[W]hile Gawker’s article sparked near universal outrage, the reactions to the Ashley Madison hacking so far have been more of a mixture of bemusement, catharsis, and, yes, some criticism of The Impact Team. Out a male CFO who allegedly solicited sex outside of marriage from a male escort and our fingers immediately wag in Gawker’s direction. But threaten to publish the nude photos of millions of people who had—or tried to have—extramarital affairs and our feelings seem to be much more diverse.
Let’s be clear: From an ethical and legal perspective, if you opposed the Gawker article, you should also oppose the Ashley Madison hack, irrespective of your feelings on adultery.
And, if you live in the U.S., chances are your feelings on extramarital affairs are not particularly good. A recent Gallup poll found that Americans’ views on moral issues have shifted substantially over the last 15 years except when it comes to marital infidelity. From 2001 to 2015, the moral acceptance of polygamy has doubled from seven to 16 percent of Americans, support for divorce has leapt to 71 percent, and support for childbirth outside of wedlock crossed the 50 percent mark.