Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal (2024) s01e03 Episode Script

Live in truth

Hey, guys, as you may have seen,
my name has been associated
with an Ashley Madison account.
[disturbing music plays]
This was brought to my wife's attention.
She has forgiven me
for this, uh, mistake that I made.
I never had an affair with anybody,
ever, while I've been married with Nia.
So dumb, man.
[producer] Was that true,
what you said in the video?
No, what I said in the video was mostly
Pretty much all lies.
It was just like, "Protect yourself, man."
This is what the atonement's all about,
forgiveness and second chances.
And I just wanna add too, guys,
I have forgiven Sam,
and I stand behind him.
This is in our past.
It's unfortunate
that it's being dug up right now,
but our marriage is worth fighting for,
and it always will be.
Ah, I'm I'm just like a little shocked
after watching it, to be honest.
I'm like, "Whoa."
Took me back for a minute.
[exhales sharply]
I look at me in that video,
and I see a naive, hopeful
kind of blinded girl.
It's really strange, like, knowing
that hours later
I'm gonna think totally opposite.
[theme music plays]
[rhythmic music plays]
Watch out, cheaters, or anybody
who used the website Ashley Madison.
[woman] Hackers released thousands
of e-mail addresses
and very private information
on the dark web for everybody to see.
This is a horrendous
and horrific invasion of privacy,
and it's very dangerous.
[Amit] This was a difficult time
to navigate.
We had the exec team, who were so swamped
that they didn't really have time
to answer our questions.
[Evan] We still didn't know
who was responsible.
The theories were all over the place.
Maybe it was a competitor.
Maybe it was a a jilted wife.
Cheating husband.
A disgruntled employee.
To be honest,
I also thought it could be an anti-Semite
because of some of the threats
Noel had received.
[man] The Impact Team,
they sound like people who've been
judging people for a long time,
and in this country and in most countries,
they tend to be fundamentalists.
Theories are as wild as they come.
The media interest was crazy
around the world.
We've all heard
of that naughty website Ashley Madison.
- Ashley Madison.
- [woman] Ashley Madison.
[speaking Spanish]
The dating website that caters to people
looking for extramarital affairs.
[André] Press talking
about Ashley Madison,
that was a lot of publicity
for the company.
My thinking was,
maybe this was a publicity stunt.
[troubling music plays]
Okay, is the company responsible for this?
And even Noel was, for me, a suspect.
Noel, he just seemed
like he might have had
many secrets.
[intriguing music plays]
[Amit] When we were in the middle
of all this frenzy,
Noel stopped showing up to the office.
It felt unnerving
that the very head of the company
is not around
to sort of steer the ship
through this crisis.
[Evan] People were freaking out.
At that point,
I thought it couldn't get any worse.
And then the shit really hit the fan.
[intense orchestral music plays]
Now the Ashley Madison hack,
well, getting worse.
Hackers releasing yet another data dump,
this one larger than the last.
Hackers releasing
a second mountain of data
just days after posting
tens of millions of e-mail addresses.
[Joseph] The Impact Team struck again,
and they dumped
an even larger cache of files.
Close to 20 gigabytes of data.
Intellectual property, trade secrets.
[Joseph] Internal documents, files,
spreadsheets, floor plans.
Everything a company
does not want about itself
broadcast for anybody
on the Internet to download.
[reporter 1] The second wave appears
to include a massive amount of e-mails
from CEO Noel Biderman.
[Claire] Noel's entire personal
and work e-mail inboxes
for years going back were dumped online.
As a journalist, my first thought is,
"Let me get my hands on them.
I wanna look through them."
[Evan] It was his whole e-mail account.
I think he knew at that point
how dangerous it would be
if they were released.
This is, ya know, some real serious
personal information.
[reporter 2] This has the potential
to be one of the messiest
and most legally troublesome
data dumps in history.
We're being greeted by fans
right away, guys.
After we posted the forgiven video,
it was the next day,
we woke up and pretended
like nothing ever happened.
This is Vlogger Fair, guys.
This is what it looks like.
[Nia] So we went to Vlogger Fair
on the second day,
and a lot of the embarrassment
had washed away from me.
He's been so sweet to me
the last few days.
It felt like there was an understanding
that a man could be curious, you know?
Yeah, you did somethin' dumb,
and you're gonna say sorry.
[audience cheering]
I kinda had this feeling inside like,
"It is all going to be okay."
