The previous personal website of Ari Kagan, a New York City Council Member, was repurposed into a pornographic site for two years, between May 2021 and May 2023.
AriKagan.com, which used to contain Kagan’s professional work as a journalist and a Democratic district leader from 2012 to 2019, was unexpectedly discovered to contain adult material and links to pornographic videos, all in Chinese characters, along with advertisements for live streams of chess games.
Kagan, who switched allegiances to the Republican Party in 2022, is currently seeking re-election in the significantly reshaped District 43 in southern Brooklyn against Council Member Justin Brannan.
Interestingly, Kagan was unaware of the explicit transformation of his former website until recently. The site’s content shift was not perceived as a politically motivated attack but rather a commercial exploitation by an unknown party.
Kagan, who faced anonymous smears during previous election campaigns, suggested the possibility of political meddling but didn’t have concrete evidence to support his claims. As the GOP primary draws near, Kagan still doesn’t have a website, but he informed City & State NY that his team had procured a domain and was in the process of setting it up. He said, “I believe it will be AriKagan.nyc.”
This peculiar intersection of politics and adult content is not unprecedented. In 2016, Representative Joe Heck of Nevada had an opponent inadvertently refer voters to JoeHeck.com, a website showcasing anime porn, instead of the legitimate DrJoeHeck.com.
Similarly, in a bid to gain campaign attention, congressional candidate Mike Itkis previously released his own sex tape, leading to a surge in his name searches on adult platforms, though this did not translate into substantial votes.