The Sexist

Why You Should Care About Marion Barry’s Un-Blow-Job

Today, Post media columnist Howard Kurtz tackled the popular outcry over the Washington City Paper's Marion Barry "You Put Me Out In Denver 'Cause I Wouldn't Suck Your Dick" cover line. Some readers, Kurtz wrote, found the headline's final "three-word phrase" vulgar, obscene, and even racist. The Post declined to print the phrase, but I'll give you a hint: it ain't "Out in Denver."

Kurtz went on to contextualize CP's stories with a recap of Barry's past highly-publicized sex scandals:

This is, after all, a former mayor who was busted for cocaine possession in 1990 with a woman not his wife—uttering the immortal phrase "Bitch set me up"—and two years later was found to have received oral sex from a female visitor at a Virginia prison (a conclusion he disputed). In the current flap, the Ward 8 lawmaker gave Watts-Brighthaupt a $60,000 council contract while they were dating, then was charged last weekend with stalking her after a fight, although charges have since been dropped.

But the Denver story is, by definition, not another Marion Barry sex scandal. It is a Marion Barry not-sex scandal. The story isn't a quasi-pornographic account of a Councilmember getting his dick sucked by a campaign staffer. It's about what he did to her when she refused to suck his dick.

Here's what Marion Barry did to a campaign staffer when she refused to suck his dick:

“You put me out in Denver ’cause I wouldn’t suck your dick,” Watts-Brighthaupt yelled at Barry, according to a tape recording of the conversation.

Watts-Brighthaupt was referring to an incident that had occurred about 10 months prior, at the Democratic National Convention. At the time, Watts-Brighthaupt was working on Barry’s ultimately successful re-election campaign and traveled to the Barack Obama-crowning affair. For reasons that remain murky, she ended up assigned to the councilmember’s hotel room in the Crowne Plaza hotel. Once behind closed doors, Barry allegedly asked Watts-Brighthaupt to perform oral sex on him. She refused, whereupon Barry threw her clothes out of the room and barred her from coming back in. She slept in the hotel’s parking garage, in a Cadillac Barry had rented.

No, this is not another story about Marion Barry trying to get some, bless his heart (as one commenter wrote, "At least he still has blood rushing through those veins"). This is a story about the misogynistic, abusive behavior of the councilmember from Ward 8. Watts-Brighthaupt's subsequent year-long on-again-off-again fling with Barry—the barefoot casino fights, the crazy voice-mails, the money promised to a woman suffering from the physical and financial strains of her cancer treatment, the arrest for stalking—speaks to a pattern of psychological abuse.

As we all know, an elected official receiving a blow job from a staffer qualifies as news to most media outlets. Shouldn't the way our elected officials treat women—and their employees—be newsworthy to us, as well?

Still think "suck your dick" is vulgar? Obscene? Indecent? Express that sentiment to Marion Barry, and you would be out on your ass, sleeping alone in a Denver parking garage in a rented Cadillac.

  • cminus

    Some readers, Kurtz wrote, found the headline’s final “three-word phrase” vulgar, obscene, and even racist.

    Vulgar and obscene, sure. But what's so racist about "by Mike DeBonis"?

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    ba dump ...

  • llerehs

    It was totally uneccessay and just sensational. we all know there are lots of guys over at the City Paper getting their Dick's Suck by their boyfriends. Print that!

  • Kate

    This actually was VERY NECESSARY. Why is it important to sully a woman staffer's reputation because she had an affair with a politician, but when its about how that politician mis-treated her and abused his power in rude and misogynistic ways suddenly the story is SENSATIONAL?

    Have sex with a woman and its a scandal, treat a woman badly? Well that's never important, I mean SHE"S JUST A WOMAN RIGHT? I mean its not like she's a person...

  • CmorButts

    Marion Barry for President!...lets be honest, ITS A WAR GOING ON IN IRAQ and you stupid americans are concerned about a man trying to live his life. She obviously went for what she wanted and he was in a position to give it to her, i thought she was married? and its clear to see that this man is targeted. He can do what ever he wants to do (as long as it isnt tax paying dollars) DCPS is the worst system in the nation, I DONT HEAR NO DAMN PUBLIC OUTCRY FOR THAT SHIT... the city paper keeps it real and she is clearly a GOLD-DIGGER who struck gold from a OLD, WEAK, VULNERABLE, HORNY, POLITICIAN!

  • VA

    DC was stuck in time for over 20 years because of the corruption this man oversaw. This city suffered terribly under his mayoral reign and he is an evil human being. People that stand up for him don't know what they are talking about.

  • Pingback: Uh Oh, Somebody Said “Blow Job” - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

  • carolyn

    While I do not condone Barry's actions, I have to wonder why this woman went to Denver knowing her accomodations would be in Barry's room. I also am offended by the language that City chose to use on the cover. Have we sank to such a level that we don't care what kids see on the street? There were several ways City could have highlighted this story without placing such language on their cover. Instead they chose to stoop to the lowest denominator. I have to question why an ex-husband or a husband for that matter would make those tapes public except in the event of a legal investigation. He certainly did not do anything to enhance his ex-wife's reputation. Stupidity on the part of all involved including City Paper.

  • Gail325

    Kudos to City Paper. I agree with Amanda. What is truly obscene is the pathetic contingent that continue to make excuses for that waste of humanity.

    PS - I'm Black, so don't dare think of playing the race card. It is not relevant in this game. The man is a fool.

  • SEDCdude

    The problem here is that the cover is tasteless and extremely unprofessional while trying to expose and demonize in the process! What makes it racist is that I find it hard to believe that a white poitician would receive the same COVER! Someone has to show etiquette and reserve and why not the city paper, especially when most of the staff has a different sexual desire and skin color than those they "SELECTIVELY" report on! Continue to report "SELECTIVE" trash not spew it!

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    Just curious, @SEDCdude: What "sexual desire" do you attribute to most of the staff of the City Paper?

  • Finn McCool

    Outstanding journalism...it is amazing to me that the liberal media (WPOST) continues to enable this dysfunctional politician.

  • SEDCdude

    Just curious, @Amanda Hess, What "sexual desire" can I attribute to you?

  • SEDCdude

    and BTW, CP is a few articles shy of mimicking......The washington Blade!

  • KWoods

    She's not the only woman he's told that to, I'm sure

...