Tickled (2016) Movie Script

Hilary Barry: It's been a
harrowing week in the news,
so now it's something much
lighter and more fun.
It's time for New Zealand's
favorite pop culture reporter,
David farrier.
David: What do you make
of New Zealanders so far?
Me? Uh, I think that they're...
They've been nice.
Everyone has been cool so far.
David: What's the main thing
you're trying to achieve here?
Because obviously
you've created a bit of a--
He's dead.
- Now we're gonna spin around.
- Yeah.
Whoa! Holy!
It's so tiring. Whoa!
David: And what's your nickname
that you've got now?
The donkey lady.
Lady: Look out!
Oh, look, we're going
- to have a reporter kicked.
It's quite a kick.
David: I can't say I've ever
interviewed anyone
that looks
exactly like you before.
David: I've made a career out of
looking at the weird
- and bizarre side of life.
So when I discovered a strange
video online,
I knew I'd found
my next story.
It's good. It's good.
David: An American company
called Jane o'brien media
was running a monthly event.
Young athletes from anywhere
on the planet could apply.
If selected they got
free flights to la,
four nights in a really
nice hotel and $1500 cash.
It was called competitive
endurance tickling.
Man: You're with the cet,
a competitive endurance tickling
group we got here.
And, uh, first of all I'd like
to give a shout to you,
Jane o'brien media,
for making this happen.
- Thanks, Jane.
- We all appreciate it.
Fuck off!
Guys! Oh, my god!
David: Their Facebook page
was popular,
with thousands of likes.
And with everyone in
Adidas gear,
it seemed to be some
kind of tickling league.
David: It was one of
the strangest sports I'd seen.
Man: No!
David: So, of course,
I told Jane o'brien media
I'd like to do an interview.
Instead of getting a
yes or no, I got this.
Woman: "To be brutally frank,
association with a
homosexual journalist
is not something
we will embrace.
We desperately do not want
a homosexual participant base
applying for this project.
My concern is that your
journalistic style, fan base,
and reputation
in your own country.
Regards, Debbie kuhn,
Jane o'brien media."
It was a strange response,
especially considering the
sport did seem slightly...
And over the coming weeks,
Debbie and Jane kept e-mailing.
Woman: "The competitive
reality tickling
is a passionately
and exclusively heterosexual
athletic endurance activity.
We have recently read a googled
article about the knowledge
of your living with a
homosexual partner
becoming quite a stir
in New Zealand."
"The remainder of the globe
does not in all corners
share some of the more liberal
acceptance of your lifestyle."
"To me anything concerning
is at best
an objective disorder."
"Shame on you!"
"Little gay kiwis." "Faggot."
David: It was hard to take
the insults seriously,
given what Jane was producing.
If anything, it made me
more curious than ever.
Woman: Your call
has been forwarded
to the voicemail for
Jane o'brien media.
David: With no one picking up
the phone,
I got my geeky friend Dylan
to do some digging
into this mysterious company
and this overly
aggressive woman.
Dylan: So, I'm going to just
scroll up. So here we go.
So, it's janeobrienmedia.Com.
It's registered to nederdietsen.
David: He discovered that while
Jane o'brien media
seemed to be
operated out of America,
it was owned by a company in
Germany called nederdietsen,
which owned nearly 300 domain
names all related to tickling.
This tickling wormhole was
getting deeper,
so Dylan and I
blogged about what we'd found.
Man: So, the pay's good.
Man: What? Okay, hold on.
David: Our story
got a lot of attention,
being picked up
on websites like reddit
and an American podcast.
- Man 1: Back up. Back up.
- Man 2: When I say
competitive tickling, what do
you think I'm talking about?
Man 1: I mean, I think you're
talking about, uh,
some sort of organized sport--
- man 2: Yeah.
- ...Of tickling.
Man 2: Basically what happened
was this kind of blew up
on the Internet this week,
because a dude in New Zealand,
a reporter, like, happened
across this Facebook page.
Man 1: But is it just for fun?
They just...
I mean,
obviously it's just for fun?
Man 2: Is it just for fun?
- It's tickling.
Man 1: Sorry, I don't think that
question's ever been asked
about tickling before.
It's like a martian question
- about tickling.
- "Is it for fun?"
David: People were so interested
by what we discovered,
Dylan and I decided to make
a documentary
about this
utterly bizarre subject.
Two weeks later,
we heard from Jane o'brien's
New York attorney,
Romeo salta.
He'd recently made
headlines in a case
involving a gay porn star
who chopped a man up
and mailed his body parts
to some politicians.
Things certainly weren't
getting any less weird.
His letter told us to stop
what we were doing, or else.
Soon we were receiving e-mails
from salta telling us
that legal action
had been filed in the us.
I had no money to hire a
New Zealand lawyer,
let alone face
the American justice system.
Then, to top it all off,
Jane o'brien media told us
they were flying three people
across the world from New York
to New Zealand to see us.
They're clearly serious about
stopping this documentary.
Jane wouldn't tell us what
flight they were arriving on,
but she did tell us the day.
So from 05:00 am,
I waited at arrivals.
Not sure what to expect,
I figured I'd disarm
the situation
with a rainbow-colored sign.
David: How's it going?
I thought I'd make up
a good welcoming sign.
Good. How are you, sir?
That's all right. I thought
I'd arrive. How was the flight?
Oh, good.
Air New Zealand?
Oh, good. Hey, guys.
Kevin, nice to meet you, sir.
David. Nice to meet you.
You can. I gift this to you.
As a sign, I thought
it was pretty good.
Well, look, let's line up
a time to meet this week.
David: Tomorrow?
- Adam:
- Marko:
Okay, tomorrow works well.
- Kevin:
- Marko:
David: Oh, that's okay. It's the
New Zealand hospitality.
- David: You can get me there.
- Kevin:
David: Yeah, we're just rolling
from the beginning. Yeah, yeah.
Okay. We've got a thing
in New Zealand,
we're okay to film
in public spaces.
So I'm just following
the journey.
Okay, all right. Well, we're--
It's not--
David: Okay. Well, I mean,
we're shooting a documentary,
so we'll keep... it's a--
David: Mm.
David: Okay.
Okay. We're okay to film in
public spaces in New Zealand,
so we're doing that here.
