Socialite's 'year of cyber hell'

By Rachel Grunwell

Pearl Going is said to have been through 'a year of hell.' Photo / Herald on Sunday
Pearl Going is said to have been through 'a year of hell.' Photo / Herald on Sunday

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.

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.

North Shore Police Sergeant Scott Cunningham confirmed police had received a formal complaint from a woman alleging she had been threatened. He said the complaint was made at Auckland City Police Station and had been forwarded to him to investigate.

Cunningham expected the file to reach him tomorrow. He said he would look into the matter but could not comment further.

Going refused to comment when contacted on Friday, but a source said she had been through "a year of hell".

The source said Going was the innocent victim of a cyber hate-campaign, there was no foundation for the criticism and she had fought back with legal action.

Wellington barrister and Victoria University law school lecturer Steven Price is believed to have acted for Going but would not comment because she was a client. She is now understood to have contacted another lawyer also specialising in internet law.

Blogger Cameron Slater, known as Whale Oil, confirmed he was behind a website about Going started in June last year.

He said he had never met her and they had spoken on the phone only once.

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.

Slater said he closed down one of the websites after Going threatened to sue him. He had planned to fight back in court but changed his mind after his company website, whaleoil.co.nz, was attacked and disabled for two days.

Slater said he had nothing to do with the site being reactivated late last year or any threats against Going and would defend any allegations she made against him.

Canterbury Law School associate professor Ursula Cheer said it could sometimes be hard to take down websites with domain names that originated overseas.

"A number of celebrities have fought to get their domain names back," she said. "It's like the wild west, this whole area [of technology]". She said forensic experts might argue you can track people "no matter what", but that usually required a lot of resources and energy.

- Herald on Sunday

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 24 May 2017 10:55:58 Processing Time: 397ms