The world is full of people who do not study the practical side of history. Some of them get elected to public office. Take Chris Lee, for example. Elected by the good people of the 26th Congressional District of New York to represent them in Washington, they most likely expected a representative in Chris Lee, a Republican, who was cognizant of what sending expository e-mails and photos could do to a person’s reputation. Not to mention, a marriage.
Gawker posted some flirtatious e-mails and a shirtless photo of Rep. Chris Lee, reportedly taken in a hotel room with a cell phone, on their website Wednesday. It is a photo Lee allegedly sent to a woman he contacted via the “Women Seeking Men” forum on Craigslist. Within hours of the posting, the New York Times reported Lee had resigned his Congressional seat in the House of Representatives and issued an apology.
“I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents,” he said in a statement issued late Wednesday. “I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness.”
According to Gawker, Rep. Chris Lee attempted to pass himself off as a divorced lobbyist. The 46-year-old Congressman is married.
When Gawker asked for a comment on the story, a spokesman for Rep. Lee asked to see all of the e-mails, which Gawker allows they refused to do. The spokesman said that there had been a problem with the Congressman’s Facebook page being hacked, which was reported on January 21.
The woman Lee corresponded with wished to remain anonymous.
The shirtless Congressman story was the second big reveal of the day for Gawker Media. It’s subsidiary, Deadspin, also released an exclusive story concerning a reported hook-up between New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and a 17-year-old young woman. Although the story read like a near-miss non-scandal (due to the fact that the age of consent in the state of New York is 17), Deadspin ran with the story anyway due to melodrama of a threatened lawsuit for defamation. However, they kept the young woman’s name out of the story, calling her “E. K.”
At least there weren’t photos of Mark Sanchez standing bare in front of a mirror. Perhaps some people do learn practical lessons from history.
When Gawker insisted that Lee’s office address the photos and e-mails, Rep. Chris Lee’s spokesman told them, “The Congressman is happily married.” He added, “The only time he or his wife posted something online was to sell old furniture when they changed the apartment they keep in DC.”
And yet, Congressmen do not resign over pictures of old furniture…
Maureen O’Connor, “Married GOP Congressman Sent Sexy Pictures To Craigslist Babe,” Gawker.com
Raymond Hernandez, “New York Congressman Resigns Over Shirtless Photo,” NYTimes.com