All right, we'll see you soon.
- Marko:
- David: Okay, sounds good.
All right, see you soon.
No worries. We'll talk soon.
David: Hey, Marko.
It's Dave farrier. How are you?
Yeah, good. How are you
settling into Auckland?
Okay. No, that sounds
good to me, I think.
Just, Dylan and I both talked,
and we just weren't confident,
or didn't think it was
a good idea
just to go straight to a room.
Maybe it's a cultural thing.
But a conference room
- um, of your choosing,
- Marko: Okay.
Whether it's at the Hilton or
elsewhere, is absolutely fine.
Marko: And, um...
David: Sure.
David: Kevin didn't take
to Dylan very well
and wants to meet me alone.
I quickly make this
covert piece of technology.
A camera in a coffee cup.
Kevin: What's the end game here?
What do you get at the end
or even if you get everything
you want?
- David: Mm. Mm.
- And what are we risking here?
You know, do we really want
someone coming after you
with all that money?
I've known a lot of
rich people in my life.
I've worked for a lot of them.
They don't work by the
same set of rules.
They don't dangle them out
of buildings any more,
but they don't have to.
And that's the thing.
They start suing,
and you're done halfway through
or a quarter of the way through
because it costs so much
to defend yourself.
David: So unless...
Essentially, I mean,
unless we stop the doco,
we're gonna be fucked.
Really. It seems that's
what it comes down to.
Kevin: I'm not gonna use those
words directly,
because that wouldn't
be prudent.
But... let me rephrase.
Unless you stopped...
Unless we can figure out a way
to ameliorate that situation,
we all are.
David: Facing lawsuits and
a company with deep pockets,
I wondered if we should
just walk away.
But Dylan was part of this now
and didn't want to give in to
a bunch of bullies.
Dylan wants to pursue this
on his own?
David: Uh, I gather from
what he's saying, yeah.
Kevin: Okay.
Um, if Dylan wants to do that,
Dylan does...
Dylan will do that.
If you don't want to do that,
then just walk away from it.
David: Yeah.
Kevin: And I will... Dylan
will be dealt with accordingly.
How was school?
Marko: The main
thing, David, you know, that I
wanted to tell you is that
I think that you're brilliant.
And that you have
a great career.
So I was really,
really happy to find out
that you wanted just to
distance yourself from it.
And I don't understand why
Dylan would not want to.
What I'm worried about too,
I know Kevin says,
"well, if he wants to
go ahead with it,
let him go ahead with it."
But he'll become a real target,
and believe me,
it will be really ugly for him.
And I would...
I would hate to see that too,
because I know he has a family
and, you know, he's probably,
uh, a good bloke down deep.
David: I've never heard threats
like this in my life,
and all of this
over some tickling!
Kevin and Marko fly
back to America.
And a few days later,
Dylan and I follow.
Something about bullies
with way too much money
has convinced me
I shouldn't drop it.
Plus, we think there's a
competitive tickling shoot
happening this week.
We've reached out to nearly
a hundred boys in the videos,
but they all seem too
nervous to talk.
Finally tj agrees to meet us.
We met Kevin Clarke
downtown la somewhere.
I can't remember exactly where
it was at, but it was a studio.
He seemed pretty
normal at the time.
My first impression of him,
you know, he was just, like,
kind of...
Kind of a little weird.
You know,
I was young at the time,
didn't think nothing of it,
and I was like, "cool."
You know, $2000 or whatever,
"yeah. It's gonna be cool."
It was actually a hard
time for my family.
A family member of mine was
going through cancer, and money
was tight at the household.
So I was a little bit desperate
at the time as well for money,
working on the side,
and doing what I can. So when
i heard this dollar sign,
I was like, "yeah," you know,
"I'll definitely do that."
And then I went inside
and noticed that it was
all guys in there.
And that's when I was like,
"oh, dang!" Like...
And I didn't know I was
gonna get tied down.
I had no idea what it'd be for.
Honestly, I was like,
"okay, what?"
At that point I was like,
"all right, you know what?
It's already going down.
I don't really know
what it's for,
but hopefully
it never gets out."
No, no, no. Not any fuckin'...
Ah! Fuck! That actually
tickles, dude.
Ah! Fuck!
Being violated on so many
different levels right now.
There was other athletes.
There was mma guys.
There was a bodybuilder,
and then there was a couple
of actors, normal actors.
I've seen some of them on
TV commercials. Normal guys.
Like, completely normal people.
Get the fuck off my feet!
It was a torture project.
That's what I believe
Kevin Clarke told me.
There was something to do with
even a military tactic,
or something like that.
He was gonna do...
I think he said
Jane was doing a project
on using tickling
as a military tactic.
And at that point, I...
I knew it was complete bullshit,
you know?
I was like, "okay, the military
is gonna use tickling
as a torture tactic?"
David: When did the video
come back to get you?
About a year, maybe
a little more, ago.
I would Google myself
once in a while,
to read old articles
or see what teams might have
listed me in an article
or try-outs.
And to my surprise,
a video was on YouTube.
Hello. I'm tj, and I'm here
on a tickling competition.
And, uh, first question is:
"Are you ticklish?"
Well, obviously I'm ticklish if
I'm here, so,
that's kind of
a silly question. But, uh...
It was just me
sitting in front of the camera
talking about the,
uh, tickling process.
Just weird things. And so I was
like, "okay, it's not that bad."
"When you are asked,
'are you ticklish?'
how do you normally
respond and why?"
Normally, I say,
"no, I'm not ticklish."
So I emailed Jane and asked
her to take the video down.
She didn't ever reply.
So I took the matters
into my own hands,
and I, uh, told YouTube that
uh, they're illegally
using my name.
So YouTube took the video down.
That's when it all started.
Woman: "Now, I am laughing."
"I don't think you've grasped
the magnitude
of what you have provoked."
"I'm interested to see how you
handle the fallout.
So far, badly."
"Regards, Debbie j. Kuhn."
That's when this Deborah
person popped into my life.
I mean,
just all hell broke loose.
Every kind of video search you
can find, it was up there.
And then it
pops up in my emails,
and then it pops up
more on YouTube,
and it just starts
appearing everywhere.
This video...
Just, all of them.
All of them start blowing up.
And there was threats.
It said, "watch out!
