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‘Tickled’: Campaign Launched To Try To Discredit Provocative Competitive Tickling Documentary

'Tickled': Campaign Launched To Try To Discredit Provocative Competitive Tickling Documentary

New Zealand journalist David Farrier’s upcoming documentary "Tickled" doesn’t hit theaters until June, but the co-director has already been hit with a lawsuit and a website devoted to discrediting the movie.

On top of the lawsuit and website, several journalists were also contacted about their coverage of the documentary from the Twitter account @kjclarkee, an unverified account that identifies itself as belonging to Kevin Clarke, a producer for Jane O’Brien Media.

The documentary that played at Sundance and the True/False Film Festival earlier this year focuses on the endurance tickling contests held by Jane O’Brien Media, which the film states is run by David D’Amato. The doc exposes some troubling practices at the company, which Farrier first got involved with after trying to write a story about the contests.

"Their first reply was ‘we don’t want to deal with a homosexual journalist,’" Farrier told IndieWire in a previous interview. "That comment is what kicked this whole thing off. They wrote that on their public Facebook page."

Even before making the documentary, Farrier discovered Jane O’Brien Media to be a particularly litigious company. After blogging about their interaction with Jane O’Brien Media, Farrier and his co-director Dylan Reeve received notices from attorneys alleging defamation. The involvement of lawyers indicated to Farrier and Reeve that there was a larger story worth pursuing, so they began work on their investigation.

Farrier is not worried about landing in hot legal water, however, as he sought the help of lawyers himself prior to making his documentary to ensure his movie would be protected against lawsuits. HBO and Magnolia are also on board to distribute the film, and haven’t blinked, despite the lawsuit.

Farrier told IndieWire that anyone wondering who to believe in the spat between him and D’Amato should "see the film and make up their own minds."

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