News & Politics

My First: That Time Olivia Nuzzi Wrote About Anthony Weiner and Got Called a “Slutbag”

Olivia Nuzzi, New York magazine’s Washington correspondent, once interned with Anthony Weiner’s mayoral campaign—then talked about it.

Photograph courtesy of Olivia Nuzzi

“In 2013, When I was 20, I briefly interned for Anthony Weiner’s mayoral campaign. I wrote about the experience for the New York Daily News. I didn’t think it would be a big deal, for some reason. My brain wasn’t fully developed.

“They ended up putting [my story] on the cover, which they said they would not do. The whole day, I was hiding in my dorm room. It looked like I’d sold my story and done an interview with them—it didn’t look like I’d written it. I remember pacing around the Upper West Side with my head down, freaking out.

“Then something amazing happened. Hunter Walker, a reporter for Talking Points Memo, called. He said he had called the Weiner campaign to talk about fund­raising numbers or something, and the spokeswoman, Barbara Morgan, started ranting and calling me a ‘slutbag,’ which I had never heard before, a ‘f—ing twat,’ and a ‘little c—’ who ‘sucked’ at my job. Which was true—I did suck at my job. He wanted to publish [Morgan’s comments]. I was thrilled the campaign had attacked me on the record. I was so relieved. I thought (A) that’s the story now and (B) what she did is so obviously worse than what I did.

“What ensued was 72 hours of a crazy news cycle, with stories on every network and in every paper. There were all these think pieces about internships and ‘slutbags.’ [Morgan] apologized at the time. We ended up, a couple years later, patching things up. Now we’re good friends.

“It was a weird first foray into political media and being attacked by a campaign flack. It’s not something most journalists experience until they’re fairly established. It’s unusual that I experienced having pieces written about me before I had any work to speak of. It wasn’t like I had any kind of career—I was an intern.

“It desensitized me early on: If there are 300 comments about your boobs or saying your face is weird, it doesn’t have to ruin your day. Being publicly attacked [also helped me] empathize with people I’m writing about. I shudder to think how callous I would have been had I not been through that. ”

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.