Hugo Schwyzer and Michael Whiteacre have been in frequent contact since the details of Professor Schwyzer’s sexting fling with a 27-year old were revealed on this site. Schwyzer, who recently announced he would no longer teach his Pasadena Community College class called Navigating Pornography, offered to clear the air.
“Any chance of redemption I have,” he told Whiteacre, “comes through total honesty.”
Schwyzer promised brutal candor, and no subject was off limits — “No bullshit, no playing for the crowd,” he said. Here he is, talking female anger, mental illness, sex appeal, notoriety, infidelity . . . and whether he will ever write again.
This interview was conducted via email on August 4, 2013.
Hugo, how are you feeling now, and what’s the status of the psychological rehab that you announced you’d be undertaking?
I have been 5150’d twice in two weeks. I have a long history of depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, and suicidal impulses. I needed to be hospitalized for my own safety. I’m now seeing a psychiatrist and on a lot of meds. I still feel shaky but I don’t want to harm myself.
Your interview with Kat Stoeffel for The Cut has been criticized as self-pitying, and one statement in particular has caused a great deal of controversy:
“If you look at the men who are writing about feminism, they toe the line very carefully. It’s almost like they take their cues from the women around them. Men are afraid of women’s anger. It’s very hard for men to stand up to women’s anger.”
You’re someone who’s been both attacked and lauded for having friends across a wide spectrum of feminism, from the sex positive crowd to the likes of Meghan Murphy. Do you see how a man with your background – both in terms of your personal history and the tone/tenor of your writings – would be susceptible to claims that he was passing blame to female feminists?
Sure, I’ve been guilty of blaming female feminists for the harshest attacks on me. In the Stoeffel interview (for which, to be fair, I was high as a kite), I phrased the basic idea badly. Men need to do a better job of standing up to women’s anger. That is my point.
You’ve referred to yourself “one of the most universally despised figures out there.” Many suspected there was more than a hint of pride, or perverse pleasure in statements like that. Do you think that, on some level, you reveled in the hatred and controversy?
Well, I think there’s some truth in this! But I also enjoyed the notoriety in a rather self-abusive way.
You’ve stated your motivation for backing away from public life, but what precipitated your public admission about inappropriate extramarital contact with multiple women?
It was going to come out sooner or later. Why not get in front of it? Look, I’ve broken my marriage vows and been a first-rate fraud. I name that. And it’s one reason I need to step back from public life. Almost everyone is happy I’m gone.
What led to your suicide attempt by overdose of klonopin on August 1st — what was going through your mind? Many people have speculated that the attempt was an example of attention seeking behavior. Looking back, do you think you were actually trying to end your life?
I wanted help. I wasn’t thinking clearly. I have a real suicide plan for when the time comes. I’m gonna get dressed warmly, go down to the beach, take all my pills and wash them down with vodka, and start swimming. The clothes will weigh me down and the drugs and booze will keep me from swimming. I’ll drown. Taking 50 klonopin just got me into a safe hospital.
You’ve now told the world, “I’m a fraud.” In light of the heat you’ve taken over stating that having an extramarital affair was “off-brand,” were you ever the reformed individual you claimed to be? How much of the public persona of the redeemed man, ‘Hugo Schwyzer, male feminist’ was legitimate, and to what extent was it ‘branding’?
Do I believe intellectually in the equality of women? Wholeheartedly. Do I want to end rape? Damn straight. The “off-brand” was that I also claimed to be a one-woman man. Monogamy is not a prerequisite for feminism. I think honesty is. Off-brand to have multiple affairs and sexts.
Looking back at it, can you say that you used your ‘position’ as a prominent figure in the feminist blogosphere to entice or curry favor with women? Was this part of a continuum that includes the abuse of your position as professor to have relationships with your students, years ago – or was it something else?
How do you distinguish it? I really BELIEVE in what I’m doing. I teach Men and Masculinity to mostly men, for God’s sake. But here’s what I do know – I’m an average looking middle-aged bloke who gets a lot sexier when I teach or perform. That’s something of which I’m aware but it’s not the reason I teach.
