am hack

Ashley Madison List: Wife Of Pastor Who Killed Himself After Appearing On List Speaks Out

The wife of a man who took his own life because he could not face the backlash and scorn of appearing on the Ashley Madison list of names is speaking out. The CNN report titled Ashley Madison: Life after the Hack examines what happened to some of the 36 million people who had their names leaked to the public as a result of the hacking.

Called a modern-day Scarlet Letter, the names published online via the Ashley Madison hacking brought too much scorn and shame for some folks to bear. Christi Gibson is the wife of John Gibson, a man whose name appeared on the Ashley Madison list, and the same day that Christi discovered that news was the same day she discovered her husband John, dead from suicide.

The 2015 hacking by the hacktivists called the “Impact Team” resulted in millions of users of Ashley Madison being made public. The list was not only public, but it allowed folks to search the list to see if they could find their own names or the names of their partners and spouses on the list.

John was one of those many names on the Ashley Madison list, but the pastor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary took the news of the appearance of his name on the list hard. John left a suicide note for his wife, explaining that he dealt with depression, and said that he was so sorry for betraying her trust by being on Ashley Madison.

Christi called the presence of websites like Ashley Madison part of the problem.

“It wasn’t the hack that destroyed the lives that we had, it was the presence of things like Ashley Madison…The ability to lead a totally double life. That’s what took our life down — the secrecy. The hack is what blew it all apart. These were real people, with real families and real pain. It’s not funny. It’s not a source for salacious gossip. The shock has worn off, the need to take care of all the details of losing a loved one, and [becoming] the primary breadwinner of your household, having to deal with all that.”

The CNN report delves into not only sad stories of suicide that may have resulted as a part of the Ashley Madison hacking list being exposed but also deals with the backlash that Ashley Madison employees allegedly faced in the wake of the hacking.

For Christi, plenty of things have changed in the year since John killed himself. She has relocated several times, and her children are growing older. But it is the little things about John that she misses most in his absence, like when he would set the coffeemaker each morning and listen to her over cups of coffee as she talked about her day.

Whereas the hackers who released the Ashley Madison list of names set themselves up as some sort of morality police and warned the victims that they’d get over their shame, that wasn’t the case for John on this side of the earth. John’s daughter spoke about her dad always being her dad, no matter what he did on Ashley Madison.

Ashley Madison specifically targeted men when they may have been their most vulnerable, reports CNN, with ads being shown to men who were out of town and away from home. The company knew when men were browsing online from a different zip code than their normal zip codes.

Ashley Madison executives, meanwhile, also appeared in the documentary, at least mostly via phone, as the reporter tried to track down a meeting with the current CEO. The exchanges with interview subjects were awkward, along with rumors about employees fearing for their safety if they spoke with reporters.

[Featured Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]