Chron columnist CW Nevius, he who has championed efforts like sit/lie, closure of a Haight-area recycling center, and a Porche-drivin’ graffiti vigilante has a new cause: the SF man who was once described as “the worst husband in America.”

About two years ago, Noe Valley resident Steve Fowler was a tremendous asshole on the ABC show Wife Swap, where, in the words of SFist, he gave “the fine, upstanding, inclusive, nonjudgemental, eco-friendly dwellers of Noe Valley a bad name,” and inspired the site “Steven Fowler Sucks.”

His crimes? For those of you unfamiliar with the show, wives are swapped, so Fowler’s wife was for two weeks replaced by the wife of a mayor of a rural Missouri town, to whom he was, says Valleywag, “phenomenally cruel,” calling her fat and uneducated, among other indignities detailed in the above ABC7 report from the time of the show.

Though at the time Fowler wrote that he was “not going to hide behind excuses,” in an apology for his behavior on the show, two years, and one neighborhood opposed-addition Fowler’s hoping to add to his newish Eureka Valley home later, Fowler is now arguing through Nevius that his behavior was all an act, saying “I was going to be Simon Cowell on steroids. The producers made it quite clear they needed confrontation. Several days into the show they complained that I wasn’t giving them anything.”

Fowler appears to believe that his dubious fame’s one reason, in the words of Curbed, his neighbors hate him, one telling SF’s Planning Commission that his plan “is a massive project that will severely impact adjacent homes by blocking out light, air and privacy.”

“His comments were indefensible,” Nevius admits, before saying “But it can’t ruin his life. C’mon people, it is time to move on.”

And Fowler certainly has moved on — after being fired from his CFO gig after swapping wives, he’s now teaching a class at USF, Nevius reports. Yes, the same USF at the center of a firestorm regarding the sale of their locally-beloved radio station.

What on earth could Fowler be teaching?, you might be asking. I certainly was! Spokesperson for my alma mater*, Anne-Marie Devine, has promised to find out for us, and when she does, I’ll certainly update. Because I am dying to know!

Update: According to an anon source, in Fall of 2010, Fowler taught a 2 unit, graduate-level course entitled ‘Special Topic: Sustainable Business’ at USF, but he doesn’t appear in their schedule at any other time. I’m still hoping Devine gets back to me with more details, but it’s possible that fat, redneck students might be spared Fowler’s attentions. Whew!

Update 4:21 PM: Devine followed up with me, confirming that Fowler did indeed lead a “Sustainable Business” course last semester, but also confirmed that he’s not a regular faculty member at USF. “We have guest lecturers from time to time” she noted. Will the reality star be returning to the institution to teach again? Sadly, she could not say.

*can you call it an alma mater if you dropped out?

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • Beth S.

    While I feel particular pressure to let things slide, because I myself am a mess, I watched that (and every) episode of Wife Swap and S. Fowler enjoyed his “act” a little too much. Sure, reality show producers encourage conflict. But this guy, THIS GUY, made national news, he was such a piece of shit. And as a result, made San Francisco look bad to the viewers of Wife Swap.
    Unforgivable!

  • Beth S.

    While I feel particular pressure to let things slide, because I myself am a mess, I watched that (and every) episode of Wife Swap and S. Fowler enjoyed his “act” a little too much. Sure, reality show producers encourage conflict. But this guy, THIS GUY, made national news, he was such a piece of shit. And as a result, made San Francisco look bad to the viewers of Wife Swap.
    Unforgivable!

  • Greg Dewar

    There’s no doubt that reality shows edit footage and encourage behavior to create “conflict” and so on, but it’s a bit late for him to be crying “it was all an act” years after the show was aired.

    Plus I agree with Beth, he enjoyed his role a bit too much and well guess what? he’s an asshole who made SF look bad. He’s lucky we all didn’t get our sustainable pitchforks and carbon credited-torches and run him out of town.

  • Greg Dewar

    There’s no doubt that reality shows edit footage and encourage behavior to create “conflict” and so on, but it’s a bit late for him to be crying “it was all an act” years after the show was aired.

    Plus I agree with Beth, he enjoyed his role a bit too much and well guess what? he’s an asshole who made SF look bad. He’s lucky we all didn’t get our sustainable pitchforks and carbon credited-torches and run him out of town.

  • Aaron Sankin

    After this article, it cannot be said that CW doesn’t use his platform to speak out in defense of the poor, the spat-upon and dispossessed. As the old proverb goes, “First they came for the Wife Swap Asshole and I said nothing because I had not swapped wives. Next they came for Snooki and I said nothing because I had never spray tanned…” And so forth.

  • Aaron Sankin

    After this article, it cannot be said that CW doesn’t use his platform to speak out in defense of the poor, the spat-upon and dispossessed. As the old proverb goes, “First they came for the Wife Swap Asshole and I said nothing because I had not swapped wives. Next they came for Snooki and I said nothing because I had never spray tanned…” And so forth.

  • netzard

    Funny thing is, I live in the Noe, and recall when Fowler made such a stink. My friends in the neighborhood had occasion to meet him socially before the show was ever broadcast, and he was described as a self-important douche. His need to clear the air so he can add some bits to his million dollar cottage seem to bear this assessment out. Weak.

  • netzard

    Funny thing is, I live in the Noe, and recall when Fowler made such a stink. My friends in the neighborhood had occasion to meet him socially before the show was ever broadcast, and he was described as a self-important douche. His need to clear the air so he can add some bits to his million dollar cottage seem to bear this assessment out. Weak.