Your family better watch out
because we're gonna put your
last name to shame.
Any time you search your last
name, it's gonna pop up."
Like, direct threats.
They ended up making a website,
putting my
personal information:
My name, my address,
my personal phone number,
my email address,
all with just dumb lies.
Then Debbie kuhn starts going
off on me left and right,
sending emails to the
high school that I coach at.
Woman: "I have additional
information as a past employer.
You don't want this
guy in your league.
Can you afford the distraction,
the press,
with an outed gay guy
having a male tickling fetish,
in which he likes to tickle
and be tickled
by tied-up other gay
athletes and bodybuilders?"
False accusations,
saying I'm a drug addict
and I was a child molester
and I'm gay, and this and that,
which none of those things
have ever been true.
I've always been very proud.
The way I walk around,
I'm proud of who I am.
You know what I mean?
So to speak.
I'm confident in myself
as an athlete,
as a person, as a player.
But when I'd go to try-outs,
the first thing
I would think about is,
"well, I wonder
if these coaches
have looked up that video?"
And it's happened.
It has happened.
I've been released
from football teams.
They've told me, uh,
that I'm the best player
on that team at that position,
but because it is
a distraction for the media,
they don't need that attention
and they'll go with somebody
else 'cause they don't feel
like explaining it.
You know, and I've actually
dealt with a lot of things
because of it.
It's cost me money, it's cost me
jobs, it's caused me harassment,
which is exactly what Debbie
kuhn and Jane o'brien wanted.
So, I mean, more or less in
that aspect, they've won.
David: It's obvious we're not
the only ones being harassed
by Jane o'brien media.
And there are so many websites
made up like tj's
which seem to exist purely
to shame the guys
who've been tickled.
What goes on at these shoots,
and why is she so aggressive?
Dylan's been doing
some research,
and he thinks he knows where
the next shoot is happening.
We stake out the studio,
hoping to find out
how a competitive
tickling shoot goes down.
Dominic: Okay, car.
And another car. Two cars.
David: Two cars.
Dominic: Can you see
what the car's doing?
I've lost him.
- Dominic: Who's that guy?
- David: Oh, that's Marko.
Dylan: Oh, yeah. And we've got
four guys going in so far.
Dominic: Four guys.
Dylan: That's the guy
from New Zealand.
David: Yep, there's Kevin.
David: We could hear laughter
coming out of the vents.
It went on for hours,
the boys occasionally
taking breaks.
You know, this is actually
fucking creepy as fuck.
Dylan: Like, this feels
to me like a pep talk.
Dominic: Yeah.
David: As the day wraps up,
I want to give Kevin
one last chance
to talk about what's going on.
With pending lawsuits,
I'm cautious and don't want to
storm into the studio.
They haven't locked the door.
Dylan: I think we go.
All right. Okay, let's go.
- David: We're good?
- Dominic: Yep, we're good.
Dominic: Come this way.
David: Here we go.
We've been spotted.
Hello, Marko. Hey, guys.
Adam, how's it going?
Hello, sir.
We're not welcome here?
All right.
Well, we'll head off.
You don't want to do
any final chats or anything?
Last opportunity.
That's all we can do.
Turn right
on bellevue Avenue,
then take the first right.
I think... yeah, uh,
after New Zealand and that,
I think it's
safe to say that we don't...
We don't have an interview
with Kevin or Marko.
And we certainly
weren't getting
any more of the competitors
to talk on camera.
They were all too terrified,
hoping if they stayed quiet,
the harassment would go away.
Dylan: I mean, are we making the
whole thing worse for everyone
just by even being here?
David: Yeah.
I think it's possible.
I worry that we make it
worse for some people who...
Who've gotten through the
worst of it, you know?
Dylan: Mm.
David: Jane o'brien clearly
isn't being honest
about what the videos are for.
And I'm convinced that despite
the Adidas gear,
it's not a real sport.
I've tracked down
a man in Florida
who also makes tickling videos,
but, unlike Jane, is more
than happy to talk about it.
Richard: People ask me about
what is the appeal of tickling?
It's kind of like the whips
and chains, you know,
bondage sort of thing, where
somebody's getting flogged.
But it's just really brought
down a level, you know?
It's like kind of a sadistic
exerting your will
on someone else,
and having them do something
out of their control
like laughing without
being able to get away,
as if it's, uh,
tickle torture to them.
David: And a lot of people
don't seem to know
about the tickling fetish.
Do you think it's a little bit
more unknown?
Oh, totally.
Yeah, completely.
'Cause most people, you know,
know about a foot fetish,
um, but tickling?
Most people are like,
"oh, wow. Is that a thing?"
It was in 1999. I had just
gotten out of grad school,
you know, so I just got
a video camera,
put together a little
business plan,
talked to one of my friends
and he financed me,
when I started the site,
I think for $6000 or $7000.
It got pretty much an
immediate response.
I was making enough
after a year
to quit my job
and do it full-time.
David: So this is it?
- This is it.
- This is the studio.
- Mm-hm.
- The chair.
And then the changing room,
And so, this whole place
is purely for the tickling?
David: Oh, so you've got a few
different spaces, right?
Richard: Yeah, yeah.
I used to do all this
out of my house.
David: Yeah.
And then it was, you know,
a parade of people coming in,
do all this, have to clean up.
You know, have to clean
it up before a shoot.
And this way I can walk away.
Yeah, this is great.
Like, "I'm tired. Going home."
David: You're done.
Well, this is work, right?
It's like work, home.
Richard: Mm-hm. Exactly.
Have you done stuff like this
before for anyone else?
Or this sort of a unique
thing for you?
Uh, unique thing.
I never worked for
a tickling site before.
- Okay.
- Man: No.
David: And what did you first
think when you got the pitch?
Man: I mean, I laughed about it.
I'm like,
this can't be really serious,
like, people really can't...
Enjoy watching this
or getting it done.
But, um, I said, "why not?"
You know, I'm more of like
the risk-taker.
I'd rather say I did something
than didn't do something.
So I came down,
really was kind of nervous,
didn't know what to expect.
And then...
But Richard put me at ease,
and once you're trapped
in you're there.
So, I mean, you might
as well enjoy it.
All right.
- Richard: Okay, ready?
- I think you're...
