Early last fall, America watched with salacious glee as a 22-year-old Indiana woman named Sydney Leathers changed from sky-high heels into flats to chase disgraced NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner through a Midtown McDonald's. Since then, Leathers has gone back to school, has a boyfriend, and is trying to move on with her life. If only it were that simple.
A profile of Leathers that ran in The Indy Star today seems innocuous enough on its surface. She's gone "from sexting to studying," claims the headline.
What's wrong with the article? If you ask Sydney Leathers herself, plenty.
For starters, the piece opens with this:
Last December, Howard Stern suggested to Sydney Leathers that she go back to school, get a degree "and make something more legitimate" of herself, instead of just having sex in adult films.
Leathers, the small-town Hoosier and perhaps best-known of Anthony Weiner's sexting partners, took Stern's advice. To a point.
Not true, a frustrated Leathers explains to Jezebel. She was slated to enroll in college last fall, during the thick of the scandal, but after a BuzzFeed piece outed her full name, reporters found where she was enrolled and began showing up at her apartment to harass her (in this Vice piece, she talks about how all of the attention drove her to think about killing herself). She didn't feel safe attending school that semester (a semester she had already paid for), and so she held off until things died down. Howard Stern had fuck-all to do with it. Why minimize her ambitions and retroactively edit her intentions?
Leathers said she is in school, "a couple semesters away" from an associate degree in radio and TV. She declined to identify the school but said it was in Illinois and within commuting distance of Princeton, Ind., where she lives with her father.
Leathers is planning on going on to pursue her bachelor's degree and after that, pursue a career behind the camera, not one producing reality TV or porn. Details she told the Indy Star but were not printed.
A frustrated Leathers tells Jezebel that Will Higgins, the reporter behind the piece, was just one in a string of journalists who has treated her like dirt. He was snide and condescending during the interview and implied, like so many writers before him, that Leathers is a dangerous fuck-witch singlehandedly responsible for forcing the married Weiner to engaged in a sexually charged virtual relationship with her. The interview took place a few weeks ago, but Leathers remembers it un-fondly. At one point, Higgins condescendingly asked her why she felt the need to get a degree if she has "the porn," and then grew frustrated with her when she wouldn't spill details about the personal lives about her father and boyfriend.
Then, there's this:
After having a labiaplasty, a genital cosmetic surgery, she attempted to auction off the excess tissue to the highest bidder.
There were no takers.
Also untrue. I can't believe I'm about to defend Sydney Leathers's labia auction here, but there were bidders, but Leathers withdrew the item from auction when she learned that selling it would have been illegal, a detail she says she made known to Higgins.
Leathers, who is no stranger to snarky media outlets (this one included), has put up with a lot of shit for some questionable decisions she made at age 22 (especially considering one could convincingly argue that New Yorkers owe Anthony Weiner's mayoral election loss, in part, to Leathers's willingness to go public). She's faced her share of condescending reporters in the aftermath, but this one got to her because, she says, "It he did it to me I assume he does it to all women. Or I'm a special kind of whore in his eyes and deserve to be talked down to by some asshat reporter who sought ME out."
Image via AP