Anchorage Mayor Resigns After ‘Inappropriate’ Relationship With Anchor

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The mayor of Anchorage resigned Oct. 13 after admitting he’d engaged in an “inappropriate” relationship with a news anchor, Maria Athens, in the city. Athens was an anchor at KTBY and KYUR Anchorage, a Fox-ABC pair. Ethan Berkowitz was the Anchorage mayor. 

Athens had teased an “exclusive” story on the mayor on social media, reported to the New York Times, that involved graphic photos of the mayor on an “underage girls’ website.” Berkowitz, who is married, responded that the story was “slanderous.” Athens then posted an image she said depicted the mayor’s bare buttocks, with a laughing emoji. 

Berkowitz later revealed that he and Athens had engaged in a “consensual, inappropriate messaging relationship.”

“It is with profound sadness and humility that I resign as mayor of the municipality of Anchorage,” Berkowitz said in a statement read to the Anchorage Assembly by his chief of staff. “My resignation results from unacceptable personal conduct that has compromised my ability to perform my duties with the focus and trust that is required.”

Before Athens teased her exclusive story, she left a voicemail for Berkowitz that the NY Times called a “furious rant” with anti-Semitic references, where she called the mayor a “pedophile.”

“I’m going to get an Emmy, so you either turn yourself in, kill yourself, or do what you need to do,” Athens said, adding that she would kill Berkowitz and his wife.

The Anchorage Police Department worked with the F.B.I. to investigate the allegations about the mayor and found no criminal conduct. 

Athens was arrested for assault and disorderly conduct late last week after an altercation with her manager at KTBY-KYUR. She no longer works for the stations. 

Coastal Television Broadcasting Company owns KTBY and manages KYUR. 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.