Late last night, Anthony Weiner’s name started trending. Comments like “I hope this isn’t for the reason I think it is” were plentiful.
He was trending for the exact reason you think he was.
Yes, a third sexting scandal—and this time with no way to deny the timeline. Because one very obvious marker of the exact timing of the sexts was in the picture: his young son.
And now, news breaks that his wife, Huma Abedin, is leaving him.
Huma is leaving Anthony pic.twitter.com/ampKu65xJ8— Amy Chozick (@amychozick) August 29, 2016
Abedin is of course the top aide for Hillary Clinton, a woman who has tirelessly dedicated herself to Clinton’s career, the campaign of the first woman president, and lest we forget the attempted rehabilitation of her husband’s image, as we saw very recently in the documentary Weiner.
The film gave an uncomfortably intimate look into what happens when a sex scandal breaks during a political campaign—for the campaign itself, and for the marriage. Because marriage in the public eye (be they politicians, actors, or any other figure of interest) is about more than just these two people. It shouldn’t be. But it always is. Sometimes a spouse and child can be a prop to show how normal and warm you are. But those people, once used as tools in any way, can become the very tools used against you later.
And so here we are. Huma Abedin—powerful, tremendous and inspirational woman—who has stood by an endlessly embarrassing partner for whatever reason (and her reasons, be they political or emotional or any combination thereof, are truly none of our business), and who has had her role as Clinton’s aide and her looks and her religion and most of all her marriage, thrown in her face for years, has decided to walk away. And her reasons for doing that also aren’t our business. Though one must wonder if her boss had anything to do with it—personally if not professionally. A sense of “I wasn’t able to walk away—but maybe you can.”
There is one uncomfortable question we must ask ourselves amidst this and all Weiner’s public and humiliating scandals—is it OK for us to be partaking in this? Laughing, angry, outraged, annoyed, however it makes us feel—should we even be seeing it? When nude photos are released of women without their consent, I’m horrified. Rightly so. I know I should be equally outraged on Weiner’s behalf. And, yet. Here I am. Thinking about Huma, whose life has been affected so negatively by something she had nothing to do with(something I understand). Thinking about questions like “why the fuck are you still including your face in these images; have you learned nothing?” which I know are victim-blaming statements. Thinking about what a huge waste of intimacy that documentary must now feel like to many of its participants, Huma Abedin likely included, because its subject clearly did not learn his lesson.
Should we feel sorry for Weiner? Outraged on his behalf? Maybe. But my thoughts right now are with his soon-to-be former wife and that child in his bed.