Terri Tickle: David D'Amato, the subject of David Farrier's Tickled documentary, dies
The subject of Tickled, David Farrier and Dylan Reeve's 2016 documentary about "competitive endurance tickling", has died aged 55, according to a post on Farrier's Facebook page.
David P D'Amato was alleged, by Farrier, to have been involved in the production of online videos featuring tickling, as well as some allegedly shady practices around hiring and pressuring of participants in the videos.
"We are incredibly sad to learn that David P D'Amato, the subject of Tickled, has passed away," a joint statement in Farrier and Reeve's names said.
"We don't know any specific details about his death at this time. David D'Amato has been part of our lives for three years now - a very unusual three years - and despite the various lawsuits he brought against us, this news is something that brings us no joy, and has hit us pretty hard."
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The 2016 documentary, Tickled, which explored possible legal and ethical issues with making the "competitive tickling" videos, has been the subject of legal challenges.
In the course of the film, Farrier and Reeve learn that Los Angeles-based tickle video production company Jane O'Brien Media has links to D'Amato, a former school administrator who used the alias "Terri Tickle" when he began recruiting participants and distributing tickling videos online in the 1990s.
After considerable effort to locate D'Amato, the climax of the film shows Farrier and Reeve confronting him on the street. He responds with legal threats.
In the movie, D'Amato is seen accusing Farrier of being in America illegally, by using a tourist visa for journalism. Farrier, a former TV 3 journalist, states he was on a journalist visa. Farrier then shows documents from O'Brien Media, coaching international video participants to travel under a tourist visa when coming to the US for paid performances.
After the film screened at the Sundance Film Festival, in March 2016, D'Amato filed a federal lawsuit against Farrier and Reeve for making false accusations, including the implication that D'Amato used extortion and abused minors.
At the Los Angeles premiere of Tickled D'Amato and several members of the Jane O'Brien Media team confronted Reeve during a post-screening Q&A. The incident was captured in The Tickle King, a short sequel to Tickled that premiered on HBO in February.
Farrier's statement concluded: "While making Tickled we always thought it was important to portray David D'Amato not just as an online bully, but as a person... Ultimately we'll never know all the things that made David the man he was. Like all of us, he was complex and complicated."