I was really sure
that he really didn't cheat on me
or have an affair.
- Yeah.
- Oh my gosh, I'm so excited.
[intriguing music plays]
We left Vlogger Fair.
[indicator tone]
I remember our family text-message thread
was kinda goin' off.
I wasn't keeping up with it very well.
But I did notice a text
from one of the brothers saying,
"Sammy, you have to be fully honest."
[Sam] And my wife is like,
"What is he talking about?"
I'm like, "He's just tryin' to start crap.
Just ignore it."
"No idea what he's talking about."
[anxious piano music plays]
I was thinking.
I was sittin' next to this woman
that I loved so much,
and I was still having to lie to her.
I was keeping a lot of secrets from Nia.
The secrets I were keeping from her
went a lot deeper than Ashley Madison,
and a lot further back.
My intention was to go to my grave
with this and not tell her.
Again, she asked me,
"What is your brother talkin' about?"
I remember that really frustrating me.
I was just like, "Come on!"
[Sam] I was in a panic.
Everything was toppling on top of me.
I said, "I'm gonna pull over
for a minute."
[Nia] Sam got out of the car.
I didn't know what was going on.
[Sam] I called my pastor,
who's also a good friend of mine.
I answer, and then Sam is letting me know
that something terrible has happened.
Hearing his shame and embarrassment,
he knows that his life
is about to explode.
I'm starting to realize a little bit
that I gotta tell Nia something else,
and I desperately don't want to,
and I want to hear my pastor
tell me that I don't have to
and that we can keep it between us.
I said, "This is what living in dishonesty
has brought you."
Now you need to live in truth.
I was like, "Oh man."
That was the, uh, the tipping point.
I knew that in order to stop lying
I had to confess the truth of the past.
[Nia] Eventually Sam got back in the car.
And he was like,
"I have a lot more to tell you."
"And it's not good."
[reporter] Ashley Madison
is scrambling to deal with
the release of more confidential material.
[reporter 2] The hackers also releasing
the contents of Biderman's own e-mails.
[woman] I got really excited when I heard
they were gonna expose his e-mails.
Oh my gosh, I could not wait to see
the stuff that they were gonna release.
[surf-rock music plays]
I used to be a former adult entertainer.
Oh my.
My pistachio for the world to see.
- [producer] Pistachio?
- Pistachio. [giggles]
You're welcome.
You won't be able to forget it.
Here comes Michelle McGee, a tattoo model
who has sold a story to In Touch magazine.
People generally know me from the scandal
with Jesse James and Sandra Bullock.
[anchor] Five weeks of nonstop sex
[Michelle] I had an affair
with Jesse James.
It was all over the media.
Ashley Madison reached out.
They thought we could do
some cross-promotional work.
They were gonna put me out there
as, ya know, the mistress, the villain,
the cheater that breaks up marriages.
[elevator dings]
The first time I met Noel,
he came in with his family,
and he had the impression
of being very clean-cut,
very straight, very conservative.
But when the family left,
the real Noel kinda came out.
I don't really think he's a good person.
I think Noel has many faces,
and he knew what was gonna be released
in his e-mails,
what he was trying to hide from people.
He must have been shitting himself.
Thinking, "If they start digging,
they'll find the real Noel."
[jazzy music plays]
[Claire] When I downloaded the e-mails
and was about to look through them,
it was exciting.
Sort of this treasure trove
of information.
But it also felt
It felt a little bit wrong.
There is really personal stuff
in those e-mails
about Noel and his life and his family.
[woman] You don't cheat?
No. Ironically, one of the major benefits
of running this business is
if anyone should know what it takes to be
in a successful relationship, it's me.
It's about communication.
I talk about this topic 24/7.
My wife and I are honest with one another
about what we need in our relationship.
Noel would put himself out there
as a married man
who claims to have never been cheating
on his wife.
The point is that it's a business,
and it's really separate from our life.
That's not the way you live your life?
Not at all.
[woman laughs]
Noel, the king of infidelity,
who claims to not cheat on his wife,
absolute catnip for producers,
and media just ate it up.
- Are you married?
- I am happily married.
I guess people find it ironic
that I am in a monogamous marriage.
[audience applause]
[Claire] But evidence came out in
the e-mails fairly quickly that actually
Noel had been having affairs
with multiple women
um, over a period of years.
