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Allegations Against Filner Reach National Stage

The Colbert Report included the developing story about sexual harassment allegations against Mayor Bob Filner in its July 18 show.
The Colbert Report included the developing story about sexual harassment allegations against Mayor Bob Filner in its July 18 show.

As sexual harassment allegations continue to plague the office of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, local leaders and national pundits are forming their opinions on the story.

Some are satirical. Others are sarcastic. Many are speculative.

We've rounded up some of them, starting with the one that has lots of residents thinking "Hey, San Diego! We're famous!"


The Colbert Report, a satirical news show that is often pointed to as part of the late-night Comedy Central programming that gives most Millennials their news, included the Filner saga in its Thursday night show.

"See? This man reaches into hearts and souls. And it's not his fault if sometimes there are t---ies in the way," Colbert said after rolling footage of Filner's statement that he has "reached into his heart and soul" and will change his behavior.

Even local radio station KOGO jumped on the satire bandwagon by releasing a "PSA" ahead of Comic-Con meant to welcome tourists to the city but also warn them that San Diego has a "serial hugger on the loose" and that if someone attempts to grab them, it's not a man in a mask, but rather the mayor himself.

Residents of the city have also created memes and started using hashtags on Twitter such as #filnerheadlock and #filnerdance in reference to the terms some who have worked with Filner created to describe how he puts himself in situations with women and allegedly harasses them.

Columnists from outlets across San Diego and the Southern California region have weighed in with less humor.


The Los Angeles Times's Robin Abcarian wrote Thursday that the allegations against Filner are not only damaging to the mayor, and if true, to the lives of the women leveling them. They are damaging to the city itself, she wrote.

"After waiting 20 years for a Democratic mayor, San Diego liberals finally get a guy whose heart is in the right place, but whose hands can't stay still," she wrote. "I guess I wouldn't expect a guy like Filner to go down without a fight. Looks like California's most temperate city is in for a long, hot summer."

San Diego City Beat's John Lamb wrote in his column, Spin Cycle, that he couldn't decide whether to punch the mayor or put him in a "Filner Headlock of appreciation" for his accomplishments, among them clearing Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama of cars.

"The anonymous descriptions of Filner's dark side with regards to women, however, has shattered that feeling of accomplishment on the policy side," Lamb wrote.

National coverage of the story includes articles in the Washington Post, Politico and NPR, among others.

Voice of San Diego contributor Randy Dotinga on Friday chimed in with his opinion on the national coverage of the Filner story and how many reports are missing important things "like the facts," he wrote.

"Here are a few: This isn't a sex scandal, at least by our definition. Our mayors aren't always in a big fat pile of trouble (although some of them certainly have been). Also: Some out-of-towners seem to think Filner will quit. Now isn't that adorable?"

The national stage, for the facts it may be missing, has its opinions, too.

Jessica Wakeman wrote on The Frisky, a blog with a mostly female readership, that "Filner publicly admitted he needs help. He should go get it."

"A mayor who has allegedly sexually harassed at least two of his own constituents, to say nothing of his own employee — and had admitted to behaving inappropriately — has no business remaining in a position of power. It's almost laughable that he thinks otherwise," Wakeman wrote.

Jezebel, also a blog with primarily female readers, snarkily commented on the mayor's statement that he hadn't sexually harassed anyone and that he is "a hugger."

"Oh, hugging; is that what we're calling it now? He added, 'There is a difference between someone who is tough to work for...and sexual harassment.' Not if the reason someone is 'tough to work for' is because they sexually harass you, there's not," wrote Callie Beusman.