Anthony Weiner’s Communications Director, Barbara Morgan, responded angrily yesterday to a former intern, Olivia Nuzzi, who had written negatively about the Weiner campaign.
According to Hunter Walker of Talking Points Memo: (Warning: Graphic language below)
“TPM called Weiner’s communications director Barbara Morgan to discuss an unrelated story Tuesday and she went off on a curse-filled rant about Nuzzi, describing her as a fame hungry “bitch” who “sucked” at her job. Morgan also called Nuzzi a “slutbag,” “twat,” and “cunt” while threatening to sue her.”
“It’s all bullshit,” she said. “I mean, it’s such bullshit. She could fucking — fucking twat.”
After this story blew up on social media last night, Morgan apologized, saying:
“In a moment of frustration, I used inappropriate language in what I thought was an off the record conversation. It was wrong and I am very sorry, which is what I said tonight when I called and emailed Olivia to apologize.”
There are a few separate issues here.
First, Morgan appears to have gone “off the record” without gaining the prior consent of the reporter.
Any communications director should know the risks of doing so and be a lot smarter about the times they do go off the record. This is a point even our most novice media training students seem to understand.
Second, Morgan appears to be implying that the comments would have been more acceptable had they been made “off the record.”
That a communications professional would ever think it appropriate to use such language to attack a woman is outrageous. The fact that Ms. Morgan is a woman doesn’t give her license to use such misogynistic language to describe another woman. Even if the off the record agreement had been accepted by both sides, the dramatic nature of this exchange would have encouraged some reporters and editors to render the agreement null and void.
Third, and perhaps most odd, her response was totally disproportionate.
Yes, the intern in question, OIivia Nuzzi, wrote an unfavorable piece about the campaign, including a comment that suggested that Ms. Morgan—and others in the office—had a “short resume.” By responding to the piece with such graphic language, Morgan ensured Nuzzi’s piece would receive even more coverage. Her response should have been calmly dismissive.
With any other candidate, Morgan would be fired immediately. Given that Anthony Weiner is her boss, it wouldn’t be surprising if this politically depressing and ever-sordid drama continues to drag on.
Update, July 31, 2013, 8:30 p.m.
I appeared on The Crisis Show with crisis pro Rich Klein earlier tonight to discuss Ms. Morgan’s contribution to the latest Anthony Weiner scandal. The video is below.
What do you think? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.