[Evan] It was a lot. A lot, lot.
I think a lot of people
felt it was ironic.
The king of infidelity is cheating.
Not not a shock, but it went further.
From Noel.
It goes to this page, Victoria's Escort.
That's nice.
He was frequently contacting
escort agencies and this and that.
[Claire] From Emma S.
"Tell me what you're looking for
in a sugar baby."
E-mail chain with Santiago Escorts.
Noel [reads]
It's upsetting to read.
Uh, it's upsetting to imagine his wife
finding out about that in the media.
- What if your husband cheated on you?
- I'd be devastated.
Truth be told, I would be devastated.
[pleasant harp music plays]
[Evan] Noel had convinced her
to go on billboards around North America.
Taking her on The View,
saying, "Well, we have a great marriage,
and we don't cheat."
And, uh, and it was all false.
And I just felt devastated for her
and his kids.
[rhythmic foreboding music plays]
[Joseph] With this second dump,
the hackers post this message saying,
"Noel, you can admit this is real now."
Taunting and intimidating him.
Seeing that message
showed me just how intimately linked
these hackers somehow were to this target.
They're not just targeting the company,
they're targeting the CEO.
[André] Noel was, for me, a suspect
until they released his e-mails.
Because there was no point for him
to release his own personal e-mails.
So that was the end of that.
[Evan] They actually had
a personal vendetta against Noel.
They knew
that it would fuck Noel up big-time.
And they had a hate on for him,
and they wanted him to suffer,
and he did suffer.
[suspenseful music plays]
[Sam] I'm driving in the car.
You know, Nia beside me.
I don't wanna look at Nia.
I gotta tell Nia more than what she knows,
and I was trying so hard
to find the strength.
He was kind of nervous.
I could see this about him.
My vision was really blurry,
tryin' to s see the road.
It just started coming out, man,
all the all the betrayals
from the very beginning.
Massage parlors, strip clubs,
those were easy access to that
To that pleasure that I wanted more of.
And I thought having that extra sex
outside of marriage would be exciting.
[Nia] There was just this shock.
He just proceeded for the next,
I mean, few hours
to tell me
years of betrayals
that he had acted out in our marriage.
It was it was like hell.
[Sam] I was flirting with various people
that were kind of acquaintances to us.
Two emotional relationships that I had.
I was cheating on my wife
with these people.
[Nia] The emotional betrayals,
those were really hard on me
because love is so important to me.
I did come on to a couple of her friends
who didn't reciprocate.
[Nia] He had pursued somebody
that was special to me,
and she just kind of
cut herself out of my life.
I lost this very close friend
because of you.
Um, it was a lot to face in a moment.
I started reeling inside.
I felt like
literally my world was, like, crumbling.
[Sam] She's pregnant.
[Nia] Every single aspect of my life
up into this point felt like a lie.
- [Sam] Thank you, sweetie. I love you.
- I know.
Everything that we have dreamed about.
[both laugh]
All of these very special
Our wedding day.
The day we met.
These moments that felt like
- Love you.
- I love you too.
[Nia]time stood still for us.
Suddenly it was just
[anxious music plays]
[André] After the Impact
released the internal e-mails
from Noel and the company,
then at that point
our internal investigation stopped.
So from the company's perspective,
our services was not required anymore.
I was quite disappointed
that we didn't really get anywhere
with nailing down a potential suspect.
So we have a limited set of options
to work with there.
So we need the police.
[Bryce] The cyber team from Europe,
their focus was the damage control
more than anything.
The police investigation
was a criminal investigation
because of the extortion that came along.
And as a result
of the data bein' released,
people were takin' their lives.
So the Toronto Police Service
took the decision
to have a press conference.
I am well aware
that the Impact Team hackers
will be takin' an interest
in this media conference.
Therefore, I'm going to direct
these comments to them.
Team Impact,
I want to make it very clear to you.
Your actions are illegal
and we will not be tolerated.
This is your wake-up call.
Got a phone call that morning
from Ashley Madison.
They offered a half a million dollars
for a re a reward.
[intense rhythmic music plays]
Today, I can confirm that Avid Life Media
is offering a $500,000 reward
to anyone providing information
that leads the identification, arrest,
and prosecution of the person or persons
responsible for the leak
of the Ashley Madison database.
When you look at most police rewards
or rewards that come out,
ya know, they're like 25,000, 50,000.
