It has become a parable of the internet age: a girl, a laptop and a swath of destruction through high-profile football careers. Cyberspace is full of mocking laughter over the posting of naked photos of St Kilda footballers by a vengeful teenager – ”The Girl who played with Nick playing with himself”, she’s been dubbed, while her enterprise is ”Dickileaks”.
Meanwhile, the combined might of several powerful institutions has proved hapless, if not helpless, in attempts to silence her. Even with her name shielded, the girl’s following on Twitter had last night swollen to more than 6500 followers (up from about 200 the day before) and the hissing spat that has developed between her and some of St Kilda’s finest reached new heights – or should that be lows?
St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt said it was hard to understand why a girl he did not know had posted explicit images of him and his teammates on social network sites.
In one image, Riewoldt is standing staring at the camera with a sheepish expression, his hands framing his genitals, while clothed fellow player Zac Dawson grins. Another photo shows Nick Dal Santo on a bed in a rapt state of self-communion. Both images have written across them in elegant, cursive script, in Santa-red ink, ”Merry Christmas Courtesy of The St Kilda Schoolgirl!”
Unsurprisingly, Riewoldt said yesterday that the publication of the pictures had caused him distress, shock and disappointment, and urged the girl to stop posting them. He claimed the photo with Dawson had been taken 12 months ago by teammate Sam Gilbert in a hotel in Miami and he had asked for him to delete it. Riewoldt, Gilbert and the club claim the pictures had later been removed from Gilbert’s computer without his consent.
If the naked boy-play was about male bonding, it has gone horribly wrong. Yesterday Gilbert had to issue an apology to the teammates hurt by the pictures.
The girl who kicked this hornet’s nest has another version of the truth entirely and appears to have, as yet, no inclination to mercy. In a series of media interviews, she said she planned to continue posting images and had no sympathy for Riewoldt, who she claimed knew her and had treated her badly.
She also said it was ”incorrect” to suggest that she had not taken the pictures herself. ”I took the photos and uploaded them on Sam’s computer and sent them across from Sam’s email address to mine,” she told The Age from Queensland, where she is on holiday with her parents.
Her Facebook profile was taken down following a Federal Court order to remove the photos on Monday. She said she had not broken the law because she still had not been presented with any court order.
”I don’t really see myself as an outlaw, more like someone who actually stands up to the football players. In a way, I guess it’s kind of bad what I’ve done, but I’m happy with it as well because I know there’s a lot of girls out there who thank me for having the guts to actually do it.”
The girl has made it clear she is acting out of revenge. She claims to have become pregnant with a child – or, in some reports, twins – to a St Kilda player, but to have lost the pregnancy to stillbirth in October. She laid a complaint and there was an investigation by the AFL and by police that found no grounds to proceed with charges.
She has said she was partially motivated by abusive Facebook messages and voicemails from footballers that she had received over the past few months.
When her Facebook site was closed, the girl went to Twitter and posted a link to the pictures.
For Gilbert and the other men, the court order to remove the photos came too late. The pictures had by then gone viral. A legal system designed for careful, leisurely consideration is flapping its black robes in consternation as it tries and fails to chase internet rabbits down their many and varied caches.
Meanwhile, the girl still sends out her 140-character messages-in-a-bottle on Twitter. Here, she complains about the burden of her newfound celebrity – ”29 radio interviews, 4 video interviews, so tired!” – and curses those who cross her with punctuation-free fluency. ”Want to know who the f—ing little snitch is that released something to the media. Can I trust no one?” she asked on December 20.
She likes Queensland and strawberry cheesecake, sings to herself ”when I feel I’m going insane”, and says to one contact, ”I’m used to being the one in control and the one that’s manipulating you, not the other way round.” She also tells one apparent critic, ”You don’t know either of us, so don’t judge.”
She earlier told The Age she was writing her autobiography – bridling at a suggestion that this might be a little early, at 17 – and is looking for an agent.
She said she was not concerned about what repercussions her actions would have on her later life. She said, ”I don’t really want to know what’s going to happen in the future. I take every day as it comes.”
Her online photo shows a lean, tanned girl in a bikini. She is on all fours in the shallows on a beach, her knees spread wide, gazing at the camera with a provocatively tilted head and the pout of a model. She describes herself as ”Athlete. Model. sex.love.fashion.power.fame.beautiful.fast.hot.smooth. strong”.
Last night she posted a video in which she said, ”I think girls should stand up more to football players. When the whole thing came out in May, I had more than 500 messages saying, ‘Can I have some of the football players’ numbers? I think they’re really hot.’
”I said ‘No you f—–g don’t, trust me, God.’ They are hot. They are famous. They do have money. I guess that’s what turned me on when I first met them. But basically I am saying to all the girls out there, unless you’ve been in a world like that before, I’m saying don’t get involved with them, honestly.”
She was unsure whether she would upload more photos, after all, she said, because she was confused about the legal hearing, but ”I am going to keep on saying what’s the truth, and I’m going to f— these footballers up, OK?”
She said ”mwaah”, kissed her fingertips and laid them gently on the camera lens.
A child of the age of narcissism, using the uncontrolled medium of the age, acting out the age-old wrath of a woman scorned.