Backlash follows SF's 'Wife Swap' husband

February 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A San Francisco man's appearance on the ABC reality show "Wife Swap" is creating an angry backlash. He's being called the worst husband in the world and he's received threats. There's even a flier calling him a disgrace.

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On the TV show "Wife Swap," two women switch places and live with the other's husband and children for two weeks. The couples are usually very different and the episode with Stephen Fowler was the perfect illustration of that.

But instead of trying to learn from his visitor from Missouri, Fowler insults her over and over again, calling her uneducated, overweight, and a redneck.

People living in his Noe Valley neighborhood say it hasn't been the same since he appeared on the show two weeks ago.

"For the first 10 or 11 days, there was 24-hour security," said a resident.

Residents say people drive by and stare and someone egged his house. Now there's a flier with his picture, email addresses, phone numbers, and home address. One neighbor who received the flier says this goes too far.

"However he may have acted, people can have an opinion about that, but then to encourage people to harass the guy that just doesn't seem right to me," said Frank Florine, from San Francisco.

The backlash is also intense online. There's a Web site called where he is called elitist, snobbish, and many other names.

Stephen Fowler did talk to ABC7 off camera and said he would like to do an on camera interview, but he can't due to his contract with ABC and with the production company. He did say he's deeply sorry and issued an apology online.

He writes: "Clearly I behaved like a complete jerk and I am deeply sorry for all the offense I have caused. I'm not going to hide behind excuses. I showed an extraordinary level of stupidity and arrogance."

He also resigned from the two non-profit boards he served on, but so far it hasn't been enough to silence the criticism.

His comments, both written and in video clips, will live on in the giant world of the Internet.

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