Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Life

Why the Morality Police Needs to Stop Judging Ashley Madison

Ahh, nothing like the smell of Schadenfreude in the morning.

The Ashley Madison saga continues as CEO Noel Biderman after a third wave of client and website data was dumped, exposing Biderman’s very own alleged extramarital affair along with the other 37 million users of the adultery website.

According to BuzzFeed News, nearly 300 leaked Biderman emails from July 2012 to this past May indicate he had a long-term affair affair with a Toronto woman who introduced herself as “Melisa from the spa” and with at least two other women as well.

While I understand the attraction that such gossip-heavy news can hold, here’s my problem: is it really news?

I find the zeal with which news outlets have pursued the story unsettling.

In the last few weeks, media outlets have exposed, discussed and relished in every little detail of this scandal. Public opinion has been judge, jury and executioner in a blood thirsty hunt for the next celebrity to sacrifice on the altar of morality. But who are we to judge?

Ashley Madison didn’t teach people how to cheat. And outing users as cheaters is not in the public interest. What goes on in people’s bedrooms, while salacious, and sure, riveting, is no one’s business. And to sic the morality police on the inner workings of other people’s marriages is in itself immoral.

People looking to have an affair, will have an affair, whether Ashley Madison was available to them or not. But it looks like finding a woman to have an affair with on the site was harder than picking up a woman in the produce section of a supermarket. Of the 5.5 million female users, most were bots, fake or inactive accounts. Only 1,500 of the women had ever read their messages, 2,400 had chatted with other users and 9,700 replied to a message.

So maybe Ashley Madison was the safest place to save a marriage. How’s that for a twist?

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.