But when you drop
half a million dollars on the table,
that speaks volumes.
Money always talks.
[mysterious music plays]
[Joseph] Nothing was known
about the Impact Team.
I specialize in speaking
to cybercriminals and hackers,
and I've never heard of these guys before.
I don't think any journalists have.
I was determined
to try to get ahold of them.
People's lives were literally at risk now.
I wanted to pull back the mask
to understand why they're doing this.
There are few ways
to get a hacker to speak to you.
You don't just send them a normal e-mail.
You don't ask them for a phone number
to call them on a normal cell phone.
They won't do that.
These are people who are wanted by,
sometimes, federal law enforcement
from multiple different countries.
I'm on the dark web,
and I'd come across somebody
who was speaking in quite specific detail
about the hack and about the Impact Team.
So I reach out to them.
Sure enough, they agree
to pass over a message to the Impact Team.
[message tone]
There was every chance they were
just gonna tell me to fuck off.
There was such a firestorm
around this hack.
Yet nobody had spoken to the Impact Team.
If I could get them to talk to me,
it would be huge.
[message tone]
I get an e-mail.
It looks like it's from the Impact Team.
I can't quite believe that this is them.
[reads messages]
I think it was clear from the answers
that they're sticking to their guns.
"The site is misleading users,
we're trying to expose that."
[anxious violin music plays]
[mouse clicks]
So I started going through
the second data dump,
looking at Noel's e-mails,
corporate records.
I wanted to find out
if the Impact Team's claims about fraud
was actually true or not.
It became clear
security seemed like an afterthought.
Discussions that had
a lot more effort put into them
were more about branding, about PR,
about spin.
[Evan] We had all kinds of medals
on our website
which gave the impression
that, like, we were rock-solid, airtight.
[Claire] There is a little
gold medallion that said
"trusted security award."
Turned out to have been totally made up.
Somebody at the site must have made it
using Photoshop or something like that.
[Evan] The medals, that's embarrassing.
It's, uh
It's complete misrepresentation.
It just shows
how sloppy Ashley Madison was.
[man] This hacking group says
those customers who paid the fee
to have their information deleted
were lied to,
and the company
had secretly retained records,
including their credit-card information.
[Joseph] Ashley Madison advertised
this extra paid-for feature
where if you gave the company more money,
they promised
to completely wipe your account.
There would be no evidence
you ever used Ashley Madison.
[Evan] We would charge 20 bucks
to customers
to permanently delete any record of them
ever being members of Ashley Madison.
I thought the paid delete,
in the beginning, was a great idea.
Well, that brought in a lot of money.
Like a couple million dollars
in a very short period of time.
What I didn't know was that
we were charging, but we weren't doing it.
There was no paid delete.
Nothing was getting deleted.
[jazzy music plays]
[Joseph] Full delete not working
as advertised.
Yes, malicious and sketchy.
[Evan] Do I wish I had asked
more questions?
But it wouldn't even
cross my mind to think,
"Oh, are you actually deleting it?"
[Joseph] If you promise users
that you delete their information,
you should absolutely do that.
If you charge more money
to then delete that information as well,
obviously you should be doing that
because it's a paid service.
Ashley Madison were ripping off customers,
and so I just kept digging.
And I started to realize
a lot more was gonna come out.
[dance music plays]
[Michelle] After Ashley Madison,
my life just went on.
I was just a stripper
working in the nightclubs and stuff.
One night I was working at the strip club,
and this guy just pops in with flowers,
and he comes up to talk to me.
He was looking at me like he knew me,
like I'm supposed to know him,
and I didn't know who he was.
I just thought this guy was a fan,
and he figured out where I worked,
and he came in there to meet me.
So the second time it happened,
it was, like, maybe a few weeks later.
Okay, this is the second guy
that's come up to me.
And he was like he was my boyfriend,
like he was just popping in at work
to see me.
Like, what is going on?
Then I asked the guy,
I'm like, "Hey, can you remind me
how I know you?"
"Do I know you from the club? How?"
He's like, "Well, we talk on the website."
"What are you talking about?"
He's like, "Ashley Madison."
I just looked at him,
I'm like, "I'm not on the website."
"I I don't talk to anybody on there
and that's not me."
And just the look of just, like
It just washed over him,
like he was scammed.
[anxious violin music plays]
"That's really not you I'm talking to."
I'm like, "I swear to you, it's not me."
