ASHLEY MADISON: SEX, LIES & SCANDAL on Netflix is a 3-part documentary series about the so-called cheating website that was hacked. An online horror story. Read our Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal docuseries review here!

ASHLEY MADISON: SEX, LIES & SCANDAL is a new Netflix docu-series with three episodes. It could easily have been a documentary feature as there is way too much focus on two YouTubers. I’m sure they’re happy with the result, as this is basically one big advertising campaign for them.

In any case, it’s about the website that encouraged married people to sign up to find other married people to have an affair with. Then they were hacked and more than 30 million users experienced their secrets exposed.

It’s intriguing but goes down all the wrong paths to be interesting. A real shame and a huge missed opportunity.

Continue reading our Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal review below. Find it on Netflix from May 15, 2024.

From small-time to a huge deal

The website actually existed for quite some time without really making an impact. Sure, they had users, but it wasn’t the well-known cheating platform that it was about to become. This all changed when a new CEO, Noel Biderman, came on board.

He changed their marketing to something everyone could understand. Focusing on how it was a platform for people who wanted to have an affair without getting caught. They wanted to have their cake and eat it too (so to speak), and this was the place where all their dreams and fantasies could come true.

This was something the target demographic could understand, so they flocked to the website. That’s when the media also became interested – largely due to their commercials which were banned by all TV stations – and that publicity resulted in even more users.

Then came the huge hack. More than 30 million users were at risk of having everything shared; Photos, e-mails, addresses, credit card information, and their innermost desires. It was a mess!

Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal – Review | Netflix Docuseries

An online horror story about cyber security

In the aftermath of this hack, everyone could look up the names of everyone from their spouse to their boss. Even celebrities. And the media was living it up with exposure stories left and right. Only later did anyone bother to look deeper into the actual company.

It turns out that their cyber security was virtually non-existent. They were so focused on growth that they never did what they promised their users; Keep their secrets safe!

Now, I cannot care less about cheaters getting exposed. As it’s revealed in Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal, many of the users had already cheated before signing up to this “cheating website”. This was just a new or additional way to find more women to cheat with.

And yes, most users were men. The CEO kept claiming that the website had plenty of women signed up. However, another thing that was exposed later, was that bots were used to a very large extent.

Unfortunately, this fact isn’t brought up until halfway through episode three.

Lots of relationship drama

Instead, you’ll have to sit through two YouTubers talking about how they overcame this whole ordeal. And a woman from New Orleans, who found her husband has taken his own life after the hack.

In both examples, the husbands had been involved in extramarital activities long before the cheating website came into their lives.

Only the third person – whom we also meet in episode one – feels truly relevant. He discovers that he longs for an open relationship. So he finds and marries a woman, who wants the same.

I would much have preferred a focus on the online horror story of how this business was built on lies and fraud. Hearing from three individuals – where the YouTubers, Sam & Nia, are getting so much screen time – is a waste of time.

They could’ve done a separate documentary on them if anyone found their particular story so fascinating. For me, it’s utterly irrelevant to focus so much on just two people, when millions were involved.

And I feel downright angry that Sandra Bullock’s face was even in this when she had nothing to do with Ashley Madison personally. It’s all just rubbing me the wrong way.

Watch Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal on Netflix now!

The documentary filmmaker behind Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal is Toby Paton. A director and producer with lots of experience in documentaries about everything from Brexit to true crime (almost one and the same) and even the 2022 documentary Hong Kong’s Fight for Freedom.

This is far from the only documentary about Ashley Madison, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It isn’t the best either, but that is entirely due to its choice of focus. Some extremely interesting people are interviewed, but the focus keeps going back to Sam & Nia especially. A shame!

I would much rather have heard even more from the tech journalists, cyber security experts, and the former VP of Sales at, Evan Back.

The former CEO, Noel Biderman, isn’t in this Netflix docu-series. However, there are enough clips and old interviews with him that it feels like he is part of it. And it really does not put him in a good light – nor does he deserve it, which becomes increasingly obvious. But again, it’s more of a side note!

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


When a dating site for people seeking adulterous affairs is hacked, millions of users’ intimate data is exposed, wrecking marriages and destroying lives.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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