An outrageous picture of Chiefs rugby star Hika Elliot has been posted on the internet in the belief it might derail his All Black career.
But the picture had already been briefly posted on Twitter by his girlfriend Anna Morton as a practical joke before being removed. The image appeared to show a private part of his body, but was in fact a bottle opener.
An obsessive fan who runs several rugby fan sites found the image, has assumed the picture was real and threatened in a series of online posts to release it. Yesterday, the person finally uploaded it.
The person claims to be a male United States citizen who has a Twitter account under the name David Jones.
Elliot's agent Kent Hale said they were trying to get the image removed. "It's an image that Hika hasn't taken and he wasn't consulted before it was placed online but he is being hung out to dry."
Netsafe executive director Martin Cocker said it could be seen as online harassment. It reinforced the saying "once you post it online, it stays online".
"Given that the picture was never meant for public consumption, was apparently accidentally posted and then removed, and was retained by a third party service, I would argue that this image was not in the public domain in a practical sense," he said.
Private investigator Ron McQuilter said the person was a sinister internet stalker.