Now, when I was a young professor, you bet I used it. 20 plus years ago, for sure.
When did your marital infidelities start, how many have there been, and who initiated them?
I’ve had three that were consummated as well as several other sexts. They started late last fall. Two of the three were initiated by other women, one by me. Imperative to note none were my students.
Speculation has already begun as to the identity of the other women. In your interview with The Cut you indicated that one affair “was with someone in the same circles that you and I move in, so I have to protect her.” Do you honestly believe you can “protect her” or the others? [Sources have already provided the identity of one of the women – Ed.] Do you feel it is your duty to do so?
I will do my best. I regret making that remark to Stoeffel. I know people will speculate but I’ve been foolish enough. This person deserves anonymity.
Christina Parreira is someone who’s familiar to readers of this site. You two never met in person, but had a relationship of a sexual nature over telephone, text and social media. It’s my understanding that, last year, she reached out to you online as a fan of your work, as she did with her now ex, Michael Whiteacre. Is that your recollection?
I think so.
In Whiteacre’s case, she was the aggressor, sending him suggestive and, later, explicit messages, photos and videos. Who was the aggressor in your case — who crossed the line from professional acquaintance to something more?
It was mutual. It got explicit pretty fast as I recall.
She has said that, to her, the appeal of a relationship with you was that you both suffer with mental illness, that you were both interested in issues surrounding gender, sexuality and pornography, that one day she’d like to teach as you do… and also that she felt she would be less likely to get hurt because the relationship could never go anywhere due to your marriage and family commitments. What was your motivation — and what made you risk everything over someone who Whiteacre had warned you was seriously ill and vindictive; someone who had, for instance, been willing to bruise herself and file a false police charge of abuse to have something to hold over his head?
I’ve been in a self-destructive pattern for a while, clearly. And I was very ready to do something wild. And Christina was wild and she was a risk – Whiteacre’s warnings increased rather than decreased her appeal. And yes, we are both full-blown BPD. It made her even sexier.
I think anyone can understand how, when evidence of a ‘career-killing’ indiscretion was out there, the parties would close ranks and agree to squash the story. DMs between the two of you show you leading her to do just that.
But, even after she attacked you on Twitter on February 23rd and admitted your relationship, you still refrained from public comment, and instead messaged her and convinced her to delete her Tweets. But in May, when Parreira began claiming that Whiteacre had fabricated all the evidence of a ‘fling’ which was the product of his “twisted mentally ill mind” you went along with her, and denied the legitimacy of what he had put forth.
Why did you side with her at that time? Were you simply seizing an opportunity?
I wasn’t ready to come clean as I am now. I was still trying to sustain a lie, and I am sorry that I did that to Michael. It was useless in the end. I am so glad the truth is out. I sexted with Christina regularly and it was unethical and hot.
Christina has, by her own admission, attempted suicide several times in the last year, and (again, according her own admission, witness testimony, as well as her actions on webcam) struggles with alcohol and drug use.
She has changed her story about Whiteacre several times, each new iteration wilder and more damning than the last. Recently, she and her friends have stalked and harassed him and his family, and posted his private information online. As someone who shares a history of mental illness, drug and alcohol issues and suicide attempts, do you have any advice for Christina?
Same advice for me: go to therapy, take your meds, and do your best to stay sober. That’s the best we who are cursed with dual diagnosis can do.
You’ve written often about Bill Clinton, and issues surrounding infidelity. In January, Parreira asked you, “Do you think you feel slightly guilty over flirtatious and jerk off vids, and that’s compelling you to post so much about cheating, redemption etc?” You replied, “No, I mean, I write about that a lot irrespective. I fall short of my own mark sometimes, and it’s a reminder to do more and work harder. But the guilt itself is unproductive.”
Today I’m humbled by my frailty and embarrassed by my claims of moral purity. My only advice now is to be kind to each other. There is nothing else to say.
