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The real dangers underlying Carlos Danger's off-off Broadway show

A 2011 production about Anthony Weiner's sexting scandals, initially put on by students from Hunter College, is being revived and updated to include more recent material:

The strange summer of Anthony D. Weiner is about to have its curtain call: “The Weiner Monologues,” a play that imagines the erstwhile congressman and mayoral candidate as a tragic hero of the stage, will make its Off Off Broadway debut next month.


Yes, let's please make a pun based on a play that empowered women! That's not insensitive at all...

The script, a partially improvised series of vignettes overseen by Mr. Schlieman, 27, and a collaborator, John Oros, 23, is pieced together entirely from real-life speeches, talk-show monologue jokes, newspaper articles, and transcripts of the explicit, occasionally wince-inducing messages that Mr. Weiner exchanged with women he met online.


In a reversal of typical theater protocol, audience members will be urged to leave on their smartphones during the performance, so that text messages — and, yes, a graphic photo or two — can be broadcast directly to their devices.



I have nothing to say, so

“It explores the tension between what is private and what is public in this day and age,” Mr. Schlieman said. “A sex scandal is a great point of entry into that.”


, but that doesn't mean I'm amused...

Why can't we just let this go? Though Sydney Leathers is attempting to capitalize on the scandal, Weiner's other texting partners are trying to move on with their lives. Though white men seem to have no trouble revitalizing their careers post-sex scandal, the women involved have to live in shame. In Weiner's case, according to a NYT article published this past June, one of his former sexting partners faces harassment at work, at home, and is struggling psychologically:

“I cannot tell you the devastation,” said Ms. Weiss, a 42-year-old blackjack dealer in Nevada who exchanged dozens of explicit messages with Mr. Weiner, then a congressman, in 2010 and 2011.


When their correspondence eventually became public, she said in an interview, conservative-minded colleagues sought to have her fired. The press lined up outside of her house and showed up at her casino, causing her to miss work for weeks. One night, she turned on the television to find the HBO host Bill Maher and the actress Jane Lynch performing a dramatic reading of the bawdy messages. Ms. Weiss, an avowed Maher fan, said she sat in her living room crying. While coping with the onslaught, she drank heavy amounts of alcohol, a habit that persists.

“I obsess about it,” she said, “every day.”

It is hard not to, she said: Mr. Weiner had faded from view after resigning from Congress, but now that he is in the mayoral race, her phone lights up with calls from reporters, online enemies are pouncing and fresh cruelties abound.

[Emphases mine]

Another of Weiner's former sexting partners is also struggling both psychologically and professionally as she is trying to piece her life back together post-scandal. However, for this then college-aged individual, her "participation" in the sexting was involuntary:

Gennette Cordova, a 21-year-old college student when she interacted with Mr. Weiner, is still trying to reclaim her identity, online and off.

In spring 2011, Mr. Weiner sent her an image of himself in boxers, with an obvious erection. Ms. Cordova, who has told The New York Times that she had chatted electronically with Mr. Weiner about politics and not about sex, was shocked by his unwanted advance.

When Mr. Weiner inadvertently posted the image publicly on Twitter, the Internet quickly rendered its own verdict, branding Ms. Cordova, incorrectly, she says, a participant in his online dalliances. The news media dug up Ms. Cordova’s old yearbooks and sifted through police records, publicizing her youthful indiscretions. The attention prompted her to withdraw from academic classes. She moved from Seattle to New York City, before Mr. Weiner’s decision to run for mayor, eager to leave a place where she had become known for her ties to the unfolding drama.

But, with Mr. Weiner back in the spotlight, the story has followed her across the country. A few weeks ago, a reporter showed up, unannounced, at her office, asking her about Mr. Weiner.

[Emphases mine]

Another sexting partner was forced to quit her job after her exchanges with Weiner were leaked:

The repercussions were also painful for Traci Nobles, a onetime schoolteacher and a fitness instructor in Georgia, who says her roommate leaked her salacious messages with Mr. Weiner without her permission. As media inquiries poured in to her employer, Ms. Nobles was forced to quit her job at a Young Women’s Christian Organization because of the attention.


A sexting partner who was an adult film star has also been adversely affected by her exchanges with Weiner:

“Every new headline and news story about him reminds reporters and bloggers that we exist, and the cycle starts all over,” she said in a statement released by her lawyer. “There will be a new flare-up of jokes, inaccurate statements and hurtful remarks.”


Though this scandal may seem like good material for an off-off Broadway tragicomedy, the real tragedy lies in the fact that, once again, women's personal and professional lives have been seriously damaged by a sex scandal, while the powerful white man involved has been able to move on. From the NYT article about the play:

Contacted on Monday about “The Weiner Monologues,” the eponymous politician, who has been seldom seen in public since his loss in the Democratic primary, had little to say.

“Never heard of it,” Mr. Weiner wrote in a text message.

[Emphasis mine]

While Weiner seems to be afforded the convenience of relative privacy post-election, the women he sexted with are likely still being harassed at work and by the media, struggling with their mental health, and recovering from blows to their career development. The revival of a play about the scandal, which includes actual text exchanges between Weiner and these women, isn't helping anything in terms of the lasting effects of the scandal on the women involved with this or any current or future sex scandals. All this off-off Broadway play is doing is reinforcing the status quo whereby women are more stigmatized by sex scandals than men, making it harder for women to move on from a scandal while the men have the luxury of moving on with their lives relatively quickly.

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