Weiners around the world

 

New York mayoral candidate and former congressman Anthony Weiner held one of the more awkward press conferences you’ll ever see on Tuesday, admitting to exchanging sexual messages with another woman over the Internet even after he had resigned from Congress for previous lewd correspondences.

But Weiner is far from the only politician to impale himself on the sword of online sexual exploits (though he might be the only one to come up with a pseudonym as memorable as “Carlos Danger”). From parliamentary porn viewing to a Communist sex party, there’s plenty of evidence that the Internet is a dangerous place for randy politicos all over the world.

Wang Yu and company

Having more than 100 photos of your orgy leaked online is embarrassing enough on its own. It’s much worse when you’re a Chinese government official. In August 2012, photos surfaced online of three men and two women in a variety of sexual positions, even posing for the camera. Viewers soon noticed a resemblance among the men to government officials in China’s Anhui province.

The local Communist Party office tried to claim that the images had been photoshopped. Then it switched to the story that the photos were not actually local officials, though one of the men appeared to resemble the county party chief, Wang Minsheng. This prompted the state-run Global Times to run the memorable headline, “Naked Guy is Not Our Party Chief: Local Authority.” Wang himself countered that he had been “slandered” and said he suspected the accusation was retribution for a corruption case the county was handling.

The blanket denials came apart when Wang Yu, a deputy secretary of the Youth League Committee of Hefei University in Anhui province, came forward and admitted to being one of the men in the photos, saying he “regretted his behavior.” He insisted that the other two men “are his friends, not government officials.” At the very least, the episode is a reminder that orgies and camera phones don’t mix.

Arifinto

Arifinto, a member of Indonesian parliament who goes by one name, was not just caught watching porn in April 2011. He was caught by a photographer’s lens watching porn on a tablet in the parliament chamber while it was in session. He initially tried to claim that he opened the site accidentally, but photos proved that he had six folders of it open, so that story kind of fell apart. He then resigned.

Making things worse, Arifinto was a member of an Islamist party and had pushed hard for a bill to make downloading porn a crime carrying a maximum penalty of four years in prison and $232,000 in fines. Indonesia’s Sharia Council gave Arifinto a relative slap on the wrist, ordering him to recite the Quran, give alms to 60 poor people, ask Council leaders for religious advice and ask for God’s mercy 100 times in the next 40 days. And maybe leave the iPad at home.

Xie Zhiqiang

Xie Zhiqiang, head of the Liyang City sanitation bureau in China, had a slight misunderstanding on the social networking site Weibo — China’s equivalent of Twitter — that proved fatal to his career. He was fired in June 2011 for communicating with his mistress over the site. Xie thought the messages were private and had a bit of a shock when it turned out anyone could see them. “How did you see them? They’re not visible, right?” Xie said. “You saw all the Weibos we sent to each other? It can’t be.”

While he clearly doesn’t understand it very well, Xie was apparently fond of social networking. “Baby, from now on let’s not talk on the phone or send text messages, and meet up on Weibo instead,” reads one of the messages. To make matters worse, the exchanges revealed not only Xie’s attempts at flirting, but also corruption. He offered to reimburse the woman’s Shanghai shopping trip with government funds. Now, it looks like he’ll have to use his own money.

Raghavji

Raghavji, a regional finance minister in India, resigned on July 5, 2013 after a domestic servant accused him of committing consensual sodomy with him and reportedly produced a CD showing it. The video has not been made public but sources in the regional Congress say they have seen it. Under Indian law, Raghavji was charged with having sex “against the order of nature” and threatening his servant.

The story took a twist when Raghavji went missing on July 7. Police had to track him down using his cell phone signal and then break into the apartment, where he had locked himself in. Now that he is facing the charges in court, his lawyer is calling for a potency test, saying Raghavji is impotent and therefore not guilty. He’s 80 years old.

George Lepp

When a photo of Canadian provincial parliament candidate George Lepp’s penis showed up on his Twitter account in May 2011, the party spokesman had a fairly nonsensical explanation. Progressive Conservative Party spokesman Alan Sakach said the photo was taken accidentally while Lepp’s BlackBerry was in his pocket. He did not explain how the camera saw through the pants so that Lepp appeared naked. Sakach then went back on that story and said the photo was of someone else. The photo was removed after about 20 minutes, but the damage was done.

Lepp’s subsequent story was that his phone had been stolen. “I am simply the victim of a crime,” he said in a statement. “My BlackBerry was stolen while I was in Toronto and obviously used to take and distribute this photo.” In the end, Lepp lost the election, but only by about 500 votes. We’ll soon see if New Yorkers are as forgiving.

© 2013, Foreign Policy

Read more From Our Inbox stories from the Miami Herald

  • An Idiot’s Guide to Inequality

    We may now have a new “most unread best-seller of all time.”

  • I fought predatory, for-profit schools

    It happened the same way that anyone falls in love: the slow build of excitement, the sheer anticipation of each day propelling you forward, the blind haze of overwhelming joy clouding all reason and logic.

  • Why Germans are angry about U.S. spying

    For most Germans over 50 years old — and that includes most of today’s decision-makers — the word “spying” has a quite specific historic meaning. It conjures up images of the Cold War: pictures of John Le Carré-like exchanges on Glienecke Bridge; memories of “Romeo” spies seducing defense department secretaries in Bonn; and the traumatic downfall of German Chancellor Willy Brandt when it turned out that one of his personal assistants was an East German spy. Spying is thus invariably linked to the past confrontation with the Soviet Union and pre-unification East Germany.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category