David Farrier, New Zealand television journalist and director of the Sundance film Tickled, has now been taken to court by David D’Amato, who is featured in the film.
D’Amato has filed a federal complaint against MPI Media Group, Tickle Films, its directors and producers and a former business partner.
The movie tackled the topic of “competitive endurance tickling” and was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January this year.
D’Amato claims that although lead defendant, Farrier, initially focused on the sport, he later shifted “from explanatory to defamatory and expository endeavours”.
In a written complaint, he said the film alleges he partook in “ongoing criminal conduct” including paedophilia.
“The film claims D’Amato ‘had minors filmed being tickled and that he worked at six different schools in six years,’ thus falsely accusing plaintiff of abusing minors, paedophilia, child pornography and abuse of his students while employed by a school,” D’Amago’s complaint read.
“D’Amato was never dismissed nor asked to leave from his school position for inappropriate behaviour,” he added.
He also claims the film accuses him of “being a child molester, abusing children, or harming children”.
Allegedly, the movie also made numerous references to the New York based insurance law firm, D'Amato & Lynch, founded by David D’Amato’s father, George D’Amato.
“The film accuses George G. D’Amato of using money and prestige to illicitly influence the outcome of a judicial court proceeding, thus falsely defaming the business reputation of the law firm, any trust established in George D’Amato’s name, plaintiff and the deceased,” the complaint said.
Finally, he accused the film of further defamation through claims that he served time in prison despite only spending a six-month period in a halfway house.
The complaint adds that the film ends by implying that D’Amato is “still shooting models” and “terrorising young men”.