Why a Y-front Twitter could finish congressman's career

It is hard to know how things can get more awkward for Anthony Weiner, a US Congressman from New York, who is involved in a scandal that is silly, serious and also something in between. Why, the nation demands to know, was a picture of a man's bulging crotch sent to a female student last week via his personal Twitter account?

The image itself barely ranks as pornographic. There is a flash of leg and lots of Y-front fabric with some contours that admittedly suggest male equipment of impressive dimensions. Still, if it turns out that the model was indeed the Congressman and he was the one who sent it, he may be in deep water, at least politically.

No one will have foreseen the ensuing media hurricane more quickly than the Congressman. All his life he has lived with the name Weiner, pronounced "Wee-ner", a slang synonym in the US for penis. It is no surprise then that the newspapers are already calling it Weinergate and are in indulging in a festival of puns and innuendo. "Weiner Exposed" yelled the New York Post yesterday. "Weiner's Pickle", chimed in the Daily News.

Both papers were seizing on interviews the Congressman has given declaring his innocence but failing to rule out the possibility that the bulge may be his. Tying himself in knots, he suggested the image might have been of him but that it was stolen by a hacker, "manipulated" to pump up his prowess and nefariously sent to the student on Twitter. It is a puzzle that Dan Lyons of the Daily Beast sorted out for the rest of us. "Weiner denies tweeting the wiener, and there is no proof that the wiener even belongs to Weiner, but if the wiener is not Weiner's and if Weiner did not tweet the wiener, then to whom does the wiener belong and how did it get tweeted from Weiner's Twitter account?"

All of this couldn't be happening to a more social-media connected politician. He found Twitter before most people on Capitol Hill had mastered email. He has carved a niche as a spokesman for liberal causes and advertises his ambition one day to be mayor of New York City. His constituency covers parts of Brooklyn and Queens in the city.

The image in question apparently reached Gennette Cordova, a female college student in Washington State, last week. She is a follower on Twitter of the Congressman but the two do not know each other personally. The media got wind of the story at the weekend and it has been growing ever since.

The puns are almost unavoidable even the Congressman, whose wife of less than a year, Huma Abedin, is an aide to Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State. By Tuesday, he had concluded he was better off engaging with the media and apologised if theretofore he had seemed a "little stiff".

Questioned by CNN about the origins of the tweeted tumescence Mr Weiner replied, "It certainly doesn't look familiar to me, but I don't want to say with certitude to you something that I don't know to be the certain truth." To MSNBC, he offered: "Maybe it did start being a photo of mine and now looks something different or maybe it is from another account."

"It's not too late to prevent damage by turning [the Twitter case] over to the Capitol police and let them find the hacker," commented Ed Koch, the former New York mayor. "I think he's in trouble, I think he has a problem."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea