Is It OK To Expose A Cheater Online?


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Former Marine creates site where scorned lovers post tales of cheating spouses

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They say "Hell hath no fury" as a man or woman scorned, and if anything is proof of the truth of that statement, it's


The controversial site—which launched on Valentine's Day 2011—allows users to publicly shame the unfaithful men and women by posting stories of indiscretion, accompanied by names, photographs, and even job titles.

Founder and CEO James McGibney, a former Marine, developed the idea after returning from deployment to find out that his buddy's wife had been cheating. Now, less than six months since its launch, Cheaterville has millions of page views and more than 25,000 subscribers checking the site for familiar philandering faces.

Later this year he plans to launch Cupidville, an online dating site for people who have been victims of cheating, and Karmaville, a site that will solicit and make weekly donations to good causes, the first of which is a battered women's shelter in Las Vegas.

But despite the explosive popularity of the site, McGibey has taken his fair share of criticism. He took some time to chat with us about the Cheaterville mission, ethical concerns, and his plans for the future.

YourTango: You launched less than 6 months ago. What has been the overall response so far?

James McGibney: There are people who are thrilled about it because they find out their suspicions are true, that their significant others are cheating on them. There wasn't proof before—it's really hard to catch someone on Facebook. On Cheaterville, they post it and others respond with concrete evidence.

On the other side of the spectrum, I get questions about how we verify that the information is correct, and concerns about slander and defamation of character. Our take is that we're not judge or jury.

There might be posts that aren't 100 percent true, but that's not for me to decide. I have to focus on the bigger picture, which is all the good that is coming from helping others out and catching people cheating.

What kinds of good?

One really nice thing about Cheaterville, which happens every day, is that someone will post something about a cheater, it then gets blasted on Facebook, and the accused responds directly to the post. They can refute the information, but a lot of people come clean and apologize. At that point, the person who posted the initial cheater information can remove it or make it not visible on the site. It's a form of forgiveness. I'm not a psychologist, but it seems to be very therapeutic for all parties involved.

I'm really interested in the ethical implications of a site like Cheaterville. Is letting the world know someone has cheated a violation of their privacy?

I can see how some people think that's true, that it should stay private. But I believe in fighting back, in standing up for yourself. I think that is what Cheaterville is all about.

As for the ethical question, if the reason I found out my significant other cheated is by catching an STD, and I then have to get tested, I'd feel more of an ethical implication to put it on the site, make people aware that she had one.

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