A woman's face is half-hidden by her computer screen in a still from 'Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal'

‘Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal’ Trailer: Netflix Revisits a Life-Ruining Data Breach

Netflix has released a trailer for Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal, a new docuseries about the infamous dating site for married people looking to have an affair and the data breach that exposed millions of users.

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The trailer for Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal focuses primarily on the whodunit aspect: who was responsible for hacking the extramarital dating website and leaking millions of users’ data? I’m not particularly inclined to care, but I don’t think the victims of the hack deserved it, either. What seems more interesting to me is the people behind Ashley Madison, and specifically website founder Noel Biderman, who is featured prominently in the trailer—and for good reason: this guy is a friggin’ character.

Similarly, I find filmmaker Toby Paton’s statement about the three-part docuseries more interesting than the official synopsis from Netflix. Paton’s statement, included in the press release with the trailer, suggests a more nuanced and considered docuseries than Netflix’s usual fare, though I’ll reserve judgment for the final product:

When Minnow Films approached me to make a series about the rise of infidelity dating site Ashley Madison, and the catastrophic hack that led to its 37 million members having their identities exposed online, my first thought was ‘wow, what a story!’. It has everything – from the propulsive narrative and high stakes drama of a tech thriller to the tender, messy intimacy of the real marriages and relationships that are at the heart of the Ashley Madison story.

We all know infidelity can be incredibly destructive and hurtful, but at the same time, the fact that Ashley Madison had 37 million members tells us something else we all know – that committing to one person for the rest of your life is really hard. Rather than berating people who joined Ashley Madison we were much more interested in exploring why they were drawn to the site – what were they looking for? What was going on in their relationships? And crucially – what was their partner’s side of the story?

We were blessed with some extraordinary, larger than life characters and stylistically we felt there was a great opportunity with this story to go beyond the familiar true-crime tropes of dark, moody lighting and ominous music. We wanted to create a world that was unexpected and fresh, something that could feel playful and humorous one moment, but genuinely shocking and emotional when the story takes a tragic turn. The result, I hope, is a wild and enjoyable ride that also offers a chance to reflect on love, marriage and desire in the age of the internet.

Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal hits Netflix on May 15.

(featured image: Netflix)


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Author
Britt Hayes
Britt Hayes (she/her) is an editor, writer, and recovering film critic with over a decade of experience. She has written for The A.V. Club, Birth.Movies.Death, and The Austin Chronicle, and is the former associate editor for ScreenCrush. Britt's work has also been published in Fangoria, TV Guide, and SXSWorld Magazine. She loves film, horror, exhaustively analyzing a theme, and casually dissociating. Her brain is a cursed tomb of pop culture knowledge.