What's With Jewish Politicians and Sex Scandals?

Weiner and Spitzer Aren't Alone in Creating Shanda for Tribe

Drama Galore: There was an Anthony Weiner/Huma Abedin sighting yesterday. Last weekend, Eliot Spitzer was in church pleading forgiveness, and some love child drama, too. Why all the Jewish sex scandals?
getty images
Drama Galore: There was an Anthony Weiner/Huma Abedin sighting yesterday. Last weekend, Eliot Spitzer was in church pleading forgiveness, and some love child drama, too. Why all the Jewish sex scandals?

By Ron Kampeas

Published July 24, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

“If we need a reminder of how Jews are like everyone else, this is a useful one,” said Ann Lewis, who as White House communications director managed the fallout from President Bill Clinton’s sex scandal and whose brother, former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, was caught up in a scandal in the 1980s involving a gay escort. “It does help bring us down to earth.”

Unlike other lawmakers caught in scandal, Lewis said, Jewish politicos are less likely to face the charges of hypocrisy that have afflicted others caught with their pants down.

“Jewish politicians by and large have not been huge advocates of patrolling other people’s sex lives,” Lewis said.

The cases all have their own particularities.

Spitzer’s lapses were crimes, though he was never prosecuted for them. Filner’s might yet land him in court; his former communications director said this week that she was suing the mayor for sexual harassment. Weiner’s is just bizarre, though no one has suggested it is criminal. And Cohen is a rare case of smoke being just smoke, sans fire.

Rounding out the sordidness is the baffling case of Cohen, who was caught tweeting and deleting love notes to a bikini model during the State of the Union address in February. Turns out she was his recently discovered love child. Then it was discovered she wasn’t. Then, while attempting to explain the mess, he seemingly came on to a reporter about the age of his not-daughter.

Filner thus far has rejected calls for his resignation, while Spitzer and Weiner are both trying to rehabilitate their political careers after retreating from the spotlight in the wake of the scandals. On Monday, however, Weiner acknowledged that he had sent more explicit photos and texts to a woman, though the exact date of the exchange was unclear.

Cohen added to his problems last week after he was asked by a reporter about a paternity test proving he was not the father of the bikini model Victoria Brink. The congressman responded, “You’re very attractive, but I’m not talking about it.”

Cohen almost immediately sought out the reporter to apologize, saying he had been roiled by the revelation that Brink was not his daughter after her mother had led him to believe he was.

“Been tough week, then this,” Cohen said in a tweet. “Sad 2 say I’m not perfect.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.