Went to see the Tickled documentary on Monday night.
It was an intriguing 90 minute expose which was equally funny and disturbing.
The film is basically a public service documentary exposing the actions of David D’Amato and his decades of fixation with tickling videos. Not that there is anything wrong with tickling videos (if that is your thing) but the lengths D’Amato goes to to destroy people he has fallen out with, vilify them, bully them and hide his identity.
It all started a few years ago when David Farrier saw an ad for people to take part in a competitive tickling video and asked if he could do one of his light hearted stories on it. The response from “Jane O’Brien Media” was so virulent and over the top (basically saying that they want nothing at all to do with a homosexual journalist and there is nothing at all gay about videos of men tying other men down and ticking their bare bodies), that Farrier got intrigued.
With the technical skills of Dylan Reeve and some whois lookups they pieced together a network of sites all controlled by the one person.
As they started to make more inquiries, JOM flew not one but three people over from the US to NZ to try and encourage them to stop. The encouragement was a series of threats. This made them more determined and they flew to America to do further research and interviews.
They eventually worked out that the person behind all this was David D’Amato who had been sentenced in 2001 for posing as Terri DiSisto, better known as Terri Tickle. It seems after his sentence, he carried on under another persona.
This is one of the true stories that you would think is fictional. the film captures the weirdness of it all, while also exposing some very nasty behaviour from a rich guy who hides behind fake identities.
What I found most fascinating is the motiviation of D’Amato is not money. He doesn’t make money from his fetish. He inherited millions of dollars from his father. He could spend that in dozens of ways to have a happy nice life. But instead for some reason he is compelled to use it to harrass, threaten and intimidate people.
I’d definitely recommend seeing the documentary. It’s engrossing and captivating. They did a good job editing it so it is a punchy 90 minutes long.
A video interview on Vice with David Farrier is below