Berkowitz

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz





Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has announced his resignation, effective October 23rd. Anchorage Assembly Chair Felix Rivera will serve in the interim while the Assembly determines whether a special election is needed or whether Rivera will simply hold the position until the end of the term in April.

Let’s be clear about what got us to this point: Ethan Berkowitz became a victim of revenge porn.

Yes, it was insanely stupid for a married politico to have an affair with a reporter — in Alaska of all places, where anonymity is nowhere near as possible as the naive and stranded bus hunters would like to believe. It was even stupider to send that reporter nude photos. What the fuck were you thinking, Ethan?

But, wild impropriety aside, what Ethan Berkowitz did is not illegal. All we know is that he exchanged nude photos with a consenting adult. It’s not like he raw-dogged a pornstar months after his wife gave birth, and then paid that pornstar hush money. And it’s certainly not like he weaponized the nude photos that were once sent to him consensually after having a complete emotional and mental breakdown over some rumor about an escort. Maureen “Maria” O’Rourke Athens did that.

Alaska Statute 11.61.120 partially defines Harassment in the Second Degree as making an obscene telephone call, or a telephone call or electronic communication that threatens physical injury. It also partially defines the Class B Misdemeanor as “publishing or distributing electronic or printed photographs, pictures, or films that show the genitals, anus, or female breast of the other person or show that person engaged in a sexual act”.

Ms. Athens was caught on voicemail committing the former definition, and on social media committing the latter. When the Mayor’s Office categorized her contact and behavior as “hostile and unwell”, she retaliated by posting the mayor’s bare ass on Facebook, pointing out several identifiers. Some have called the Mayor’s response gaslighting, but a quick listen to the voicemail confirms a hostile and unwell mind.

In 2014, a 42-year old Anchorage man named Joshua P. Hoehne was criminally charged with 371 counts of Harassment II, one for each lewd photo he had posted of his former roommate. Hoehne had made fake Facebook profiles and attached the victims’ real names to the photos, causing years of scorn and ridicule. In the eyes of the law, each individual digital photo was worth a Class B Misdemeanor.

Maria Athens was not charged with Harassment II when she was taken into custody shortly after she posted a news teaser alleging that the mayor had posted the nudes to a kiddie porn site — something the APD and FBI together determined was untrue. Instead, she caught Assault IV, Criminal Mischief, and Disorderly Conduct. You would think it unlikely that Berkowitz would decide to pursue criminal or civil action. It would be consistent with his decision to not charge Kriner’s the maximum allowable fine for disregarding the law in August, settling instead for a $3,300 fine payable to the Food Bank of Alaska instead of MOA coffers.

This is a disappointing end to a long, relentless, and orchestrated character assassination campaign — one that even today insists that the kiddie porn story is true, that Maria Athens was passionately involved in, and that will be revealed by this publication later this month. At the end of the day, the only person that could take Ethan Berkowitz down was Ethan Berkowitz, caught sleeping — or in this case, sexting — with the enemy.

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