When my best friends threw me a bachelorette party in Las Vegas in late May, I made something clear: I didn’t want any penis hats or glasses with penis-shaped noses protruding out.

They honored my wishes and opted for the understated elegance of a “Pin the Penis on the Naked-But-for-Brown-Socks Man” game, and several boxes of penis-shaped candy. True friends.

Sara Libby on News

I feel compelled to share this mildly raunchy and utterly unremarkable detail about a weekend I took away from work in light of a 10 News story on the mayor’s press secretary, Lena Lewis, that said Lewis was “under scrutiny” for a photo obtained of her in Vegas, in which she’s sipping from a penis-shaped straw.

Like Lewis, I have a cache of similar photos. I can’t speak for her, but I’d be outraged if a news outlet published those photos and suggested that I had something to be ashamed of.

I don’t, Lewis doesn’t, and that’s why I’ll show you one of my own photos myself.

vegas photo

I’m much more ashamed of my pathetic attempt to get the paper penis in the right area than I am of having played the game to begin with.

The 10 News story cites a lone finger-wagging voice, political consultant John Dadian, to raise questions about the photo.

“She is somebody who is the public face for the mayor,” said Dadian. “You quite honestly have to have a higher standard. She should know better.”

Let’s ignore the fact that Lewis didn’t choose for this photo to be made public.

When Dadian says Lewis “should know better” – he means she shouldn’t have been in Vegas at all, shouldn’t go out and have fun in a capacity wholly unrelated to her job, shouldn’t be anything but quiet and chaste or behave in a way that might make men who don’t know her uncomfortable in the off chance her private photos surface online.

This was echoed by at least one local Republican Party official, who said the photo “shows a lack of character and good judgment.”

All the lack of news value in the world doesn’t seem to matter when there’s some good old-fashioned slut-shaming to cheer on.

Unsurprisingly, Republican women weren’t as enthusiastic about chiding Lewis. GOP consultant Jen Jacobs posted a series of scathing tweets about the story.

Then there’s the suggestion that Lewis was somehow neglecting her duties as a city staffer by going out of town.

This is patently absurd. Not only does Lewis’ trip seem to have been on a weekend, but Filner has never let anyone speak on his behalf, least of all Lewis. Filner was MIA from City Hall, and left only his lawyers and Chief of Staff Lee Burdick to answer questions about him. Lewis’ absence meant nothing.

Several of our reporters have been in and out of the office all month on vacation, even during the height of the Filner scandal. It’s what people do in August.

And taking silly photos with your friends is what people do in Vegas.

I certainly did – and that doesn’t make me a slut, nor does it make me bad at my job. It just makes me lucky to have had a fun weekend with great friends.

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Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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