Since the names and information from the Ashley Madison hack were released online, a number of public figures have found themselves embarrassed — perhaps none more so than Christian family values promoter Josh Duggar. However, another public figure who is known for writing, lecturing, and speaking on morality from a religious point of view has also turned up in the list. In this case, it’s a speaker on the religion of Islam — and unlike several others who’ve been exposed, he says he never signed up.
His name is Hamza Andreas Tzortzis, and he’s spoken publicly, and through his blog, about his views on sexual morality — specifically, expressing in 2008 that homosexuality should be criminalized.
Many who have followed his teachings say that it’s ironic for him to appear on a list of Ashley Madison subscribers seeking an affair, in light of the stances he has expressed on sexual morality and homosexuality — very much the same criticism several Christian speakers have faced upon being found on the hack list.
Tzortzis, however, says that in his case, it’s an attempt to defame his character. In a public statement today, he said the following.
“It has come to my attention that my details are on the Ashley Madison data leak. This includes my name, address, and bank card details.”
“This is an obvious case of fraud. My email address (this website doesn’t verify emails, and all the relevant emails went to junk) can be found online and so can my address, as it is linked to my business account, which is registered online. My date of birth is known from either previous lectures or Facebook. These types of online attacks are not uncommon, for example in the past year there have been multiple attempts to access my emails.”
He goes on to say that he has turned information over to the police and his bank, and that he thinks there may have been attempts to hack his phone, and that perhaps someone did so successfully and was able to obtain information there to sign up for an Ashley Madison account in his name.
His full statement is here, and if it should become inaccessible, a Reddit user has placed an archived version here.
He’s hardly the first person in the Ashley Madison hack to claim that he’s been misrepresented, and his statement that he missed the charges on his credit card account isn’t entirely implausible. There are certainly many consumers who do not check their bills item-by-item, and someone who frequently is engaged in international travel would likely have a bill with a long list of items, often difficult to identify as listed.
Overall, it’s certainly possible that he was a victim of identity theft, fraud, and a malicious smear campaign as he says — although even he admits that an identity thief would be unlikely to have predicted the Ashley Madison hack and hard-pressed to use it as a means to assassinate someone’s character.
If he truly was the victim of a phone hack and has turned information over to authorities, it’s likely more information will be revealed in coming days, as investigators identify the location from which the user accessed the Ashley Madison site. If not, then the Ashley Madison hack has claimed one more victim.
[Image: Ashley Madison Screenshot]