October 14, 2020

After what appears to have been a jilted relationship, news anchor Maria Athens posted her video online in an attempt to smear Anchorage mayor Ethan Berkowitz.

Source: New York Times

The mayor of Anchorage, Ethan Berkowitz, said Monday that he had engaged in an “inappropriate” relationship with a local news anchor, the latest development in a roiling political drama that began when the reporter claimed there were graphic personal photos of the mayor on an “underage girl’s website.”

The unsubstantiated claim had been posted to social media on Friday by the news anchor, Maria Athens, promising viewers an “exclusive” story set to air on upcoming newscasts. Mr. Berkowitz responded by calling the allegations “slanderous” and false, and Ms. Athens shot back by posting what she said was an image of the mayor’s bare backside, with a laughing emoji.

But as political leaders in Anchorage lined up to defend Mr. Berkowitz, the mayor came forward on Monday with an admission: He and Ms. Athens had previously engaged in a “consensual, inappropriate messaging relationship.”

So, at least some sexting was involved and probably more, as Athens' reaction, or overreaction, seems to suggest more.

Before Ms. Athens posted her video online, the mayor’s office said she had left a voice message for him. In a copy of that message provided by the office, Ms. Athens can be heard in a furious rant making anti-Semitic references and saying that she would be exposing the mayor as “a pedophile.”

“I’m going to get an Emmy, so you either turn yourself in, kill yourself, or do what you need to do,” Ms. Athens said, according to the audio clip. She then said she would personally kill him and his wife.

Soon after the video was posted to Facebook, the station owner of KTBY and KYUR where Athens is (or was) the main anchor for the Fox affiliate demanded she take the video down, as it wasn't approved. There was an altercation, police came and she was arrested. Athens' was later charged with misdemeanor assault, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct and released on bail. Effective Monday, Ms. Athens was no longer with the company.

UPDATE: And Berkowitz resigns after admitting to the relationship.

The mayor of Alaska’s largest city submitted his resignation Tuesday evening, four days after an anchorwoman at a local television station threatened to report he had posted nude photos of himself on a website.

Ethan Berkowitz adamantly denied her allegations, but on Monday admitted he had an inappropriate relationship with Maria Athens, the anchor at a Fox/ABC combined station in Anchorage.

“It is with profound sadness and humility that I resign as mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage,” he said in a statement read at the Anchorage Assembly meeting by his chief of staff, Jason Bockenstedt, and later emailed to the media.

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