For years now, the personal scandals of former New York congressman Anthony Weiner have loomed large in the national media, both when he's been an elected official, a candidate for office, and a private citizen. As of Wednesday, the voyeuristic, sometimes funny, often sad, and utterly mystifying tales of self-destructive sexting have allegedly entered a new horrifying and indefensible realm — as the Daily Mail reported, the most disturbing details from the latest Anthony Weiner claims are enough to make anyone's skin crawl.
For the record, these new claims are harrowing in the extreme, so if you're for any reason uncomfortable reading about rape fantasies and inappropriate sexual conversations with minors, you probably shouldn't go any further. It also bears mentioning that in a sex-positive and consensual relationship between adults, people are completely free to explore any number of kinks, fetishes, fantasies, or traditionally taboo desires. There's nothing wrong with that. But that's not what's being alleged here.
Rather, as alleged in the Daily Mail's incendiary report, Weiner reportedly started a sexting relationship with a 15-year-old girl back in January, at times pressing her to indulge his rape fantasies, and urging her to dress up in schoolgirl outfits, to which he claims is just a hoax at his expense. According to the report, which cites interviews with the girl, her father, and a review of some of the messages she reportedly received, Weiner was allegedly aware of how young she was. The girl's face and identity have been withheld to protect her privacy.
Weiner issued a statement to the Daily Mail which expressed regret for putting himself "in this position," but also suggested he'd "likely been the subject of a hoax."
I have repeatedly demonstrated terrible judgement about the people I have communicated with online and the things I have sent. ... I am filled with regret and heartbroken for those I have hurt. ... While I have provided the Daily Mail with information showing that I have likely been the subject of a hoax, I have no one to blame but me for putting myself in this position. ... I am sorry.
He did not address the specific rape fantasy claims.
According to the report, exhaustively chronicled by Alana Goodman and complete with dozens of alleged screenshots of sexually explicit text messages, the girl ultimately admitted the alleged relationship to her father and a teacher, as she began to feel guilty about hiding it as time went on. While the report says she was "not uncomfortable" with the reportedly sexual nature of their chats (although that's irrelevant to the legality of the situation, since she's under the legal age of consent), she did become uncomfortable when Weiner allegedly delved into rape fantasies.
He had some rape fantasies. It would just be him showing up at my house when my dad was out of town. And just start undressing me, being forceful, asking me if I want to be dominated, strange questions.
This is the latest in a string of high-profile sexting scandals the former politician has been caught in, though these new allegations are undeniably the most serious ones he's ever faced. First, in 2011, Weiner's congressional career was derailed by the revelation that he'd been sexting. Then, in 2013, his New York City mayoral run was derailed by the revelation that he was still sexting. Then, earlier this year, his wife Huma Abedin decided to end their marriage after it was revealed he'd sent yet another woman sexually suggestive photos of himself, with their young son visible in the photo.
And now, he's alleged to have continued this kind of behavior, this time allegedly engaging in a sexually exploitative online relationship with a 15-year-old. In short, if these explosive allegations are true, you can mark down Sept. 21, 2016 as the day when all those Anthony Weiner jokes stopped being even a little funny.