It’s hard to keep up with the ever-evolving career of private citizen Anthony Weiner. Before he resigned from Congress in 2011 after a sexting scandal that never seemed to end, he was a rising Democratic star known for his fiery denunciations of lawmakers who dared put budget concerns before the rights of Sept. 11 first responders.
But after it was revealed that Weiner had revealed parts of his nether regions in Twitter messages, things changed.
First, Weiner tried consulting. Then came another sexting scandal, a failed bid to become New York’s mayor, and a more successful bid to become a full-time Twitter personality and a part-time political commentator. There was also, of course, that appearance in “Sharknado 3.”
And now, Weiner has exited a high-profile job at a public relations firm less than two months after it began.
“He understands that his presence here has created noise and distraction that just isn’t helpful,” MWW chief executive Michael Kempner wrote in an internal memo, as the New York Post reported.
MWW is the New Jersey-based PR firm that threw in its lot with Weiner in July. The company has represented a number of well known brands and is a familiar player in the field. The Washington Post, for example, asked an MWW social strategist to dissect an Uber executive’s Twitter rant last year.
When Weiner signed with MWW, the company seemed to be all smiles.
Weiner “brings a deep background and understanding in the workings of Congress and the City of New York,” the company said in a statement, and has mastery of “many issues ranging from the future of health care to national technology policy.” His presence would be welcome — even if he wouldn’t actually be seeing clients.
“Anthony Weiner is an expert on public policy and will not be expected to service clients directly,” the company wrote. “As a member of our Board of Advisors, he will be a part-time consultant to the agency, primarily focused on policy matters and new business development.”
There was a certain irony when Weiner joined what’s often called a “crisis management” firm. But he told Forbes he could be of great value. First of all, he wouldn’t be doing PR, but “business development.”
“You develop a lot of knowledge and a lot of relationships when you spend 20-something years in public life, and so I kind of understand those problem-solving and business development kinds of things,” he said. He added: “The only difference between me and other public figures is that people know a hell of a lot more about me than I wish they knew,”
Yet two moons brought great changes. Not everyone at MWW, it seems, was happy about Weiner’s presence. One executive, put off by Weiner’s Democratic politics, quit after a charged Twitter exchange with Weiner just last month.
“In related news, George Pataki hasn’t been seen all day,” Weiner tweeted on Aug. 28 — an apparent joke about New York’s former Republican governor after it was reported that Carly Fiorina’s campaign car hit a deer in Iowa.
MWW’s Arthur Schwartz struck back with quite the zinger.
“In unrelated news, @GovernorPataki is a man of honor and integrity,” Schwartz wrote. “And you’re … well, you’re @anthonyweiner.”
Schwartz — a Republican in a firm dominated by Democrats — left MMW shortly after the exchange, as the New York Post reported.
“This is a direct reaction from Arthur’s business associates being uncomfortable with Anthony Weiner,” O’Brien Murray, a consultant and “Schwartz associate,” told the paper. “Corporations don’t want the image of working with a firm that is affiliated with Anthony Weiner.”
The media, meanwhile, just wouldn’t let Weiner get on with his life.
“The continuous noise from these parties has caused both Anthony and the MWW team to have to deal with many inflammatory, insulting and false stories,” CEO Kempner wrote in his memo.
Though Weiner is the veteran of two major sex scandals who might be expected to know that silence is golden, the former congressman took to Twitter — to dispute MWW’s version of events.
“I read the mww statement when they sent it to staff,” Weiner wrote in a message to Politico NJ. “I was either not consulted or ignored on every part of this excellent summer adventure.”
If characterizing a potentially career-rehabilitating gig as “a summer adventure” wasn’t potentially damaging enough, Weiner took to Twitter after this quote appeared to, it seemed, make a joke about it.
“I insist on being consulted and then ignored, thank you very much,” he wrote.
The New York Post, citing an unnamed individual, disputed that Weiner was surprised by the memo. The individual said Weiner was up against a wall at the PR firm — and voiced a desire to start his own.
“Anthony has been talking about his departure with MWW for days,” the individual said. “It was strongly suggested he resign, so he didn’t really have a choice. He was the one who came up for the reason for his departure, starting his own company. This isn’t a surprise to him.”
Indeed, in his internal memo, Kempner said Weiner’s new venture would be focused on “tackling some of the structural problems of the New York State Constitution.” Weiner wrote an op-ed on this subject in the New York Times just last month.
“I need a PR company to recover from working for a PR company,” Weiner told Politico. “Go figure.”
As Weiner continues to flail, some see not just a scandal-plagued politico struggling out of the public eye, but a principled man descending into the private sector.
“From the moment he left public view,” the New York Times wrote in 2013, “the man who had relied on a government paycheck his entire adult life was consumed by a corporate career whose profits and progress came to him, by his own account, with remarkable ease.”
And hanging over all of Weiner’s tribulations is his connection to the Clintons. Weiner is married to Huma Abedin, a woman Hillary Clinton has described as “a second daughter.” Weiner has reportedly been told to stay away from Clinton fundraisers as the former first lady runs for president.
The connection was not lost on Republican candidate Donald Trump, who has called Weiner a “perv” and questioned why he is in the Clintons’ orbit.
“[Abedin] is receiving this very, very important information and giving it to Hillary,” Trump told CNN. “Well, who else is she giving it to? Her husband has serious problems, and on top of that, he now works for a public relations firm. So how can she be married to this guy who’s got these major problems?”
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