Noel Biderman, president and founder of the hacked affairs site Ashley Madison, is fond of telling the media that despite the nature of the website that made him a multimillionaire, he has never cheated on his wife.
"If I wanted to have an affair, I would have one," Biderman told the New York Daily News last year.
And yet hundreds of Biderman's emails released after a massive hack of Ashley Madison suggest that he has had multiple affairs, including one that went on for several years, and one with a Toronto-area escort.
In nearly 300 emails that began in July 2012 and only ended in early May of this year, Biderman corresponded with a Toronto woman. Many of the emails involve planning where and when to meet — usually at a Toronto hotel.
Biderman appears to have met the woman at a spa; in the first email correspondence between them, dated July 24, 2012, she introduces herself as "Melisa from the spa" and instructs Biderman to "Let me know when you're around so we can go have a coffee :-)."
Dozens of emails over the next few years catalogue Biderman and the woman's meetings at hotels — the Novotel, the Roehampton, the Mary-am — and coffee shops, as well as the obligations that prevented them from getting together: Taking care of "the kids" and presentations for him; "studying for finals" for her.
On Sept. 18, 2014, the woman sent Biderman an email announcing her intention to cancel a meeting between the two at the Novotel because of "guilt-ridden" feelings related to her boyfriend, who "almost found out last time." In this email it seems very clear that Biderman has been paying the woman for their arrangement; she wrote "I don't want to lose him. As much as I need the money." Later in the same email she asks Biderman to borrow "1500" dollars.
Four days later, on Sept. 22, the woman emailed Biderman to tell him that she was "thinking hard about the offer"; on the 24th, Biderman emailed her to say, "my money is in my car." On Oct. 10, the woman sent Biderman a résumé and cover letter for a job as a "Spanish/English customer service representative" for Avid Life Media; in an email Oct. 12, Biderman writes to her, "I will also have a good "signing bonus" for you :)." However, on Oct. 15, perhaps after a job interview, the woman writes to Biderman, "I think it went well, however I don't think it's the right kind of environment for me. I don't want to appear ungrateful, I just don't want any issues in my relationship. Thank you so much."
Contact between the two tapered off after that.
This woman did not respond to phone calls and emails from BuzzFeed News.
The student was not the only woman with whom Biderman appears from his leaked emails to have had an affair. In a series of emails from May 2014, Biderman arranges a meeting with another woman. In one of the messages he writes that he is "fantasizing about later this evening :)," and later the same day the woman writes to say she is on her on her way to meet Biderman:
Biderman replied by email: "I will reimburse you - no worries Focus on the food :-)."
Two months later, this same woman sent Biderman a sexually explicit image, captioned by text reading, "Hey handsome, Hope you aren't busy this week so far." He did not respond by email.
After identifying herself as having the same first name as the woman corresponding with Biderman in the emails, a person who answered a phone number included in them hung up on BuzzFeed News when Biderman's name was mentioned.
And in a series of emails on March 28, 2013, Biderman attempted to arrange a meeting at a Toronto condominium with a person named "Mila." The number Mila gives in one of the emails matches the number on the escort reviews site TheEroticReview.com. Her age is listed on the site as "18-20."
The motto of Ashley Madison is "Life is short. Have an affair." Its founder seems to have been living his work.
Biderman did not to respond to multiple phone calls requesting comment, and Ashley Madison did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
Here are some of Biderman's emails with the three women in the story:
Joe Bernstein is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Bernstein reports on and writes about the gaming industry and web culture.
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