Blogger charged after Wiener bathroom pic


A local activist and blogger is due in San Francisco court Wednesday morning in connection with a photo he snapped and posted to the Internet of Supervisor Scott Weiner in a City Hall bathroom.

A warrant for Michael Petrelis’ arrest was issued by District Attorney George Gascon last week, charging Petrelis with violating privacy laws prohibiting cameras or recording in reasonably private locations. Petrelis voluntarily turned himself to deputies to face the charges.

Petrelis posted the picture of Wiener holding his toothbrush in October along with an account of the chance second-floor encounter:

“Scott Wiener was standing at the urinal and had just started to tinkle as I entered and the camera took 4-6 seconds to focus, enough time for him to put away his wiener and zipper up.”

As co-existing forces in the gay political community, Petrelis has been known to disagree with Wiener — publicly and loudly — on contentious issues including the nudity ban to the Castro Street flag.

A post at The New Civil Rights Movement describes an incident at a 2011 City ceremony honoring heroes of the Sept. 11 attacks. In front of Ed Lee and other city leaders, Petrelis “intercepted a microphone” before Wiener was introduced to rail on his “dearth of leadership” and “hypocrisy.”

Just about nobody would appreciate having their picture taken in a public bathroom. Unsurprisingly, as a city supervisor, Wiener pursued the matter with the sheriff, resulting in the charges from the District Attorney.

Gascon told reporters at an unrelated event Tuesday that his intent with the charges was to send a message:

“It is OK for robust political engagement, it’s OK to disagree … it is not ok to invade people’s privacy in a way that occurred in this particular case.”

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as associate professor at San Francisco State University.

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