Disney’s ABC News Studios and Wall to Wall Media have announced that they’ve started production of an original documentary series, “The Ashley Madison Affair”‘ (working title). The series is an in-depth, multipart documentary exploring the hack of an infidelity dating website for married people that caused shockwaves with one of the most damaging and scandalous data breaches of all time.
Ashley Madison was a popular site, signing up millions of would-be adulterers around the world. However, one July morning in 2015, as employees at the Toronto headquarters logged on to their computers, a message flashed up: “Shut down Ashley Madison immediately (or) we will release all customer records, profiles, sexual fantasies … real names and addresses.”
As Ashley Madison’s owners were set to launch the company in a billion-dollar IPO, they refused to comply with the demands of the hackers, known as the “Impact Team.” Thirty days later, the Impact Team made good on their threats and released almost 10 gigabytes of user details onto the dark web with disastrous consequences for people who had signed up to the site, ranging from suicide to blackmail to public shaming.
Featuring exclusive footage and untold first-hand interviews from those involved, the series explores infidelity, morality, cyber-shaming and blackmail. It tells the story of ordinary people with big secrets and a mystery that remains unsolved to this day.
Beth Hoppe is an executive producer for ABC News Studios. Jeremy Dear and Fred Hepburn are executive producers, Shaun Trevisick and Carla Francome are producers, and Johanna Hamilton is director, all with Wall to Wall Media.
This new documentary series will be released on Hulu in the United States. No international release details have been confirmed, but many of ABC News Studios’ original documentaries are released as Star Originals on Disney+ around the world.