Then a couple weeks later
the third guy came in.
It was just like,
"I'm not on Ashley Madison."
"That was not me you're talking to,
I am so sorry," and it just all clicks.
Something that was really
kind of driven in hard
was that I created a profile
on Ashley Madison.
Didn't think anything of it at the time.
I put my picture on there,
it's from my e-mail address.
These guys have not only
seen my profile on Ashley Madison,
but actually think they're talking to me.
There's somebody pretending they're me
on that website.
Is it mostly men looking
to have an affair, or do women as well?
Absolutely not.
That's why it's called Ashley Madison.
That's why our marketing
is geared towards a lot of women,
because you're seeing a change.
You're seeing a changing tide.
Women are behaving more and more like men.
[Claire] The company was always saying,
"We have so many women on our site,
our ratio of women to men is amazing."
[Noel] Infidelity's on the rise
for females,
but they don't equal men.
It's still about 40% female,
60% male in most regions.
[intriguing music plays]
[Claire] Did we question
how many women were on the site?
I think probably
we all could've questioned a bit more
whether some of these claims
were too good to be true.
[woman] A lot of men may have been exposed
at the very least as wannabe cheaters
as a result of the Ashley Madison hack.
What about the women?
It turns out
that Ashley Madison's members,
as many people suspected,
were not just overwhelmingly male,
but the women in many cases
may simply have not existed.
[Claire] One of the most compelling
pieces of evidence
that these were fake profiles
is that they were all
coming from the same IP address,
from the Ashley Madison office.
Either tens of thousands of women
were coming to the Ashley Madison office
to look for men to find affairs with,
or somebody in the office
was creating these fake profiles.
We knew there were
fake profiles on the site.
It wasn't a secret to us.
We were given profiles that were empty,
with photos.
We just had to finish
filling out their profile content.
We kinda had a sense of what
people were looking for and what was
um, you know, sexually attractive to men.
[pictures click]
[Claire] Who's out there
looking at these women?
Men, right? [laughs]
"I wanna go to this site
that's full of all these women
who are eagerly waiting
for a guy like me to have an affair with."
"Let me bust out my credit card"
[laughs] "and give you all my money."
[picture clicks]
[Noel] We are 100% committed
to an organic community.
There is no communication, zero,
you'll ever have on Ashley Madison
with another member,
that isn't anything other than organic,
and by "organic," we mean true and real.
Hundred percent legitimate.
There's a big gap
between what Noel would say
[picture clicks]
and, ya know, the things
that the site actually did in practice.
[man] Gizmodo's Annalee Newitz dug deeper,
looking at who the men
were actually meeting online.
I think most of them were probably
either talking to Ashley Madison employees
or just interacting
with automated bots on the site
that were sending them automatic mail.
[Cathy reads]
"I'm bored at work.
Up for some sexy chat? XO."
The robots, the bots,
we knew they were there.
They were there
to engage with our male profiles.
[Joseph] When the second data dump
came out,
it became clear that Ashley Madison
was using fake profiles
to actually communicate with its users.
When some users would message
who they thought was a human,
they were actually speaking to bots.
[Evan] There's a difference
between bots and fake profiles.
A bot is also a fake profile,
but it's hooked up
to some artificial intelligence,
and the bot would send the first e-mail.
And I was told that is basically
because most of the men
that joined the site
are reluctant and shy,
but they will reply to to a message.
The members don't know
that this bot is is not a real person
or that this bot is busy sending
10,000 messages that day,
and then, ya know, getting 10,000 replies.
[Joseph] Men had to pay money
to then read these messages
and engage with these accounts.
I mean, that shows predatory behavior
from Ashley Madison.
Not only are you getting people to sign up
and misleading them,
you're then charging them
for the privilege of being lied to.
[Claire] The bot profile lines
read like a male fantasy
of how you would want
the women on the site to talk to you.
Women were the product,
but mostly the fantasy
of the idea of women was the product.
An average male user of Ashley Madison
was talking into the void
[giggles]to these fake bots,
racking up hundreds of dollars worth
of credit-card bills
and risking his marriage to do it.
It paints a pretty sad picture.
[rhythmic singing plays]
[Evan] I think during that period of time
after the second release
of hacked information,
it was exhausting.
I wanted to get into bed
and pull the sheets over my head,
and put on The Golden Girls.
[types at computer]
And I remember thinking,
"What else is Am I gonna find out?"
