Dad of Roast Buster the face of new online venture

Hollywood actor Anthony Ray Parker will be the face of a major campaign by a new internet venture this week - three weeks after going to ground with his "Roast Buster" son.

Son Joseph Parker and his friend Beraiah Hales boasted online of their involvement with the group, which media exposed this month. They had bragged on Facebook, YouTube and ask.fm of having sex with drunk, under-age girls.

Now Parker's father is fronting advertisements for RealStew, a Kiwi-grown web browser application that allows users to integrate chat, email and social media on one platform.

Police have faced criticism for conflicting statements about inquiries into the Roast Busters group, and have tasked Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus with conducting a review of the case.

After initially challenging girls to come forward with complaints, police were forced to admit one 13-year-old girl had laid a formal complaint of rape and three others had talked to police - but no charges had been laid.

Neither Los Angeles-based Anthony Ray Parker nor his son have commented to the media about the case and have evaded attempts to contact them. The day after the scandal broke, Anthony Ray's New Zealand agent, Gail Cowan, said he wanted privacy and "has no interest in speaking to the media".

Tomorrow, however, a new internet platform will be launched and Parker will appear in publicity material and advertising. It is understood the actor recorded his contributions to the campaign before the scandal broke and he plans to appear at tomorrow's launch. A RealStew spokesman confirmed the involvement of the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and The Matrix star this week. RealStew is described as "an online solutions company that started in a Kiwi garage four years ago".

"We have been saddened by the revelations as reported in the media and our hearts go out to the victims," the company said. "We know Anthony as a man of integrity with a big heart that will be aching some time and we won't turn our back on him."

The company said it could effect positive social change through its business and putting resources into lifting standards in society, though the spokesman conceded that would not change the past for the victims.

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- Herald on Sunday

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