Let’s talk a minute about Judaism, to which you converted prior to marrying your present wife. You have indicated that you believe your marriage is over. In The Big Lebowski, Walter, a convert, asks rhetorically, “When you get divorced you turn in your library card? You get a new license? You stop being Jewish … Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax…” What is your feeling about the place of Judaism in your life from here on out?
I’m so broken right now. But I believe in the power of the Torah to heal me. Beyond that, no comment.
Where do you go from here — what’s your outlook in terms of your teaching career?
I am giving up my porn class and all sexuality themed classes for now. I’m applying for a semester of disability/sick leave. I need time to get well. I cannot in good conscience teach about sexuality when my own sexuality is so troubled.
Do you think you will return to writing, and if so, do you think your focus will be the same?
I will write again someday, but it will be very different. All I can say for now.
What do you hope people will take away from this interview?
That I am contrite, candid, and in need of continued mental health care.
CODA by Michael Whiteacre
When I met Hugo Schwyzer on June 5, he informed me that he and Christina Parreira were no longer in contact, and that he wasn’t following her on social media. As far as I could tell, he was being truthful, and he still stands by that account.
Schwyzer says that in July his wife found out about two of his affairs “that were consummated” and later came upon the evidence of his sexting fling with Christina. It was after that, as the marriage crumbled, and he entered “free fall,” that he and Parreira “resumed contact.”
He filled Parreira in on what had happened, and revealed his three consummated affairs (she wrote that the number three “came directly from Hugo” in an email she posted online on August 3rd, one day prior to the publication of this interview).
Parreira recognized it was a fait accompli that all the details of their fling would soon be made very public as part of a major story.
What to do?
Parreira has a degree in Psychology and worked as a clinician in Connecticut. Should she counsel him, and guide him on the path to recovery? Should she, as one of the people complicit in his debasement, simply back away so as to not trigger any more self-destructive behavior in him?
What do you think? LOL
Christina did what she does best – she cozied up to Hugo to solicit and collect blackmail information on him. Then she waited for the first story to appear online.
After TRPWL ran its article on her sexting fling with Schwyzer, Christina put up a blog post which supported her good friend, Hugo; called TRPWL “a hate site;” and defamed me, personally.
Noting, “I have also suffered with mental illness and so perhaps I have a bit more empathy than others,” she stated her opinion that it was “not cool” to “rejoic[e] in his mental anguish.” Christina added, “I wish Hugo luck in his recovery.”
But then, yesterday, Hugo did something that Christina found unacceptable: he treated TRPWL, the site most critical of her, as the credible news source it is by granting an interview. And not just any interview — one in which he both publicly apologized for trying to discredit me, and dared tell the truth about her.
And right on schedule, Christina went ape-shit.
Today, these two comments were submitted (but not approved) on this story:
Hugo has confirmed that he and Parreira communicated the night of August 4th. He also texted with me until past 11 pm. “She was furious I did the interview with you and Sean,” he revealed today. “I stand by every word of it, and I never trashed her. I trashed MYSELF.”
I then inquired how many of his other paramours were still sending him nude pics, or trying to keep him on a string in a manipulative game of sexual flirtation…
Incidentally, I also encouraged Schwyzer to disconnect his internet access days ago, when he and I first resumed contact.
Despite the fact that that he‘d ignored my warnings about Christina a year ago, I have offered Hugo my best advice: discontinue contact with her.
In other words, Hugo recognizes Christina as an obstacle to his recovery.
And what about my prediction that she would begin using their recent re-acquaintance against him?
Well, here’s what Christina tweeted an hour later (using the account she shares with corrupt Rhode Island escort Gina “Bella” Robinson ):
“I have over 50 emails from HS since yesterday… He’s obviously very sick though and not on a path to recovery anytime soon…. Time for me to move on….”
So much for empathic support.
After I responded on Twitter — mentioning the nude pics and the invitation for him to join her in Las Vegas — Christina deleted the tweet mentioning her email exchanges with Schwyzer. LOL
Be well, Hugo and I hope you’re not online reading this.
Good night, Christina. Don’t forget to turn out the lights.