Hulu’s new three-part documentary series The Ashley Madison Affair explores the infamous 2015 data breach that scandalised the website, its CEO Noel Biderman, and its millions of users.
If you need a reminder, Ashley Madison is a Canadian infidelity based dating website. The website was founded in 2001 and famously targeted married people with billboards that read “Life is short. Have an affair” and “Your wife is hot but so are ours.”
While it might be hard imagine anyone who would feel comfortable running such an unethical website, Canadian entrepreneur and then-CEO Noel Biderman seemed to have no problem being the public face of the website.
In fact, Biderman, who was appointed CEO of Ashley Madison’s parent company, Avid Life Media, in 2007, regularly defended his website.
“We’re just a platform. No website or 30-second ad is going to convince anyone to cheat. People cheat because their lives aren’t working for them,” Biderman famously said.
Since most mainstream media outlets avoided Ashley Madison advertising with a ten foot pole, Biderman generated publicity himself. From appearing on talk shows as an infidelity expert to writing books about cheating, including the 2011 Cheaters Prosper: How Infidelity Will Save the Modern Marriage, Biderman made himself a success as the face of infidelity.
However, in 2015, things took a turn for the worst.
What Was The Ashley Madison Hacking Scandal?
In July 2015, employees at the Toronto Avid Life Media office received a message reading “Shut down Ashley Madison immediately (or) we will release all customer records, profiles, sexual fantasies … real names and addresses.”
The timing couldn’t have been worse—the company was about to launch a billion-dollar IPO. For this reason, they decided not to comply with the hacker’s demands.
The mistake was fatal and thirty days later, the hackers did as they threatened and publicly released around 10 gigabytes worth of user information onto the internet: everything from names and home addresses to credit card details and sexual fantasies. Celebrities, politicians and even members of the Vatican didn’t escape the date breach. From public shaming to blackmail and most tragically, even suicide, it had devastating consequences.
In the aftermath of the breach, hackers accused Biderman of not deleting user accounts when customers had paid to have them removed. On top of this, Biderman’s personal emails, which were also released in the hack, revealed details of his own extra-marital affairs.
Eight days after the hack, Biderman resigned from the company.
Where Is Noel Biderman Now?
Biderman is still in the business world. According to his LinkedIn, he’s currently the CEO of Toronto-based software company, Avenue Insights. He’s also the Strategic Advisor at a ‘Modern Wealth Generation Company’ called WonderFi.
Biderman seems to still be married to wife Amanda Biderman, who he shares two children with.
The former CEO is also set to appear on the upcoming The Ashley Madison Affair docoseries.