Take it easy on me today.
Richard: Yeah, yeah.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Man: That's good.
- Got to enjoy my freedom now.
- Richard: Yeah.
- Because I cannot.
- Richard: Wave goodbye.
I am not getting out.
Oh, shit.
The world of tickling.
So, catch your breath.
- Breath caught.
- Okay.
All right.
Now tell everybody
what a tough guy you are.
Just go.
Oh, my gosh.
I hate this.
David: So when did you realize
that you found tickling
to be an erotic thing?
Richard: I was very young,
you know, probably five or six.
You know, very, very young.
You see something in a cartoon
or a magazine that, you know,
kind of interests
you as a little kid,
and for me it would be,
you know, like,
cartoon characters being
tickled or tied up or,
you know, that sort of thing.
And it would, you know,
fascinate me,
but I had no idea why.
Richard: How do you feel?
I feel tired.
- I feel sweaty.
- Can I get you some water?
Yeah, water would probably work.
Richard: I started to become
comfortable with this, uh,
fetish and this part of myself,
and started to really realize
that it was a part of myself,
when I...
When I got on aol
and then did a search
for what I was looking for
and found that, "wow!
There's actually,
you know, quite a lot of
other people
that are into this."
At the time,
the late '90s,
was, um, somebody that posted
on the message boards a lot.
And she said her name was
Terri, Terri tickle.
And Terri disisto, she put
in what her real name was.
She always had a picture
of herself.
You know, a blonde,
pretty, college-aged girl.
And, she always posted
the same verbiage.
Something like,
"this is not porn.
My interest is in tickling."
And she just said that she was
a tickling fanatic and...
But, I mean, these posts
were everywhere.
And then, um, some videos
started popping up,
you know, very,
you know, innocent.
And, those are probably
the first
tickle videos that I
ever saw on the Internet.
David: There are still traces of
Terri tickle online
from the mid-'90s,
and as Richard said,
she was tickle-obsessed.
Like Jane,
she also hired other people
to shoot the videos she wanted.
Well, the, uh,
just strange, rich brat,
I guess you could say.
Someone who, uh,
got her rocks off by, uh,
seeing guys, uh,
tied and tickled.
Obviously an extreme dominatrix.
David: For most of his life,
Dave starr has worked
on the edges
of the entertainment industry,
even acting in a
couple of pornos.
During the mid-'90s,
he noticed Terri's online posts
wanting tickling videos...
Lots of them.
Dave: Terri was, uh, out there
looking for guys, uh, 18 to 23.
And I, uh, figured
that it would, um...
Be something
right up my alley,
based on my, uh,
working in casting.
David: What sort of things was
she recruiting for specifically?
Uh, tickle torture films.
Tickle torture videos.
Can you turn that thing
around so I can see it?
Man: All right.
- Is that all right?
- Yeah, that's good.
Dave: She claimed it was
for a private collection,
so I was thinking,
"okay, amateur hour."
But me, I rapidly took it
into a professional level.
Man 1:
Okay, are you, uh, ticklish?
Man 2: Uh, yes, I am.
Man 1: Okay,
step forward about a foot.
Okay. Place your hands behind
your head, inter-clasp them.
Step back a little further,
Okay, right about there.
Okay, inter-clasp them
and do not release them
at any time
during the entire tickle test.
Do your worst on this one.
Dave: We would put them
in through
their stage one audition,
which is the questions
and the test tickles.
Man 1: Do not collapse.
Stay looking up at us.
Stay facing us.
Dave: Stage two is tying them to
the table, tickling them,
flipping them over
every 15 minutes,
kind of like a sausage or meat.
Dave: And then after that, uh,
we had the competitive tickling
at that point.
Tickle wars and stuff like that.
And that would involve
a massive production.
Woman: Okay, don't laugh.
You're giggling already,
aren't you?
Well, you just might be
the type of person
that David starr
is looking for.
He is a Hollywood producer
working on a new
reality-based game show
called tickle talk.
Woman: It might be
preferable to
eating rats or grubs
on survivor
but just barely.
I'm Anne James,
ksen k96 news.
David: Dave starr had steady
work for five years,
even when Terri was
hospitalized for six months.
During that time,
she just wrote
letters specifying
exactly what she wanted
in the tickling videos.
"David, merry Christmas!
So sorry,
I'm in the hospital with mono."
"David, just a few things
I need you to do..."
"Tell them I will send the
computer as soon as I'm well."
"His name is Josh." "I hope
to be online again in feb."
"I'm still sick in bed."
"That's all for now. Td."
My most ticklish place is,
i guess...
Definitely, like...
It'd have to be in my legs...
More than, like, my armpits
or my feet, I think, but...
Dave: At that time
she wanted to put up
and did indeed put up
a website for a while, uh,
unauthorized releasing
of the videos...
Against the
agreement of the talent,
and I flipped my lid.
And, lo and behold,
she goes and registers domains
in their names
and then proceeds to...
Release all their content on
to those particular websites.
Alden: She was, like,
sending me emails about, um,
"what do you think
your mother's
gonna think about this?"
And then, like, I'd be like,
you know, "fuck you, bitch."
And she'd be, like...
Like, totally antagonizing.
I mean, she was such a cunt.
It was an assault not just on
me but on my family, you know?
I mean, I couldn't have a more
conservative family, you know?
I'm, I'm in a family full of
republican, military people,
and I'm a...
I was a professional banker.
And here I am, like,
with basically a porn site,
where I'm not naked, but,
i mean, I might as well be.
You know, this was
ruining my life at the time.
That's how I felt.
It certainly was affecting my
ability to function,
because it was
so emotionally draining.
Part of the reason was because
there's nobody to help me.
It's like you lose control over,
you know, your life.
Dave: Well, that's when the,
uh, crap started happening,
uh, with me.
Um, you decide,
"okay, because I, uh,
I closed down
submissions for her,
I guess, I basically was like
her tickling drug dealer,
and, uh, since she wasn't
getting her drug any more,
she was going through
tickle withdrawals.
David: And what happened?
I started, uh,
receiving the, uh,
strange postcards,
and the, uh, strange messages.
The, uh... the, uh, talent was
starting to receive messages.
And, uh, she also deployed a
thing called the phone blaster,
which was to call
everybody with obscene messages.
