Gennette Cordova, the Seattle-area student who received a picture of an erection covered in underwear from the Twitter account of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D - N.Y.), released a statement on Sunday, categorically denying she is Weiner's "mistress" and cataloging the harassment she received from jeering conservatives on Twitter.
Cordova's account, published in the New York Daily News, would seem to corroborate the theories of DailyKos user Stef, who tracked down the original source of the allegations against Weiner, Twitter user "patriotusa76" (real name Dan Wolfe).
As Stef notes, Wolfe appeared to have "foreknowledge that something was going to go down," and Tweeted obsessively about Weiner and "young girls." Cordova writes that she had been "harassed" by a Twitter user ever since Rep. Weiner had started following her; it seems clear that Wolfe was that Twitter user, and may be the person responsible for the congressman's errant Tweet.
Cordoba identifies this website as "suggesting" that she is the congressman's "mistress"; we believe we treated the claims being made with fairness, and regarded BigGovernment's sources with the proper amount of skepticism. Frankly, given the horrible journalistic track record of Andrew Breitbart and BigGovernment.com (which broke the story), we're inclined to believe her. But her statement doesn't necessarily vindicate Weiner, either — the Tweet still came from his account, and it's unclear how or why.
The account that these tweets were sent from was familiar to me; this person had harassed me many times after the Congressman followed me on Twitter a month or so ago. Since I had dealt with this person and his cohorts before I assumed that the tweet and the picture were their latest attempts at defaming the Congressman and harassing his supporters.
Annoyed, I responded with something along the lines of "are you f***ing kidding me?" and "I've never seen this. You people are sick." I blocked their accounts, made my page private, and let the matter drop, expecting them to eventually do the same.
Within about an hour, however, I realized that I had grossly underestimated the severity of the situation that I had somehow become a part of.
The last 36 hours have been the most confusing, anxiety-ridden hours of my life. I've watched in sheer disbelief as my name, age, location, links to any social networking site I've ever used, my old phone numbers and pictures have been passed along from stranger to stranger.
My friends have received phone calls from people claiming to be old friends of mine, attempting to obtain my contact information. My siblings have received tweets that are similar in nature. I began taking steps, though not quickly enough, to remove as much personal information from the Internet as possible.
Not because I "was exposed as Weiner's mistress" or because I "was responsible for the hack," as Gawker has suggested. I removed my information because I, believe it or not, do not enjoy being harassed or being the reason that my loved ones are targets of harassment.
I have seen myself labeled as the "Femme Fatale of Weinergate," "Anthony Weiner's 21-year-old coed mistress" and "the self-proclaimed girlfriend of Anthony Weiner."
All of this is so outlandish that I don't know whether to be pissed off or amused, quite frankly. This is the reality of sharing information online in the 21st century. Things that I never imagined people would care about are now being plastered all over blog sites, including pictures of me from when I was 17 and tweets that have been taken completely out of context. I tweeted once (it was reported that I said it twice) that "I wonder what my boyfriend @RepWeiner is up to."
I am a 21-year-old college student from Seattle. I have never met Congressman Weiner, though I am a fan. I go to school in Bellingham where I spend all of my time; I've never been to New York or to DC. The point I am trying to make is that, contrary to the impression that I apparently gave from my tweet, I am not his girlfriend. Nor am I the wife, girlfriend or mistress of Barack Obama, Ray Allen or Cristiano Ronaldo, despite the fact that I have made similar assertions about them via Twitter.
There have never been any inappropriate exchanges between Anthony Weiner and myself, including the tweet/picture in question, which had apparently been deleted before it reached me. I cannot answer the questions that I do not have the answers to. I am not sure whether or not this letter will alleviate any future harassment. I also do not have a clear understanding as to how or why exactly I am involved in this fiasco. I do know that my life has been seriously impacted by speculation and faulty allegations. My reputation has been called into question by those who lack the character to report the facts.