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Ashley Madison scandal explained and Sam and Nia's story explored

Christian YouTube couple Sam and Nia Rader were impacted by the data leak

Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
15 May 2024
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When Ashley Madison, a dating website for extramarital affairs, was hacked in 2015, millions of users' intimate data was leaked to the world. Netflix's latest documentary series, Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal, explores the creation of the website, the people who used it and the mysterious hack that exposed its users to their unsuspecting families.

The three-parter, from Minnow Films and director Toby Paton, includes interviews with those directly involved with the scandal, including Sam and Nia Rader, whose lives were upended by the data leak. 

Keep reading for a full breakdown of the scandal, including what happened to Sam and Nia. 

WATCH: The trailer for Netflix’s Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal

What was the Ashley Madison hacking scandal?

Back in 2015, 14 years after the website was launched, a mysterious hacking group calling itself The Impact Team threatened to leak stolen data from the users of Ashley Madison if the site did not close down within 30 days. 

The company didn't fold and the hackers subsequently released the names of tens of millions of people who had signed up for an account. 

Netflix's Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal© Netflix
Ashley Madison was hacked in 2015

The Impact Team followed this with a second data dump exposing even more private information, including nude photos and credit card details. The hackers also released CEO Noel Biderman's private and business emails, which seemed to expose his affairs. 

At the time, Ashley Madison worked with cybersecurity experts and law enforcement agents to track down the hackers.

Despite the investigation, no arrests were ever made. 

Sam and Nia in Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal© Netflix
Sam and Nia tell their story in the documentary

Sam and Nia Rader's story explained 

One of the many couples impacted by the hack was Sam and Nia Rader, a pair of Christian YouTubers whose marriage suffered after Sam's information appeared in the leaked data.

Before the hack, Sam and Nia shared their lives online, posting moments from their daily routine in vlogs for their popular channel. They went viral in 2014 after sharing a video of them lip-syncing to Love Is an Open Door from the movie Frozen, gaining them over 22 million views. 

Nia in Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal© Netflix
Nia is a Christian YouTuber

After the leak, Sam posted a video to the couple's channel, admitting to making an account back in 2013. "This is an issue that is in our past," he said. "This was before I got onto YouTube. This was brought to my wife's attention. She has forgiven me for this mistake that I made in opening the account."

Sam added: "I have sought forgiveness from God and He has forgiven me, so I have been completely cleansed of this sin."

Sam in Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal© Netflix
Sam's information was included in the leak

Opening up about the leak, Nia says in the series: "It was very shocking. I was surprised that Sam would have been drawn to a website like that in the first place, because it was outside of his usual morals and character."

So, are the couple still together? 

Yes! It appears that Sam and Nia managed to work through the scandal and even welcomed a daughter the following year. 

Sam and Nia appear to be going strong
View post on Instagram
 

Today, the pair share four children, Symphony, 13, Abram, 10, Juliet, seven, and three-year-old Josie Grace, and continue to share their lives on their YouTube channel and joint Instagram page

Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies & Scandal is available to stream on Netflix now.

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