"Sex Addict" Anthony Weiner May Run for NY Mayor

By McCarton Ackerman 04/10/13

The ex-congressman's fate will rest on how the public views his past.

Former NY congressman Anthony Weiner is considering a run for NYC mayor. “I don’t have this burning, overriding desire to go out and run for office," he says. "But I do recognize, to some degree, it’s now or maybe never for me, in terms of running for something." He will face more obstacles than most, in light of the sex scandal that led to his departure from office in 2011. After an incriminating Twitter photo was leaked, Weiner admitted to sending "hundreds" of suggestive photographs and messages to at least six women he'd met online. He publicly apologized for his actions and began seeing a psychotherapist. "I've made some pretty serious mistakes and I need to redeem myself," said Weiner after the scandal. "I'm working hard to try to get back to normal."

The Fix's Susan Cheever wrote at the time that Weiner displayed "all the classic symptoms" of an addict. But much of the public was unsympathetic, and many questioned the validity of a mooted sex addiction diagnosis. "[Sex addiction has] become something that's sort of thrown around as a way to kind of make yourself more vulnerable, a little less to blame," said TV host Dr. Laura Berman back then, "And if you're getting a lot of public negative opinions, it's not uncommon to see these public figures say, 'oops sorry, I'm really a sex addict. I'm not just a serial cheater…I'm not just exercising poor judgment, I'm ill here.'" 

Weiner has already commissioned polling and admits the results show that he would be "the underdog" should he go through with running for mayor. His fate may largely hinge on how the public views his past behavior, and compulsive behaviors in general. In his recent interview, Weiner partially blamed the easy access of social media for helping to facilitate his issues: "If it wasn’t 2011 and [Twitter] didn’t exist, it’s not like I would have gone out cruising bars or something like that. It was just something that technology made possible and it became possible for me to do stupid things," he says. "I mean, the thing I did, and the damage that I did, not only hadn’t it been done before, but it wasn’t possible to do it before.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.