Pretoria – A content producer and part-time media lecturer turned to the North Gauteng High Court to obtain an urgent order to “unmask” an unidentified person who, he said, is falsely claiming on social media that he is a rapist.
The man, whose identity is not being revealed, asked for his application to be heard in camera.
He said the person badmouthing him on social media was abusing the @AmINext account, set up to assist in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV), for her or his personal sinister and malicious purposes.
The applicant wanted the court to force the administrators of Twitter to disclose the personal details – including address and telephone number – of the so-called “victim” who had sent them the rape allegation against him.
He said in court papers that he had opened a case at the Wierdabrug police station after his name was tainted by this person or persons on social media, and an investigation was under way.
The applicant said, however, he wanted the personal details of the person involved so that he could institute criminal proceedings against him or her, and recover damages after his name was tarnished in this way.
The man stated that on September 3 he received numerous text messages and phone calls from colleagues, friends and family regarding the post on Twitter. He said the person referred to him as a rapist and this false accusation was ruining his reputation. The post read that the applicant “preyed on students” and “manipulated them into having sex with him”.
The person claimed that the applicant would invite them for coffee, “smooth talk” them or offer a massage. Then he would rape them.
The applicant said in his affidavit that there seemed to be a sinister element which was abusing these social media platforms which was set up to assist real victims to voice what had happened to them and to name and shame their perpetrators.
The “victim” asked the social media administrators to hide his or her identity. Many well-known personalities have recently been named as alleged perpetrators.
In this case, the applicant said he was a reputable talk content producer and he needed to protect his good name and reputation.
His hands are, however, tied, as he has no idea who the person behind the false accusations is. Judge Brenda Neukircher struck the matter from the roll due to its “lack of urgency”.