," detailed in a 2011 Moment profile of the Congressman. Following the revelations of his inappropriate communications, his reportedly emotional apology to the former president was referred to in the press as highly ironic. Asked about an allegation that he had engaged in phone sex with a woman in Nevada, Weiner neither confirmed nor denied the statement, saying that though he did not want to impinge the privacy of any of the women, neither would he contradict any of their statements. At his press conference, Weiner did admit that he had exchanged the reported sexting messages with Broussard.
Later events 
During an appearance on Sirius XM radio on June 8, 2011, Breitbart showed hosts Opie and Anthony a photograph of what he claimed to be Weiner's nude genitalia. One of the cameras in the room caught the cell phone's display, and the hosts subsequently leaked the photo by publishing it on Twitter. Breitbart stated that the photo was published without his permission, and later told KFI radio, "These people have admitted that they did this surreptitiously and illicitly and they lied in the process saying that they didn't even have a camera in the place". Weiner's spokesperson issued the following statement: "As Representative Weiner said on Monday when he took responsibility for his actions, he has sent explicit photos."
News media also reported the identity of other Weiner's social media contacts, Lisa Weiss, a 40-year-old blackjack dealer in Las Vegas, and 28-year-old porn actress Ginger Lee who had exchanged sexually oriented messages with Weiner. On June 15, Ginger Lee held a press conference during which she said that when she requested advice from Weiner on how to respond to the media, he had advised her on June 2 that if they both stayed quiet the scandal would die down. Traci Nobles, a cheerleading coach who had exchanged messages with Weiner, appeared on the Today Show and also released a book about the affair.
Political and constituent reaction 
On the afternoon of June 6, 2011, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for an investigation by the House Ethics Committee to determine "whether any official resources were used or any other violation of House rules occurred". A number of Democratic and Republican congressmen called for Weiner's resignation. On June 7, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called for him to resign, and challenged Pelosi to suggest the same. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R, VA) said he should resign, opining: "The last thing we need is to be immersed in discussion about Congressman Weiner and his Twitter activities". House Democrats who called for him to resign on June 8 included Representatives Allyson Schwartz (PA), Mike Ross (AR), Mike Michaud (ME), Niki Tsongas (MA), Larry Kissell (NC) and Joe Donnelly (IN). On June 11, Nancy Pelosi, DCCC Steve Israel, and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz called for Weiner's resignation. Weiner requested and was granted a short leave of absence from the House to obtain professional treatment of an unspecified nature.
Two June 6 surveys of New York City adult residents provided conflicting results. A TV station NY1 and Marist College poll indicated that 51% believed Weiner should remain in Congress, 30% thought he should step down, and 18% were unsure. A WABC-TV/SurveyUSA automated survey found the city divided, with 46 percent who thought he should resign and 41 percent who thought he should stay in office. On June 9, a NY1-Marist Poll showed that 56% of registered voters in Weiner's Congressional District wanted him to stay in Congress, and 33% thought he should resign, with 12% uncertain. In the same poll, 73% said he acted unethically, but not illegally.
On June 13, White House spokesman Jay Carney said "The president feels... this is a distraction, as Congressman Weiner has said himself, his behavior was inappropriate; dishonesty was inappropriate." President Obama said in an interview later that day that if he were Weiner, he would resign.
On June 16, 2011, Weiner announced he would resign his seat in Congress. He made the announcement at a news conference in Brooklyn, at the same location where he announced his first campaign for New York City Council in 1992.
On June 20, Weiner formally submitted his letter of resignation from the U.S. House of Representatives, effective at midnight on June 21. His letter of resignation was read on the floor of the House of Representatives on June 23 and entered into the record.
Special election 
In popular culture 
In the TV series Homeland, the Weiner sexting scandal was used as the basis for the plot line that ultimately gets protagonist war hero Sgt. Nicholas Brody (played by Damian Lewis) elected to Congress. Representative "Richard Johnson" gets into trouble after his sexting images are publicized. In Episode 8 of Season 1 ("Achilles Heel"), the scandal is announced on TV during a party hosted by Vice-Presidential adviser Elizabeth Gaines (who had advance knowledge about the scandal, and has targeted Brody as a candidate for Johnson's soon-to-be-vacant seat).
In "Elect to Laugh!", American political satirist Will Durst, a radio journalist for KALW, a public radio station (91.7 FM) in the San Francisco area, also alludes to the scandal. An audio of of the article, narrated by Durst, along with the article's full text, is available at: http://kalwnews.org/audio/2011/06/13/will-durst-weinergate_1035880.html.
See also 
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