This person's on drugs.
This person's gotta be
on crystal or something,
or taking cocaine up the ass,
or something like that.
It was weird.
I'm glad to be able to make
this available to you.
David: David kept a number of
letters Terri had sent him
and was keen to show me
the extent of the abuse.
- All right.
- This is the magic stuff.
All right, what have we got?
Yeah. Uh,
these are basically copies
of what she would post online.
So who's Barbara?
Is that your...?
That's my mother.
David: "Hairy and horny.
Hairy and horny.
Jewish tickle filmer
David w. Starr
is hook-nosed,
hairy and horny."
She's used that tagline
for many, many, many times.
What did your...?
What did your mother
think of this stuff
when this turned up? I mean...
Actually, her phrase was, uh...
Here's a, uh, note that she left
me because, uh,
she would hold these for me
in the mail
and basically just say,
"here's another nasty thing."
And that one actually
is unopened.
I've never even opened
it to this date.
And let's see what our little
illustrious friend had to say.
Oh, god. So it's a card.
David: "Roses are red,
violets are bue."
Can't spell worth shit.
"David w. Starr has
brought this upon you.
Perhaps you wish,
perhaps instead,
that David your failure,
not Edward, were dead."
That's a reference to
my brother, who is dead.
That's, uh, really extreme.
A little bit psycho.
But, I mean, what...? When you
were getting all this material
and some of it's talking about
your brother who
- has passed away and...
- Uh-huh.
Writing this stuff
to your mother,
I mean, that,
that must have...
I mean, that... that's not nice
receiving that on weekly basis.
Uh, no, but it was on a
weekly basis, uh, yeah.
Yeah, where did
they have the time?
- Jeez, it's a birthday card.
- Yeah.
"Happy birthday.
Edward starr dead."
This is really cruel, right?
It's very sick.
David: The more I hear
about Terri disisto,
the more she sounds
like Jane o'brien.
To state the obvious, they
both really enjoy tickling.
They also like being in
control and lashing out.
I really appreciate it
and stay in touch.
David: And it turns out
Terri's habits started
way before Dave starr
got involved.
I've found a journalist who'd
spent a year uncovering
the truth about Terri disisto
during the '90s.
Hal: Terri disisto's mo
was to bait these boys
into making
tickling videos with
things that they wanted, right?
You know, I mean,
imagine being a teenage boy,
and, like, you get this random
email saying, you know,
"i saw your posting about the
phish concert, and, uh,
how would you like to go?"
Or, " I can send you
$1000 cash."
And you're like...
You're living in your dorm
at James Madison university.
You're like, "yeah, sure.
You're gonna send me
$1000 cash. Right."
Fedex pulls up in front of your
dorm the next day,
and there is ten $100 bills.
You haven't done anything.
She would just keep sending
them whatever they wanted,
you know. Computers,
cameras, more cash,
tickets to rock concerts.
Then at some point,
even a teenage boy
has all the toys
that they want.
And they say, "i... I'm done."
But I think the thing that
she hates the most was no.
It was like...
A bomb went off.
And she'd say, "well,
if you don't do it,
I'm gonna make your life hell."
"I'm gonna send clips
of these videos
to your wrestling coach."
"I'm gonna send clips of
these videos to your mom."
"I'm gonna send clips of these
videos to your grandmother."
"I'm gonna send
clips of these videos
to the president
of your university."
"I'm gonna post them
all over the Internet."
"I'm gonna pretend to be you
and do things on the Internet
that are gonna create a terrible
reputation for you."
"I'm gonna shut down the entire
college campus computer system
at your college, and they're
gonna think it's you."
And then it happened.
Debbie: The first story I did
was because
she was attacking, um,
drexel university.
And I found the student who, um,
had made a number
of videos for her.
And when he came to
Philadelphia to go to college,
she wanted him to
continue making these videos,
and he wanted to cut off his
relationship with her.
And she retaliated
on so many levels.
Their email servers' computers
were being shut down
with these
denial-of-service attacks
that indicated that they
were coming from him.
Email-bombing the white house,
indicating that
it came from him.
Yeah, that's pretty serious
stuff when the secret service
shows up in your college dorm
and you're 19 years old.
I was just curious,
and I somehow
started contacting
Terri on aol.
She had an account.
And we would have these
chats late at night.
And I was curious what kind of
mind was behind this...
Celebrated Internet personage.
And it was,
it was kind of crazy.
We would have
these conversations,
and she would...
When she realized
that I did wine, she would say,
"oh, I'm having a
glass of chardonnay!"
And I could just hear this
voice because as it went on,
it was almost like she was
completely intoxicated
with this power
that she had to...
To be so destructive
against people.
Hal: I got word about a kid
who refused to make the videos.
He posted that
he needed some help,
and somebody said
they would help him.
And somehow he got
emailed a file,
and he was told, "if you email
this zip file to Terri,
she will leave you alone."
And then he sent me
that zip file.
You know, and I remember
opening it up and thinking...
"Wow! You know, this is it.
Like, this is...
This is the smoking gun."
David: The zip file contained
documents from her hard drive.
As expected, there were files
relating to tickling shoots.
But they also revealed the
true identity of Terri tickle.
Hal: David d'amato.
She is really he, right?
Debbie: He was an assistant
principal in a high school?
I just...
Couldn't believe it.
I don't know why,
but it just seemed...
Here is this sadistic person
exploiting these young people,
often underage,
making their lives miserable,
embarrassing them,
to an extent that it's every...
It goes against everything that
an educator should be doing.
Hal: When I did some more
checking, I found out that
he had worked at, like,
eight schools in ten years.
Which to me was
always a red flag
that there was something
else going on.
I mean, that's more than
just sheer incompetence.
And then I found
social security numbers for her
that he had
gotten fraudulently...
With dead people's names.
So I contacted the FBI.
I turned over all my
information to them.
Within a week, they busted him.
Debbie: We were shocked
at the sentencing
because he got off so easy.
For somebody who had done so
much damage,
to me it was just extraordinary.
And to not, to not have
restrictions on their
Internet access after that,
how could...?
And the... oh! And the idea that
he was going to law school
was just absurd.
David: It turns out
David d'amato's father, George,
co-founded one of wall street's
biggest law firms,
d'amato & lynch, and David
got a really great lawyer.
