28 May 2019

New book looks at battle between Slater and Blomfield

7:32 pm on 28 May 2019

An investigative book on the seven-year-long defamation battle between blogger Cameron Slater and businessman Matt Blomfield has been released.

Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater.

Blogger Cameron Slater. Photo: Supplied

Author Margie Thomson launched the book tonight in Auckland, titled Whale Oil, through publisher Potton and Burton.

The book's promotional material says Mr Blomfield found himself the target of a vicious online attack by Mr Slater in 2012, who ran the Whale Oil blog.

It said the attack came out of the blue and destroyed Mr Blomfield's reputation, who then fought back over seven years and poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a defamation case against Mr Slater.

Earlier this year, Mr Slater was ordered to pay Mr Blomfield $70,000 by the Human Rights Review Tribunal for causing severe humiliation, loss of dignity, and injury to feelings, stemming from blog posts by Mr Slater.

The ruling said there was relentless disclosure of Mr Blomfield's personal information over six months, and that the posts were a calculated attack and character assassination.

At the launch, author Margie Thomson said as well as telling Mr Blomfield's story the book examined bullying and how social media and the internet are used.

"For seven years - a long time - many people, government departments and institutions believed the things that were written on Whale Oil," she said.

"This is a story about an egregrious use of a powerful social media tool."

The book's foreword is written by journalist and author Nicky Hager, who said it was a sobering story of how few protections there are against online attacks.

"The story that you get in this fantastic book is the fascinating and important story of this wild west that New Zealand has ended up with - that the world has ended up with - of this deregulated space of social media and internet, where people don't have the protections that we expect they would have," he said at the launch.