[Cathy] There was a general meeting
for the whole company.
Someone from the board had come in
to let us know that
there was gonna be replacements.
And there was.
[Evan] The board said
Noel would no longer be coming back.
Well, I was surprised,
'cause I didn't know.
And that was it. It was quick.
The Impact Team got what they wanted.
They released all the information.
Cost millions.
They cut off Ashley Madison at the knees.
And then you've got
the scumbag king of infidelity,
'cause that's what he became,
CEO of Ashley Madison
who's completely disgraced.
[Cathy] He was blamed for everything.
I kind of felt for him
because he took the fall.
I think that he felt that day
that he had hit rock bottom.
Noel leaving,
this is completely catastrophic.
At that point, we didn't know
if Ashley Madison would survive.
[Evan] Nobody else knows this business
better than him.
Shit, that guy built this company.
We're fucked.
We mutually decided that Sam would stay
somewhere else for a period of time.
We just said, "For now."
[rhythmic music plays]
I needed space.
I just couldn't be
in the same room with him.
That was hard,
to to leave my kids
and to think that
that may be my new way of life.
We had to take our daughter
to her first day of kindergarten,
and we're both there
taking pictures separately,
and being there and seeing
what their lives will look like
completely without me.
And that was really hard.
[kids laughing]
It was all so painful to watch.
Just seeing the destruction
of what I'd I'd chosen to do.
[Nia] I told him he's just like every man
that I was trying to avoid.
Like, what was the point
of trying to find a Christian man?
Something that I've had to wrestle with
was just that I'm not enough for him.
This relationship,
none of it has ever been enough. Like
And I I worked so hard
to be what I thought he wanted.
[gentle piano music plays]
[Sam] I wasn't gonna give up.
I was gonna do whatever it took,
and fight tooth and nail
for this marriage.
I expressed my remorse
and my regret day after day.
Every single day
confessing how much I I love her.
I wanted it to work so badly.
In order to really even take
one tiny, mini baby step forward,
it would require us to
to really sit down
and have some really hard,
deep conversations
to find out what was real
and what was not real.
But I didn't really wanna fix it.
I did not want to reconcile.
At that point, I felt like it was over.
[anxious rhythmic music plays]
[Bryce] With the press conference,
I thought we were gonna get a lot of calls
and we didn't.
I was totally surprised.
Half a million dollars
in someone's pocket would be very nice,
but there was nothing, not even a bite.
Not even a Crime Stoppers tip about it
or nothing.
The hackers, well,
they call themselves the Impact Team.
I personally think that, uh,
"team" was an exaggeration.
That was probably one person.
Uh, and the reason being for that,
'cause when there was the $500,000 reward.
Usually when you have a team,
somebody breaks from the team,
and the money becomes more important.
[Joseph] Haven't heard anything
about Impact Team before or since.
It's incredibly unusual
for a hacking group to materialize,
do one job, and then disappear.
I can't think of another case
where that happened.
The Impact Team was just a creation
for this communication.
I think it was never
a real team behind that.
There were a lot of clues that
were leading us to believe
that it was an insider.
[Claire] The Impact Team named a number
of, ya know, high-ranking executives
in some of the communications
they put out.
Ya know, why would they know
those people's names
unless they had some
sort of personal or work connection?
I don't think anybody
ever got particularly close
to figuring out who did it.
[Bryce] The investigation, you know
Eventually the task force was shut down
because there's no new leads.
There was nothin'.
No evidence or any information
received by any law-enforcement group
who was involved
in the Ashley Madison hack.
Nobody has identified
anyone from the Impact Team.
[Claire] Speculating about
who might've done it
is part of the fun of this story.
It's a giant whodunit.
Everyone on the planet
had a motive to take Ashley Madison down.
[foreboding music plays]
[woman] As of this morning
at least eight people
in the US are suing the site,
saying Ashley Madison
failed to take, quote,
"Reasonable steps
to protect the security of its users."
They actually didn't follow through
on what their promises were,
and I'm glad that hopefully some people
will get some justice in this case.
[Joseph] After the hack,
disgruntled users of the site
did file a class-action lawsuit.
Ashley Madison
had to pay users $11 million.
That doesn't remove their data
from the Internet.
[anxious rhythmic music plays]
People killed themselves
over this data breach.
I absolutely think the Impact
is at least partly to blame
for the suicide of anybody
who was in that dump.