Instead of prison, d'amato was
allowed to serve his sentence
in the halfway house
while he studied law
at his father's Alma mater,
Fordham university.
Hal: The judge,
for some reason,
decided that he would endorse
the law school path, right?
Because, like, this is exactly
the kind of person
that should be a lawyer, right?
Somebody who has
defrauded people,
somebody who has
stolen people's identities.
A federal freakin' crime, right?
I mean... like,
you know, stolen identity.
Stolen a social security number
of a dead woman,
of two dead people, right?
It said, "David d'amato,
39, of garden city,
plead guilty
for two federal counts of
computer fraud and abuse."
Nothing about the tickling,
nothing about the boys, nothing
about the identity theft.
Zero. Nothing.
David: Once Fordham became
aware of d'amato's convictions,
his admission was revoked.
No longer able to study law,
d'amato finished
his sentence in prison.
But I've realized that
didn't stop the tickling.
David: So, this is 2002. So this
is writing to David starr,
who would shoot
these boys tickling
and then send the videos...
To Terri. That was a, that's--
because she,
what she would have is...
- Do you want your glasses?
- Back in the early days...
Yeah. Back in the early days...
Terri would have friends
tickle them and send them the...
They were amateur tapes.
- These are now professional?
- Well, this is...
- Look at the date on it.
- '02?
Look at the date.
- Is the "t" Terri?
- Yeah, it's Terri writing.
So that was during, um,
lock-up time.
Oh, in jail. I get it.
"David, a few other things.
Email... explain my illness."
Oh. "Tell him I'll pay
everything owed
as soon as the mono is better."
Oh. "Get headshots."
My god! Oh, my god!
"I won't be online for a while
as I am very sick." Oh.
- Couldn't stop.
- No. No.
David: It seems that
since the mid-'90s,
David d'amato has never
stopped finding elaborate ways
to get young men
to tickle each other.
His persona of Terri tickle
seems to have dropped off the
radar around 2006.
A while later, Jane o'brien
arrived on the scene.
We've posted
this theory online,
and David d'amato is not happy.
He's hired not one, but two
private investigators,
one in New Zealand
and one in New York.
The message is clear. They tell
us to stop what we're doing
and that d'amato has nothing
to do with Jane o'brien media.
On top of that,
David d'amato has also hired
a New Zealand lawyer.
He's demanding
an apology and retraction
or else he'll see us
in a New Zealand court.
We're now being attacked
by Jane o'brien's lawyers
on one side
and David d'amato's
on the other,
both insisting they have
nothing to do with each other.
Once again, we're way
out of our depth.
Things get even more surreal
with a phone call
from Michigan,
where there's a very different
tickling operation
also being run by Jane.
David: So, like,
crime is pretty high--
- Jordan: Yeah--
- ...Here, right?
Murder, robberies, um, rape,
I mean, theft.
It's all up there,
especially for being as small,
um, as what it is.
We've made it now, uh,
on to the top 100 most dangerous
cities in the United States.
Do you think on some level
Jane kind of directed things
here because it is a poor area?
Yeah, you know,
the poverty level, you know,
- is easy to target, you know.
- Mm.
Thousands of dollars
in kids' hands is...
That's a,
that's a big, big deal.
David: Jane has taken a liking
to one of muskegon's main
sports, mixed martial arts.
A group of young, athletic men
desperate for extra money.
Jordan: That's what
she was trying to do,
is break into the mma world.
Because it's not illegal
to tickle somebody
to get out of a submission
in mixed martial arts.
Like, she was trying
to pitch that
because she, like,
looked it up in all the rules
and everything.
But if you tickle a guy in the
middle of that ring
to get out of a submission,
you might step out of the cage
and get punched in the face.
Like, never in a million years
out of all my fights
would I ever try to
tickle somebody
to get out of a submission.
Fuck, no!
David: As an ex-fighter,
Jordan was paid to recruit
tickling talent in the town.
He's the only one in muskegon
prepared to appear on camera.
She offered my one buddy a
2014 Chevy cruze and $30,000.
- What? What for? To tickle?
- Yeah.
Just 'cause, like,
she liked him.
Yeah, right. She...
He was a favorite.
- Like, yeah.
- Yeah.
Asians and redheads
are what they call premiums.
If you get those, like,
she gives you bonuses.
I'm Jordan schillaci,
and this is cet.
Uh, we're gonna be
having a discussion,
more of a debate today about
whether tickling
is effective in
a combat situation.
We ended up setting up
a tickle cell. Like,
where you get guys to come in,
"we'll pay you and you
pay them to audition."
So we'd choose a hotel,
nothing fancy,
and, uh, the guys would come
in and hang out, you know,
smoke, drink, eat pizza,
fuckin', and we'd hurry up
and run through, you know,
five, six, seven guys.
So you're... you were looking
after the tickle cell in
Yeah, they have them set up
all over the us.
Ohio, Michigan,
Florida, New York.
- I mean, they're everywhere.
- Right.
- And they're all for Jane?
- Yeah.
Fuckin' hell.
Jordan: Well, that's where
a lot of people started
getting really
really upset, man.
Because all of sudden
these videos
that are supposed to be
just auditions were on YouTube,
vimeo, and every other
site you could imagine.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.
- Nobody was okay with that.
One of the guys, Brodie,
like, his family was very upset
with him. It was all over.
Like, people just picked on him
and picked on him.
You know, he was underage,
still in school.
And it wasn't supposed
to go out on the Internet.
It wasn't supposed to be put up,
and, uh,
you know,
that just kind of sucked.
Because, like I said,
it took Brodie...
It hit one of the hardest.
Like, this whole situation
and then being underage
and his parents.
Who do you have to turn to?
Who are you going to attack?
No... Jane o'brien's a ghost.
Nobody knows who it is.
Jordan: Cody-bear, no.
This is Colton,
this is my nephew.
- David: Hey, man.
- Colton, how old are you?
How old are you?
- Three.
- You're three?
You're three? All right.
- I'm David.
- I'm Phil. How are you doing?
It's nice to meet you, sir.
I was really, really reluctant
when Jordan
started talking about this.
And he's like, "this lady seems
straight and legit, mom."
I'm like, you know,
"these... these boys are young."
