New Documentary on Anthony Weiner Captures Huma Abedin Dealing With His Fuckery

Illustration for article titled New Documentary on Anthony Weiner Captures Huma Abedin Dealing With His Fuckery

Huma Abedin, a beautiful and smart woman married to a nose with a sheepish man attached, has had to deal with two sexting scandals courtesy of husband Anthony Weiner. Worse still, a film crew was around for the second one. The New York Times reports that a new documentary, Weiner, shows Abedin maintaining “a steely calm” in 2013 after her husband was found to be moonlighting as Carlos Danger with ladies online.

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The Times got themselves an exclusive look at “Weiner,” which premieres at Sundance this week. Filmmakers Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kriegman framed the film as a “human and universal story,” as Steinberg put it, and an “up-close look at politics and media and how it functions,” per Kriegman, specifically the media’s “appetite for spectacle.”

Sure. It is also, per the Times, a film crew’s dream, as well as a nightmare for a politician trying to make a comeback. Weiner was in the midst of running for mayor in May 2013, trying for an image overhaul and political resurrection, when he allowed the filmmakers to trail him. Instead, they were on hand for his second and in many ways more embarrassing unraveling.

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With it, too, according to the Times, they managed to capture Abedin’s careful and politically mediated response:

But the footage also centers on Ms. Abedin, who is best known as the closest aide to Hillary Clinton, another woman who has endured public humiliation and political scandal.

Just after the news broke that Mr. Weiner had exchanged lewd messages with women online using the pseudonym Carlos Danger, Ms. Abedin maintained a steely calm.

When a young campaign staff member, on the verge of tears after the revelations and ensuing media harassment, prepared to leave the couple’s Park Avenue apartment, Ms. Abedin offered some advice. “Just a quick optics thing?” she said to the woman. “I assume those photographers are still outside. So, you will look happy?” The staff member agreed.

Neither Abedin nor Weiner have publicly commented on the film, although the Times reports that he does say, at the very end, that he doesn’t regret allowing them to film: “I don’t regret letting you follow me around. I wanted to be viewed as the full person I was.” Abedin doesn’t make a similar statement.

Weiner, meanwhile, is comfortable enough these days to make veiled jokes about his scandal(s), pinning this tweet to his profile page since November:

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Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.
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Weiner and Abedin attend the 12th Annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards at Spring Studios on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, in New York. Photo via AP Images

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DISCUSSION

chaseom
well fuck thee gently with a chainsaw

I just feel terrible for Huma. As someone who has had her share of bad boyfriends, her position - the higher-profile partner of a raging narcissist - just seems to authentically suck.

And I thought the NYT’s write-up of the film was incredibly odd, with a lot of old-fashioned sexist dog-whistling thrown in for good measure: Why did they choose to characterize Weiner’s most recent professional implosion over sexting as damning Huma’s desire to be a “political wife?” They could have used a more gender neutral phrase, like “political spouse.” As is, the language seems designed to evoke images of Lady Macbeth and Madame Mao (and, for that matter, right-wing rhetoric about Hillary Clinton circa 1992). The whole article dismisses the notion that Huma might simply have wanted her husband, who also happens to be the father of her child, to succeed at his job for healthy, emotionally obvious reasons.

Tangentially related thought: I’m really glad that Huma and Hillary are besties. They have a lot in common. But as someone who has sometimes fantasized about one day pursuing elected office, they have also taught me something valuable: Ambitious women shouldn’t marry male politicians, whose righteous, left-wing penises will really fuck with your political career.