The Impact Team took a decision
to release that information,
and they are responsible
for all of the consequences
that come from that,
as well as Ashley Madison.
[Claire] Everyone was saying
this company is done.
Why would anyone
ever sign up for the site again?
Its reputation has been, ya know, slammed
on every country around the world.
I did not see
how it could come back from this.
[pleasant guitar music plays]
[Sam] Eventually, Nia agreed
to do marital counseling with me.
So we sit down
with my pastor and his wife.
I really wanted to, like, hear somebody,
like, lay into him,
and someone to, like, be on my side.
[Bo] It was very difficult
and very emotional,
and she was very honest
in those early, uh, meetings.
She said, "I don't know what will happen,
if this is repairable."
I think it was very good for him
to feel the weight of what he had done
and feeling the true threat
of losing everything he loved most.
He was able to begin really dealing
with the depths that he had gone to,
and the dark places that he had traveled.
[Sam] I started to really think
about selfish decisions I made.
Lookin' back,
I realized it was all about me.
I'm not thinkin' about Nia.
That was not how I was gonna live anymore.
I was just hoping she would see
that this wasn't just a confessional,
that this was a a repentance.
It was a turnaround,
it was a complete change.
[Nia] Seeing all the responsibility
Sam took for everything he had done,
the hours of of counseling
and conversation that he sat through,
no matter how mad I was
at what he had done,
I could still see this shift
that happened in him.
Yes, the betrayals were out,
but so was the real Sam.
Like, "This is me and all my flaws too."
It's heartbreaking
to love someone so much,
to the point where, like, you don't know
if it's good for you anymore or not,
and you have
I had to sit down and find out.
[gentle piano music plays]
You look good.
Trust me, babe, we'll get there.
- That's good.
- Can see it.
- That's good.
- Yeah.
[Sam] Nia, she decided
she would give me a second chance.
Falling deeply in love is beautiful.
But I've learned continuing
to be deeply in love takes work.
There's a lot of things
I really do regret,
but I don't regret, you know, the hack.
It had to happen for where we're at today.
What Sam did and what we walked through
has left a mark.
It's left a permanent mark,
but I'm thankful for it.
It's kind of like a starting point for us
on how we'll live
the rest of our marriage.
[cheerful music plays]
[Marc] I think
cheating is a natural human way
to just find excitement
or find somethin' else
to tolerate the life
you have given yourself
without destroying your foundation.
It's just a shame that the couples
can't talk to each other about it.
[Michelle] I believe you should be honest
with your partner
and obviously be upfront.
If two people wanna have an open marriage
and both want
to go outside of marriage for something,
more power to 'em.
But when one person's going
behind the other person's back,
sneaking and going on dating apps,
that's definitely gonna cause a problem
in the relationship.
[Christi] What we wanna do
in this culture today,
is somebody makes one mistake
or says one thing,
and we wanna write them off.
The people who were poring over that list
in the Ashley Madison leak,
the witch hunt,
there's just a self-righteousness in that.
But the truth is
we all have a list that we're on
that is something that we're not proud of,
that is our secret.
[dark singing music plays]
People wanna know what's going on
in everyone else's sex life. [laughs]
I think it's that simple.
You wanna know
if your neighbor's having an affair,
you wanna know if your favorite celebrity
is having an affair,
or you wanna know
what politicians are doing in the bedroom.
This whole story is so incredible.
If somebody wrote it as a fictional novel,
you'd say it's too incredible to believe.
[dark singing music crescendoes]
[producer] How do you guys feel
about the fact
that Ashley Madison
is actually still going?
Oh it is still going?
I didn't realize that.
I didn't realize
Ashley Madison was still going.
It's an evil on a whole different level,
in my opinion.
[rhythmic music plays]
[Evan] The hack was 2015.
I left in 2017.
It just became a corporate place to work.
It was not the same and very boring.
It doesn't surprise me
that it's still around today.
For me, I don't judge.
I understand that people think,
"I only have one life to live,
and I'm happy with my wife,
but I also wanna fuck that 23-year-old."
I get it.
Sometimes I see some hotties
and I'd be like, "That would be fun."
But I think your sex is just better
if it's built on something
that means something.
Ashley Madison taught me
that there will always
be people who cheat.
I always say that
as long as men have penises,
Ashley Madison will always be in business.
[upbeat music plays]
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