It's easy to believe,
but when you're an old mom,
you're a little more leery
for the boys, and,
I was very leery
right from get-go
that the boys were
gonna get into trouble
and this was not legit.
Jordan: She has all the money in
the world, it seems like,
whoever it is,
to be able to do this.
But they're waiting for
that day that you rely
on that as a sole income.
That was her big,
I think, power trip.
She waited until a bunch of
us relied on that income
because that was our
only source of income.
We'd been doing it for so long,
we didn't think...
She waited until she had
complete control,
basically, over your situation,
and that's when she
wanted to yank that rug
right out from under you.
David: David d'amato. Have you
heard that name before?
In relation to all this stuff?
I am literally, like,
trembling right now.
Are you actually shaking?
Yeah, I'm actually, like,
shaking. Like, I'm not, like...
Like I said, like, from being
from here, I don't take shit.
Like, if I met up with that guy,
I'd punch him right out.
And when he woke up, he'd be
strapped to a chair with a...
Like, I'd be like,
"dude, you're telling me
everything right now."
David: The tickling's still
happening in this town.
Jordan: The money is endless.
I've never seen it stop coming
and just flowing in.
And it's not just through
Michigan and la,
it's everywhere.
Like, england,
Australia, Italy.
I mean, the money's
still coming and going.
David: This tickling empire
is way bigger
than we ever imagined.
We're going to New York
to find David d'amato.
I can feel the rich/bad aura.
David d'amato's address is
listed in garden city,
an affluent suburb
of long island.
He lives on the top floor
of this building.
Lance Roberts speaking.
Oh, hi. It's David speaking.
I just wanted to talk to
David d'amato.
Lance: Um, okay. I can't
give you his phone number.
I really can't even
give you any
personal information on him.
David: Okay.
Lance: Do you know him?
- Yes, I do. Yes.
- You're a friend of his?
Um, I'm not a friend, no,
but I've, um...
I've been trying to get
in touch with him
but have been struggling.
Lance: Okay, what I do is,
I have a way of leaving him
a message.
I can't guarantee that
he's gonna call you back
if he doesn't know you.
- Okay, thank you so much. Bye.
- You're welcome.
D'amato never calls us back,
and we've got no other way to
contact him directly.
So annoying.
It's all right.
There's still tomorrow.
David: But that night we get a
frustrating phone call.
My concern is that we can't
do more or less anything
we have planned for
the rest of the trip.
I know. It's, like,
it's fuckin' insane.
Okay. Bye-bye.
David: All the threats are
worrying our film's producer.
He doesn't want us
to risk provoking
any further legal action
from d'amato.
So he's saying,
"well, what if you do everything
that you were gonna do,
except don't go and
chase d'amato down?"
And I'm like,
"well, anything we do
that lets d'amato know we're
looking into him again."
- Well, from now on in is that.
- Yeah, literally.
So he says, "well, maybe we cut
the thing short, then.
Just go home."
I know it's like...
It's fuckin' insane.
David: The next day we put
chasing d'amato on hold.
I want to know how on earth
a former deputy principal
pays for all this.
We can't find any sign he's
earning money from the videos,
but he's spending lots
of money making them.
He's flying up to ten people
into la almost every month
from all
over the world,
putting them up
in a nice hotel,
paying them thousands in cash.
And that's not even taking
into account
the cost of running
tickle cells,
like the one in muskegon.
Both David's parents
are now deceased,
but his father's law firm is
one of wall street's biggest.
Maybe David is
reaping the benefits
of his father's empire.
D'amato & lynch.
Oh, hi.
I just had an inquiry, um,
about the relationship with,
uh, um,
David d'amato with the company,
the son of George d'amato.
Is there someone I could
talk to about this?
No, I'm sorry. And Mr. d'amato
has been gone for a long time.
Yeah, yeah. I'm looking into the
background to his son, David.
And I'm just trying to figure
out whether he's got
any financial relationship
with the company still.
No, I... I really don't know.
I'm sorry, I can't help you.
Is there someone I could talk to
at d'amato & lynch to find out?
Mm. Not that I believe, no.
I'm sorry.
Okay, but there must be a
way to find out, surely?
- Um, not here. Thank you.
Woman: I haven't seen David
in quite a few years.
I have no knowledge of him now.
Not in many years have I
had any contact with him,
so I really couldn't give
you any information.
David: Yeah, he's been
pretty aggressive towards me,
so I'm just trying to figure
out what his motivations are--
woman: Get away from him,
that's all I can tell you.
- David: Really?
- Yeah. Stay away from him.
David: This was every
conversation I had
with anyone even remotely
related to David d'amato.
"I can't tell you anything,
but stay away."
But all I want to
do is the opposite.
Someone has to confront this
bully, lawsuits or not.
Dylan: Okay. So, this is the car
we're looking for.
It's a Mercedes benz ml430.
David: David d'amato has gone
out of his way to avoid us.
We figure if we wait outside
his apartment long enough,
eventually he'll have to leave.
Dylan: So, that's a Chevrolet.
Oh, hang on a second,
what's this?
What's this? What's this?
Okay, there's a car there.
I can see it.
Now, just in the edge. Hang on.
David: A grand cherokee.
Well, maybe just a cherokee.
But it's certainly
not a Mercedes.
- David: What's the time?
- Dylan: 2:44.
So we've been here for,
like, four hours?
David: We've been waiting
like this for days.
Dylan: Come on.
David: And it seems like
he'll never come out.
Dylan: Okay. Let me just check.
It's also...
It is the right type of car.
It's got white plates.
Hang on. Hang on. Okay.
It's him. It's him.
It's him. It's him.
He's coming out. Just wait here.
Just sit here.
All right, stay cool.
Okay, I'm gonna...
Okay, he's up here.
He's in the right-hand...
Is he in the left-hand Lane?
David: Yeah.
He hasn't turned right.
He's in...
Whoa! You're one car behind him.
You're right in his...
In his mirror now.
- I'm breathing heavily.
- Yeah, same.
Dylan: Okay. Okay. It's cool.
We're right behind him now,
so back off a bit,
so we're not gonna be too close.
Just stay... stay back.
Stay back, David.
We're gonna have to
stop right behind him now.
You might have to take the
camera off the tripod, dom.
David: Yeah, camera
off tripod, please.
