There’s a new documentary about former New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner’s failed bid for mayor of New York City.
The filmmakers had hoped to capture a triumphant political comeback. Instead, they captured the aftermath of a sex scandal.
Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011 after it was discovered that he had sent lewd messages to women. During his mayoral run, it was revealed that Wiener had continued to send lewd messages using the nom de cyber “Carlos Danger.”
According to the New York Times’ Amy Chozick and Brooks Barnes, who saw the film, “Weiner,” ahead of its coming premiere at the Sundance Film Festival Sunday, “the film overflows with juicy moments about Mr. Weiner”:
As the second scandal unfolds in July 2013, Mr. Weiner is shown panicking; misleading the news media; and, at one point, racing through the back halls of a McDonald’s to avoid a woman with whom he traded inappropriate texts, whom his campaign code-named “Pineapple.”
According to the Times’ account of the film, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Weiner’s wife, “maintained a steely calm” during the scandal.
During her husband’s scandal, Abedin turned “to Mrs. Clinton’s longtime spokesman, Philippe I. Reines, for guidance” and takes his advice “to not appear in public with Mr. Weiner as he casts his ballot.”
In one scene, when Abedin encountered a staffer on the verge of tears about the scandal, she advised, “Just a quick optics thing? I assume those photographers are still outside. So, you will look happy?” The staffer followed her advice.
Weiner credited Abedin’s influence for his attempt to return to politics after his first scandal.
“Did Huma want you to go back into politics?” one of the filmmakers asked Weiner.
“She did,” Weiner replied. “She was very eager to get her life back that I had taken from her.”
According to the report, sources close to both Weiner and Abedin have said that they “have repeatedly pleaded with filmmakers to see the movie, but have not been allowed to do so.” Filmmakers denied the claim and have said that they showed the film to the couple when they asked.
Though Clinton herself is not personally featured in the film (she is seen in news clips in the film, according to the Times), the release of the film could become awkward for the Clinton campaign, serving as a reminder of former President Bill Clinton’s own sex scandals that have recently become an issue on the campaign trail.
“Weiner” isn’t the only film that is a source of worry for the Clinton campaign. The new film “13 Hours” portrays the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Clinton’s actions in the aftermath of the attack have been called into question by the family members of the victims.