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Anthony Weiner, the former Democratic congressman from New York, who resigned from office after being caught in the thick of a major sexting habit, has apparently been back at it again — and this time he’s dragged his child into it. This is according to the New York Post, which published all the lurid details, including the photo in question: Weiner’s bulging-underwear selfie, taken in bed, with his sleeping 4-year-old son visible beside him.
Now critics are calling out the tabloid for going too far. “New York Post is sleaziest actor here,” tweeted Zeynep Tufekci, a sociology professor and contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times, to her 220,000 followers:
@nypost is sleaziest actor here. To make $$$ exposing a private transgression, they published a picture a child will see growing up—forever.
— Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep) August 29, 2016
“Having a misbehaving parent doesn’t give anyone else license to expose a little child to years of bullying & worse,” she said, adding that she’s “disgusted” by the editors, whom she refers to as “soulless ghouls.”
Still, most of the outrage has been directed at Weiner himself — including by his soon-to-be-ex-wife Huma Abedin, a top Hillary Clinton aide, who announced shortly after the New York Post’s lurid exclusive that she was leaving him.
“After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband,” she said in a statement. “Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life. During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy.”
Weiner’s first fall from grace occurred in 2011, after he was discovered to have texted many lewd photos of himself to women he had met through Twitter. He vowed to stop and ran for New York City mayor in 2013, although the campaign was derailed when he was found to have continued sexting, this time under the pseudonym Carlos Danger.
The latest scandal, as reported by the New York Post, revolves around a string of sexual texts between Weiner and a woman whose identity has not been revealed, but who brought her story and all the evidence to the newspaper. Said paper — well-known for pushing the envelope, as it did most recently when it splashed nude photos of Melania Trump on its cover earlier this month — then published the cringe-inducing exchanges, including the image with Weiner’s son (although they blocked out the boy’s face).
“Yes, the Post did go too far. But more importantly, Weiner went too far,” Barbara Greenberg, a Connecticut-based child and teen psychologist, tells Yahoo Beauty. “It’s disrespectful to a child, who’s helpless in this situation. He will eventually see these pictures, and it will impact upon how he sees his father, who is his most important role model.” That will compromise Weiner’s effectiveness as a father, she argues.
“The fact that his father included him in this activity means he’s going to lose his credibility as a parent — he won’t have a leg to stand on,” Greenberg says. “This is going to damage his ability to be taken seriously as a father by his kid.”