Dylan: Starbucks?
Okay, this is perfect.
David: Okay. He'll be a while.
Okay. I'm just gonna go and have
conversation when he comes out.
You've... I've got my
phone if you need me.
David: I'm about to meet
this man who's been
such a threatening figure
in so many lives,
including my own,
and I have simply no idea
what to expect.
- Dylan: He's coming out.
- David: Mr. d'amato.
- Hi, it's Dave farrier.
- D'amato:
David: Hey, how are you?
David: I just wanted
to talk to you briefly.
If I could.
Because I was just...
I'm just worried about...
The legal letters
you've sent me,
and I just wanted to know
if we could
just talk about it face-to-face.
David: Is there?
I'm on a journalism visa,
so I'm, I'm okay to be here.
I'm okay to be here.
But I just...
Could we just talk a
little bit about--
I just wanted to find
out what's going on.
Because the last heard I was
gonna be in a us court
and a New Zealand court,
and I really just wanted to
sort this out face-to-face.
And I just want to sort of...
I mean,
I'm not here to antagonize.
I just genuinely want
to be able to help out.
Well, you did say you were
gonna sue me.
And I just wanna sort this
issue out.
Could you contact me
if possible?
David: I went away feeling numb.
D'amato was calm, going
instantly to legal threats,
which is what he's always done,
I suppose, as Terri,
as Jane,
as himself.
But after all this, I still
couldn't help but wonder
were we totally certain that
really was Jane and Debbie?
Could we be wrong?
So we went back to
where it all started,
those 300 domain names
connected to
the nederdietsen group.
And that's when things
went a little crazy.
On one of those
domain names
there was
just a directory listing,
including a folder called
"my documents".
It looks like d'amato
has accidently
made hundreds of his
private files public
on the Internet.
There's d'amato's signature
on a nederdietsen
registration form.
There's also a contract with
the investigation company
he hired to look into us.
The address is exactly the same
as the address used by
Jane o'brien media
when booking rooms at the
Hilton in New Zealand.
Then there are documents
and signatures
for Debbie kuhn
and Jane o'brien...
Who's also got her
own credit card.
And it turns out that d'amato
did finally
get that law degree,
from hofstra university
in 2011.
He's also been telling the boys
to enter the United States
on a tourist visa,
even though they're working.
And it's finally clear to me
how he funds
his tickling empire.
As of late 2012,
he had almost six million
in his checking account.
And his living expenses were
being paid by a trust
established by his father.
He also inherited millions from
his mother's estate
when she died in 2014.
It's all family money.
There are also lots of emails
sent from Jane o'brien's
legal department.
With this in mind, we call
in to see Romeo salta,
the lawyer hired
by Jane o'brien media
who's been sending us all
the legal threats.
We want to ask him about
the correspondence
his office has sent us.
David: But I just thought
you'd be curious to see...
Things been issued
in la county court,
that's signed off here
with your name.
There's another example of that
with that email address.
Romeo: Yeah.
To that, as opposed to you.
I mean, we got the one
from you originally,
which we... it's fine. We don't
need to talk about that.
It's very simple.
I only sent one.
Dylan: Yeah.
David: Yeah.
- There's your answer.
- Yeah.
Romeo: I'll see what I can do to
make those stop.
Have they stopped?
Dylan: Uh, we haven't heard
anything for a little while.
They're listing your address
as their corporate headquarters,
- My address?
- Yeah, if you look at...
David: Your office.
Dylan: Janeobrienmedia.Com,
your address is listed as their
corporate headquarters.
Yeah, but it's not my--
Dylan: No, no.
On their website at the bottom.
Romeo: But it's not, um...
Dylan: I don't know if it's...
It says
"office of corporate counsel
and New York headquarters."
Romeo: Well, that's my address.
David: Yeah.
- But it's not their...
- It's crazy. But it's...
Um, I mean,
is this weird to you?
That this person
has taken on--
it is. Of course, it's weird.
David: Almost every legal letter
we'd received from
from salta was fake.
Like so many things
connected to d'amato,
they were all just lies,
lies to support his addiction
to tickling videos.
I started this journey curious
about a bizarre sport
called competitive
endurance tickling,
but I now think this was
never even about tickling.
This is about power,
control and harassment.
It's about one person's
and how far that can go.
One person who's managed to
shelter himself with money
to keep his obsession going.
But now it's his life exposed.
For once, it's him on camera.
Before we leave America,
there's one last phone call
I want to make.
It's a name we found
in the documents,
one of David d'amato's last
surviving family members.
Dorothy: Hello?
- Oh, hi. Is that Dorothy?
- Yes.
Oh, hi. My name's David farrier,
I'm a journalist from
New Zealand. How are you?
- Okay.
- Yeah, good.
Hey, sorry, it's probably a bit
of a strange call
to receive out of the blue,
but I'm doing a story about,
uh, David d'amato.
- Oh, in what way?
- Um...
He's been... it's the...
He's sort of back to the
tickling stuff again.
Oh, he is?
- Yeah, he is.
- Oh, god!
Well, I will tell you that,
um, I have no contact
with him at all.
I mean, did you think all this
had sort of come to an end?
I did think, of course,
it came to an end,
because he served time,
which I'm sure you know.
But I don't understand, um...
I don't understand why he
went back to doing this.
I'm, like, in shock. How long
has he been doing this?
It's never stopped.
I think he has a
split personality.
He's like that fine line
between genius and insanity.
I don't know if he's gay
or he's asexual,
but he's never had a girlfriend
that I ever knew of.
I asked my husband once, um,
if he would be upset if
he found out he was gay.
And he said that he would be
upset but he would get over it.
But he was an only child,
and, you know, he wanted
He had a very,
very strange childhood.
The kids used to make
fun of him all the time.
And she used to...
She... his mother.
He was very close
to his mother.
And his mother was very
protective of him.
She never let him ride a bike
or go skiing or do anything
because she was always afraid
that he would get hurt.
And from what I understand,
the kids used to come around
the house,
and they used to
make fun of him.
And once they locked him
in a locker in school.
And, you know,
he was a teacher...
And they threw him
out of school.
You know, I was afraid of him,
because I'm alone and, um...
Yeah, I was afraid of him.
So, you know,
I'm afraid of him.