“Life Is Short. Have an Affair!” proclaims the advertising for Ashley Madison, an internet-based company that facilitates adultery. And soon, the company will be pushing their propaganda over the airwaves – and into every living room in America.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ashley Madison is partnering with U.S. and Canadian media companies to produce a scripted drama which will make sympathetic heroes of those who have affairs behind their spouse’s back. The program will be “inspired by the users of the site, who privately reveal why they want to — or have had — affairs,” says Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman. Attempting to justify his prurient program, Biderman said, “Anytime 30 million people are doing anything, it becomes worthy of discussion…This is your neighbor. This is your school teacher. This is about your best friend.” Apparently, that makes such a program alright.
Tentatively titled Thank You, Ashley Madison, the movie is a highly fictionalized version of the true story of the company. In reality, computer hackers recently revealed that over 90% of the women allegedly seeking an adulterous partner on the Ashley Madison website didn’t exist. Female accounts were created by Ashley Madison workers solely to draw in male clients, by creating the illusion that the site was deluged with desperate women seeking an affair.
But the planned movie won’t tell this truth; indeed, it will help propagate Ashley Madison’s lie. According to the film, a good though impoverished single mother launched the adultery business solely to support her family. This storytelling choice was made, says Biberman, because having a story centered on a man seemed “stereotypical.”
The movie’s producer, Courtney Hazlett, ludicrously claims that “There are a lot of TV shows doing a great job of presenting marriage storylines,” then adds, “What we’re positing here is, what if there is a third lane to run in? Maybe this is where your life just is, and no shows on television are offering that.”
The notion that “no shows on television” portray adultery is beyond offensive – as is Ashley Madison’s proposed movie. Millions of spouses who have suffered through the feelings of shock and betrayal an affair brings, and millions of children whose lives have been shattered by the consequences of such betrayal, will find a movie glamorizing adultery to be horrific. But that doesn’t matter to the show’s creators. As producer Matt Hornburg says, echoing sentiments all over Hollywood: “We’re creating a TV series that WE want.”
Obviously, what the audience wants doesn’t matter.