While U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner initially blamed “hackers” for sending a photo of his crotch to a young woman on Twitter — before later changing his story — in Canada’s version of “Weinergate,” a politician is sticking to his claim that he did not post a lewd photo on Twitter.
Weiner, a Democratic representative from New York, admitted at a tearful news conference on Monday that he sent a close-up photo of his crotch in grey underpants. He apologized to his family and constituents, but refused to step down.
Weiner claimed to have “panicked” and made up a story about hackers after accidentally sending a publicly visible Twitter message instead of a private direct message. He also admitted to having other "inappropriate" communications with women online.
In the Canadian “Weinergate,” a graphic photo of a man’s genitals was posted to the Twitter account of Ontario political candidate George Lepp, who is running for the Progressive Conservative Party. Lepp blamed "pickpockets," saying that his BlackBerry phone was stolen.
While Lepp, unlike Weiner, lacks an apt surname for the scandal, the incident did spark the following headline in the Canadian news media: “Pick-pocket posted penis pic: PC Party”
A Toronto Sun story quoted a party spokesman suggesting that Lepp had inadvertently taken a photo of his own genitals. The photograph was allegedly captured when his BlackBerry was operating on camera mode in his front pant pocket. According to spokesman Alan Sakach, the phone was later stolen and the photo posted to Twitter.
But Sakach later denied this report, saying that the photo was not of Lepp and he had no idea how it was taken.
Lepp said his phone was “pickpocketed” as he was leaving a Progressive Conservative Party convention in Toronto. He blamed youth in Anime costumes who were leaving a science fiction convention at the same venue, Canada’s QMI Agency reports.
Lepp said he didn’t realize the photo had been posted until his son, who administers his Twitter account, called to tell him.
"I am simply the victim of a crime," Lepp said in a statement. "My BlackBerry was stolen while I was in Toronto and obviously used to take and distribute this photo."