San Francisco Man Faces Fallout From 'Wife Swap'

By: Evelyn Nieves, Associated Press Email
By: Evelyn Nieves, Associated Press Email

SAN FRANCISCO AP) - It's safe to say Stephen Fowler probably
wishes he never appeared on "Wife Swap."

Fowler's stint on the ABC weekly reality show last month, in
which he called a rural Missouri woman spending two weeks in his
San Francisco home stupid and simple, has made him famous in the
worst way.

His disdainful performance has inspired a Web site,
StephenFowlerSucks.com, a Facebook group, "I Can not Stand Stephen
Fowler from 'Wife Swap,"' and public condemnation by his own wife,
who on her blog urged him to get professional help.

What has generated such wrath is Fowler's condescending
treatment of Gayla Long, a mother of four from rural Missouri whose
family likes fast food and paintball. In wince-producing remarks,
Fowler, who is British, wrote off middle America with such
pronouncements as "Your two languages seem to be bad English and
redneck."

Three weeks later, Fowler's "Wife Swap" antics are still a
YouTube sensation, with at least 10 postings from the show's Jan.
30 episode displayed on the Web site, most with headings such as
"ridiculous elitist" and "elitists gone wild."

Last week, Yahoo posted a clip of the show on its site under the
heading "Husbands Behaving Badly." Each new posting or story
generates thousands of views and hundreds of galled comments.

Fowler, an environmental entrepreneur who develops biofuels,
apologized in a statement posted on his wife's blog for behaving
"like a complete jerk" and said he has resigned from the boards
of two nonprofit corporations for reflecting badly on the
organizations.

Some news outlets have reported that Fowler says he has received
death threats. Neither Fowler nor his wife, Renee Stephens, could
not be reached to confirm the reports.

"Wife Swap" is a social experiment of sorts in which wives
from two very different families exchange lives for two weeks to
experience what it is like to live another woman's life.

Stephens, a self-described life coach and "destination coach"
(who says her goal is "to eradicate weight struggles from the
planet") joined Long's husband, Alan, the mayor of a town of 55
residents in Missouri.

Fowler, wearing T-shirts that say "Go Solar," "Tree Hugger"
and "Sustainability," hosted Gayla Long with his young son and
daughter. At one point, as Long read a list of rules for the Fowler
family, Fowler told her, "I didn't know you could read." When
Long challenged Fowler for acting like he was better than her, he
responded: "I probably make more in a week than you make in a
year."

At the end of the visit, he said, "God, that woman is the most
stupid woman I've ever met in my life."

Friends quoted anonymously in the San Francisco Chronicle said
Fowler told them he was instructed to ham it up by "Wife Swap's"
producers. His performance evoked a stereotype of the San Francisco
elitist liberal - the tree-hugging do-gooder who acts morally
superior while putting down other people.

The Fowlers, who live in a large Victorian house in the affluent
enclave of Noe Valley, work from home, but a neighbor said he had
not seen them in a few days.

The backlash against Fowler appears to have hit his wife as
well. On Friday, her blog, on personallifemedia.com, was defaced by
a strip of bacon - an apparent reference to her boast on "Wife
Swap" that her family only eats the finest organic, healthy food
money can buy.


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