Updated: Jun 23
One of the big pandemic television hits was Showtime's Billions, which stars Paul Giamatti as crusading U.S. Attorney-- based loosely on Preet Bharara-- and New York Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Chuck Rhoades. One of Rhoades' big problems is that he's into s&m with a predilection towards being degraded. I suspect that a minor candidate for New York City Council watched the series and got a very creative idea about how to get some attention for his floundering campaign.
And, believe it or not, that brings us to said 26 year old candidate for New York's City Council, Zachary Weiner, who had zero chance of winning until a couple of days ago when his own s&m scandal broke. Now Billions-grade notoriety has given him a small chance of winning, despite describing himself as a Democrat with "no particular political ideology."
Weiner's campaign website doesn't mention the scandal, just that he's "not a career politician" but that he and 3 friends from Yeshiva founded Stag Pictures in 2014 which has made 3 horror films written by Weiner: Uncaged, Shelly and Pledge (judge the artistic merits for yourself). He describes himself as "a life long Upper West Sider who attended Chabad pre-school, Manhattan Day School, Ramaz, New School, and Bard... Zack believes his unorthodox skill set is better suited to the current crises which call for creative answers and business minded execution."
The primary is Tuesday but no one knew exactly how unorthodox until a video of Weiner enjoying some Chuck Rhoades-like bondage turned up on an anonymous Twitter account last week. Yesterday, the NY Post reported that "The footage-- flagged to The Post by Weiner’s own campaign manager-- shows a gagged Weiner, unable to speak, subjecting himself to various abuses by a leather-bound woman who pours wax on him and clips his nipples with clothespins. The footage was filmed at Parthenon studio in Midtown-- which is known for its high-quality BDSM dungeons. In a call with The Post, Weiner confirmed it was him in the video and said the footage was made about 18 months ago with a former girlfriend he met during a Halloween party in 2019. 'I didn’t want anyone to see that, but here we are. I am not ashamed of the private video circulating of me on Twitter. This was a recreational activity that I did with my friend at the time, for fun. Like many young people, I have grown into a world where some of our most private moments have been documented online.' Weiner said in a statement. 'I am a proud BDSMer. I like BDSM activity,' Weiner told The Post. He refused to name the woman in the video and said he had no idea how on earth the footage surfaced. 'It’s definitely a violation of trust,' he added."
Campaign manager Joe Gallagher told The Post they had reported the account to Twitter and it had been briefly taken offline, but that it was later reinstated.
“Twitter is pretty loose about this stuff,” Gallagher said.
The timing of the video suddenly puts the spotlight on Weiner, who has mostly been a nonentity in the race for the Upper West Side’s 6th District, during early primary voting.
His campaign has raised barely more than $10,000-- the lion’s share of which has come from Weiner and Gallagher.
His campaign website lists no endorsements, and he faces powerful establishment opponents like Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.