SCANDAL

Porn Star Sydney Leathers Opens Up: ‘I’m Sorry’ for Helping Elect Donald Trump

Anthony Weiner’s former sexting partner opens up about the role she played in exposing the disgraced former congressman once more—which then reopened Hillary Clinton’s email case.

11.19.16 1:13 PM ET

Sydney Leathers may be one of the more influential people in politics, and she’s not even a politician.

Four years ago, she was barely on the media’s radar—just a small town Indiana girl engaging in flirtatious online banter. Only the man on the other side of the conversation was a well-known, loudly outspoken, and publicly respected politician. Sexts exchanged between the two over several months were leaked to the press, and with a giant swelling of media hype, Weinergate penetrated the American public in 2013, deflating congressman Anthony Weiner’s political career and putting a damper on his mayoral bid for New York.

But no one could have guessed that Sydney Leathers and Anthony Weiner would come back to haunt the 2016 presidential election. Leathers played a pivotal role in orchestrating the shocking Daily Mail story back in September revealing how Weiner had been sexting a 15-year-old girl—a development that put the ex-politician under federal investigation and reopened the FBI inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

“It’s kind of surreal. I thought 2013 was a crazy year for me, but the surprises just keep coming,” Leathers tells The Daily Beast.

The Weiner case prompted FBI Director James Comey to issue a pair of bombshell letters to Congress—first explaining how the Bureau was revisiting the case against Clinton, which had effectively been closed over the summer, and then informing them that no new evidence was found that was “pertinent to the investigation.” Many pundits have claimed that Comey’s meddling cost Clinton the election, and Clinton herself held a pair of post-election conference calls with donors where she blamed the FBI’s investigation for her shocking loss to Donald Trump.

Despite her history with Hillary’s “second daughter” Huma Abedin, the tortured ex-wife to Weiner, Leathers is a longtime Democrat and dedicated Hillary supporter. She had a visceral reaction when she realized her seismic impact on the election. “I had a panic attack when I first found out. I was shaking for a solid 30 minutes,” says Leathers. “I felt sick, and a little guilty initially, but I had no way of knowing this was going to happen. It wasn’t malicious. I wanted to help a 15-year-old girl; it was the right thing. I’m sorry for any damage it caused the Clinton campaign. That wasn’t my intent.”

This latest—and most damning—Weiner controversy began when his underage sexting partner reached out to Leathers for advice. “She reached out to me back in May. So this was something I had been dealing with behind the scenes for a long time. It was hard on me. I just felt a lot of pressure to do the right thing for her,” says Leathers. “I guess she wanted advice, or at the very least someone to listen who could relate.”

“[Weiner] was someone I had on a pedestal when I was younger, naïve, and idealistic. Especially now, after the stuff with the 15-year-old, I’m just repulsed,” she continues. “I’m not someone who feels like the moral authority in a situation but to do what he did to this kid really upsets me on the deepest level. It’s unforgivable. I was once a 15-year-old who had creepy older men do weird shit to her. I take this personally. I wish someone would’ve done something for me when I was her age. So I wanted to be that person for her.”

After leaking Weiner’s incriminating texts to the media back in 2013, Leathers soon realized how fleeting anonymity can be. Recalling her emotional state when her own story broke, Leathers says she could relate to what Weiner’s underage victim might be going through. “I thought about killing myself when [the media] outed me because I felt so humiliated, like my life was ruined. I thought my family would hate me. It was a devastating time,” says Leathers. “Anthony used to message me from a Facebook account under his real name and my ex saw a message on my locked screen and basically tortured me emotionally over it.”

“Everyone assumes I’m an attention whore but in reality I’m naturally very introverted,” adds Leathers, who later pursued a degree in radio/TV production as well as a career in porn. “I like production because I like being behind the scenes. That’s my comfort zone.”

Earlier this year, the documentary Weiner was released—a fresh take on an old scandal offering a more intimate look at the players involved. The film was co-directed by former Weiner chief of staff Josh Kriegman, and while the politician was humanized in the documentary, Leathers was cast as the villain, and was not afforded any screen time to share her side of the story.

“It came out the same month I graduated college. I had a tough time celebrating my accomplishment because I started getting death threats, rape threats, and became a target for harassment again,” says Leathers. “They never mentioned that I was outed or that any of my media stunts were basically my job. It really made me out to be a one-dimensional fame whore.”

Get The Beast In Your Inbox!
By clicking "Subscribe," you agree to have read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
Thank You!
You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason

Politicians are drawn to the 26-year-old voluptuous brunette—even with her reputation for exposing their dirty little secrets. According to Leathers, her interactions with these affluent politicians have been entirely online.

“I messaged Weiner first, but Justin Moed sought me out,” says Leathers of the member of Indiana’s House of Representatives. “Sometimes they’ll talk about their personal lives. It’s never just about sexting–or findom. I wouldn’t call what I did with Moed sexting.” (Findom, aka financial domination, is Leathers’ “favorite little side job” which she says “is a no brainer” because “guys want to send you money, so you tell them to do it”).

As the Daily Mail reported, Moed communicated with Leathers on Twitter as b*tchboy4you and responded to her request “for a ‘slave’ to ‘financially dominate.’” Well after the Weiner scandal, Moed knew the risk he was taking—a point the Indiana representative allegedly referenced in private twitter conversations with Leathers.

“Moed was by far the kinkiest. He was interested in having a strap-on used on him, he wanted to be walked on a leash, and said he’d seen a male prostitute in the past,” says Leathers. “By far the raunchiest one.”

What you see is what you get with Leathers, a resilient woman making the most of the hand she’s been given. “There's really no separate role for me in sexting, findom, or even porn for that matter. In a weird way it helps that my stage name is my real name. It’s all me,” she says. “I haven’t crafted any kind of persona. I just present what I am and how I feel.”

Disgusted by Trump and fearing the worst, Leathers is preparing to weather the new presidency with as much body autonomy as possible—by stocking up on birth control pills. “I’m also keeping some Plan B handy in case they make that harder to get. God only knows what could happen with [Mike] Pence as VP. As a woman living in the state he poorly governed, I’m all too familiar with his views on reproductive rights,” says Leathers. “Women are really in for a fight over the next four years.”