The Whale

Whale Oil is in both the HoS and the SST. First the HoS is about the “feud” with Pearl Going:

A fixture of the social pages is at the centre of an alleged text and cyber bullying storm. Police are investigating claims from Auckland socialite Pearl Going that she has been subjected to death threats and abuse via text, Facebook and emails.

If there has been death threats, that is indeed a matter for the Police. However as far as I know, having nasty things said about you online is not a criminal issue – if it was I would be going to the Police every second day!

The 24-year-old, related to former All Black Sid Going, has also complained about a year of cyber-harassment involving two websites, neither of which she has anything to do with.

The saga revolves around a dispute over her reputation, qualifications and background, and has drawn in many members of Auckland’s social set.

This is what puzzles me somewhat about the HoS story. I have absolutely no first hand knowledge of Ms Going and the accuracy (or not) of the various claims about her qualifications and background etc. So why doesn’t the newspaper investigate and find out who is correct rather than just report there is a dispute?

Slater said he took exception to Going being included in a list of up-and-coming Auckland socialites published in the Herald on Sunday’s Spy pages because he challenged claims about her background.

Several members of the Auckland social set this week contacted the Herald on Sunday unprompted to raise similar concerns about the background claims.

Again, the obvious thing to do would be to investigate the claims, I would have thought.

And in the SST, they do a full profile of Whale Oil. Some extracts:

Slater’s profane, occasionally rabid, vociferously right-wing blog Whale Oil Beef Hooked (to be read with an Irish inflection) gets 5000-6000 page views a day, including many readers in the media and political establishment. In the past year, it has broken a number of stories that have been followed, often unattributed, by news outlets, notably Winston Peters’ lingering post-election grip on his ministerial vehicle.

Heading home from a weekly yum char lunch with a close group of fellow right-leaning, Seventh Day Adventist-affiliated mates, Slater takes a call about a proposed visit to Fiji, as a supportive guest of the regime, to interview Frank Bainimarama. The Commodore has not been granting interviews with the New Zealand press, but one of his deputies is a Whale Oil reader.

I’d like to go to Fiji also, but am worried I might get shot at the airport as I am more sceptical of the Commodore’s intentions or more importantly his actions.

The local blogosphere is loud and volatile, the new frontline of political debate. But even in this fierce arena, Slater is infamous for dragging the discourse to new lows, with vicious, juvenile, sometimes misogynistic attacks.

Like American gossip juggernaut Perez Hilton, Slater routinely uses Photoshop to vilify his targets: grafting Helen Clark’s head onto the body of a crotchless starlet, or riddling her with digital bulletholes. On seeing an article titled “The World’s Ugliest Dogs”, Slater “couldn’t resist” reposting the story, appended with pictures of female Labour MPs. He has published bizarre sexual allegations against a female Labour official and challenged strangers to fights, including the sons of Folole Muliaga.

“I got sick of the way the media created a frenzy around a fat woman who was sent home by the hospital to die,” he says. “F— them.”

No doubt a genuine Whale quote!

Some stuff on his private life;

Slater found his after the collapse of the security systems company, of which he owned 49%, in 2004 amid rancour with his business partner. The failure ruined Slater financially he had to sell his second home to pay the IRD socially, and eventually, psychologically. The depression he had battled for years became disabling.

As a result, he is unable to work. Because he had income protection insurance, he now receives 75% of his former salary.

“The first year was dark, very dark,” recalls Slater. “I’d stay inside all day, the curtains pulled, unable to make decisions. You open the freezer and try to decide what you’re going to cook for dinner, you can’t even do that, so you go back to bed.”

To get him out of the house, one of his mates insisted he come and work in his office, free of charge. As “an outlet, a place to let off steam”, he says blogging has helped him, as do his daily workouts.

But he still battles despair, takes medication, sees a psychologist each month. Undoubtedly, the desperation of his circumstances has shaped his blogging persona.

“When you’ve got nothing to lose, you’re dangerous.”

“I’ve got no money. I’ve got nothing. What’s anybody going to do, sue me? Fill your boots! You’ll waste 100 grand,” he says.

The best advice I give about Cameron (and he now gives the same advice) to people is to avoid wrestling with pigs in mud, because you’ll just get dirty and the pigs will enjoy it 🙂

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